Historical Events

Francesco Fusconi, physician of Pope Adrian VI, recommends a diet of chopped meats for the malarial fevers in the neighborhood of Rome.

The Popes and Science The History of the Papal Relations to Science During the Middle Ages and Down to Our Own Time

Photo By Jan van Scorel - Centraal Museum of Utrecht., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1285294


Another of the physicians of Pope Adrian VI was Francesco Fusconi,
whose name is sometimes wrongly given as Frasconi. Amato Lusitano
calls him "a most famous physician," and Marsilio Cagnati in his work
_De Aeris Romani Salubritate_ notes that Francesco was the first to
recognize that starving a fever and especially the malarial fevers of
the neighborhood of Rome, though it had been the custom for a long
time for physicians to advise it, did much more harm than good. He
insisted that the ailing should be more richly nourished and that
above all they should be fed on chopped meats which would make it
easier for them to ingest such quantities as would be good for them.
Cagnati says that many Roman physicians followed this teaching and
saved much {444} suffering and many lives. Fusconi is the physician
whom Benvenuto Cellini praises for having saved his life. The famous
sculptor was taken with a very severe fever and the "first physicians"
of Rome were called to see him, among them Master Francesco (Fusconi)
Da Norcia, who was a very old man, but of great reputation. The fever
increased to such a degree that the professors held the disease for
desperate, but not Norcia. He took charge of the case and by the most
careful treatment succeeded in freeing Benvenuto from an illness which
did not seem as though it could possibly come to an end without fatal
issue.

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