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Minerva Medicolegale 1999 December;119(4): 243-61

language: Italian

The letter on poisoning from Methodus dandi relationes of G. F. Ingrassia

Pierini G., Cassini R., Dallari S., Sgarzi F.


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At the beginning of legal medicine, Gian Filippo Ingrassia was the pioneer regarding the necessity of the evolution of medical methodology. In XVIth century a progress was made, both in pathology and toxicology owing to the necessity to answer legal questions about poisoning, but until G. F. Ingrassia, G. B. Codron-chi, F. Fedele and P. Zacchia a real progress was not made, because of uncertainity in evaluation methods of poisons nature. Most of ancient authors have found a place for Medicine in their theology for one or more entities to which pathological findings were attributed, on a magical approach in understanding life and illness. Many records of pathology are written with magical emphasis, owing also to the oncoming pressure of the Inquisition from Rome, and in the letter on poisoning of Ingrassia all the dark colours of that tremendous period are well clear. The concept of poison as internal corruption was established from the Greek period of medicine, but now new forces of Hell appear, undergrounding the pathological inspection of diseases. Descrip-tions of ill and sysmptoms before the work of Ingrassia, Codronchi and Zacchia are given without critical meanings, and the Physician often looks like the Magician. So the work of previous Magistri overcome the prejudice against systematic dissections and from acquiring a practical knowledge of pathology, expecially when asked by a Judge on the causes of death.

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