On the Function, Utility, and Fragility of the Nose

Early Modern Patients and Their Surgeons

in Nuncius
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This paper presents how rhinoplasty as a surgical technique with a particular social impact developed, and how motivated patients and courageous surgeons contributed to the process before Gaspare Tagliacozzi published his seminal work De curtorum chirurgia in 1597. The few sources that provide evidence of people having their noses reconstructed enable us to understand how this technique gradually spread across Europe from the south of Italy northwards. They also give information about the fate of some individual patients and their surgeons. While patients considered rhinoplasty a painful but worthwhile procedure, liberating them from having to wear a prosthesis, scholars’ and physicians’ opinions on the subject were polarized.

Nuncius

Journal of the Material and Visual History of Science (Formerly: Annali dell'Istituto e Museo di storia della scienza di Firenze)

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References

1

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6

Richard Delbrück, “Carmagnola: Porträt eines byzantinischen Kaisers,” in Sonderdruck aus den römischen Mitteilungen des Kaiserlichen Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, 1914, 29:71–89.

8

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Guido Ruggiero, The Boundaries of Eros. Sex, Crime, and Sexuality in Renaissance Venice (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), p. 35, p. 122; Bernd-Ulrich Hergemöller, “Sodomiter. Erscheinungsformen und Kausalfaktoren des spätmittelalterlichen Kampfes gegen Homosexuelle,” in Randgruppen der spätmittelalterlichen Gesellschaft, edited by Bernd-Ulrich Hergemöller (Warendorf: Fahlbusch, 1994), pp. 361–403, p. 373; Valentin Groebner, “Ungestalten,” in Trzeba mieć nosa, edited by Rita Boemke et al. (Bodenburg: Quensen Verlag, 2007), pp. 46–61.

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Valentin Groebner, Ungestalten. Die visuelle Gewalt im Mittelalter (München: Beck, 2003), pp. 71–93.

20

Girolamo Cardano, Contradicentium medicorum libri duo (Paris: apud Iacobum Macaeum, 1565), tract. 6, chap. IX, pp. 252v–259v: “Odoratus instrumentum an vocatae carunculae mammillares.”

21

Galen, “De instrumento odoratus,” in Corpus Medicorum Graecorum Supplementum 5, ed. transl. comm. Jutta Kollesch (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1965), Vol. 4, pp. 46–47: “Ἡμεῖς μὴν οὖν ἔκ τε τούτων ἀναλογιζόμενοι καὶ τῶν ἄλλων τῶν προειρημένων ἐν ταῖς προσθίαις κοιλίαις τοῦ ἐγκεφάλου τὴν τῶν ὀσφρητῶν αἴσθησιν ἐπιστεύομεν γίνεσθαι. Als wir daraus und aus dem anderen, was wir vorher gesagt haben, unsere Schlüsse zogen, gelangten wir zu der Überzeugung, dass die Geruchswahrnehmung in den vorderen Gehirnventrikeln stattfindet” (Kühn II, pp. 857–886, p. 869).

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Michael McVaugh, The Rational Surgery of the Middle Ages (Firenze: Galluzzo, 2006), pp. 120–123.

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Petrus de Argellata, Cirugie magistri petri de la cerlata de bon(on)ia artium et medicine doctoris, emendavit Mattheus Moretus (Venezia: Benedictus Senuensis, 1480), book III, chap. 4 “de vulneribus nasi” L3r: “[Nasus] si secundum se totum abscinditur non potest incarnari.”

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Gundolf Keil, “Plastische und rekonstruktive Chirurgie. Zur Geschichte der plastischen Chirurgie,” Laryng. Rhinol., 1978, 57:581–591, pp. 582–584.

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Elisius Calentius, Epistolarum ad Hiriacum libri iii (Rome: Ioannes Besicken, 1503), p. 63v: “Orpiane si tibi nasum restitui vis ad me veni. Profecto res est apud homines mira. Branca Siculus ingenio vir egregio didicit nares inserere quas vel de brachio reficit vel de servis mutuatas impingit. Hoc ubi vidi decrevi ad te scrivere, nihil existimans carius esse posse quod si veneris scito te domum cum grandi quantum vis naso rediturum. Vola.” Gilbertus, Cognatus, Nozerenus, Narrationum Sylva qua magna rerum, partim a casu fortunaque partim a divina humana que mente, evenientium scitu iucundarum et utilium, varietas continetur Libri VIII (Basel: Henricpetri, 1567), lib. 3 p. 276 “Inventores et origines rerum.” See also: Stephanus Gourmelenus, Chirurgicae artis, ex Hippocratis, et aliorum veterum Medicorum decretis, ad rationis normam redactae, Libri III (Paris: Aegidius Gillius, 1580), lib. I “De epagoge,” pp. 69–73: pp. 72–73. Gourmelain mentions Gilbert Cognatus Nozorenus (1506–1567) and the passage in which he reports on Branca.

47

Cicero, De natura deorum, 2.56.141; Galen, De usu partium, XVI.3 (K IV 276) and Galen, Administrationes anatomicae, XIV.2; Celsus, De medicina (cit. note 26), 8.1–6. See also Giovanna Ferrari, L’esperienza del passato. Alessandro Benedetti filologo e medico umanista (Firenze: Olschki, 1996), pp. 157–158.

62

Girolamo Mercuriale, De decoratione liber, non solum medicis et philosophis, verum etiam omnium disciplinarum studiosis apprime utilis (Frankfurt: Apud Johannem Wechelum, 1587), p. 114: “Sed si magnae partes desint vel naribus, vel auribus, opus est solummodo partes illas desideratas fingere: et ratio fingendi est, ut pasta illa qua fiunt larvae, partes scissae repleantur: huiusmodi enim pasta solet adeo affabre aemulari carnem vivam, ut saepe haec vitia non dignoscantur. Sed in naribus hoc non solet homines affectos prorsus consolari: et propterea tempestate nostra praeclarum inventum habitum est eorum, qui nares reficiunt. nam in Calabria certum est reperiri, qui reficiant nares. est etiam Bononiae excellens Tagliacotius, qui dum essem Bononiae, nuper mihi indicavit duos quibus refecerat nares.” Tomaso Minadoi, De Humani Corporis Turpitudinibus […] Cognoscendis et Curandis. Libri tres (Padova: apud Franciscum Bolzettam, 1600), pp. 121v–123r. See under Gadebusch Bondio, Medizinische Ästhetik (cit. note 2), pp. 95–119; Martha Gnudi Teach and Jerome Pierce Webster, The Life and Times of Gaspare Tagliacozzi. Surgeon of Bologna 1545–1599 (New York: Herbert Reiner, 1950), pp. 136–142.

Figures

  • Figure 1

    The “Carmagnola Head” on the balcony of the Basilica of San MarcoPhoto: Ingo F. Herrmann, 2015

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  • Figure 2

    Prosthesis of the nose: Ambroise Paré, Les œuvres […] avec les figures et portraicts tant de l’ anatomie que des instruments de chirurgie et des plusieurs monstresParis: Buon, 1575, Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel

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