Medicus (Narrativa) (Italian Edition)


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At some point in the s, and apparently on religious grounds due to growing inquisitorial pressure—although he may not have felt too comfortable after having declined the royal offer—Rodrigo de Castro left Portugal for Antwerp, where he probably lived for a while and gained high esteem as a medical practitioner. After the Spaniards recovered control of Antwerp in , 19 he may have moved to the safer northern Netherlands perhaps to Amsterdam, the greatest Jewish community in Europe at the time and possibly lived there for several years. Finally, De Castro moved to Hamburg where he may have taken up residence in —right at the time when this city was becoming a significant settlement for Portuguese Jewish refugee families, and for a growing colony of the Amsterdam Jewish community.

His professional services on the occasion of a devastating plague epidemic in Hamburg in , on which he published a little medical work that very year, 20 allowed him to win a good standing among the local population as well as recognition from the Hamburg political authorities.


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His medical clientele would include several princes and other distinguished persons, including the King of Denmark, the Archbishop of Bremen, the Duke of Holstein, the Duke of Mecklenburg, and the Landgrave of Hessen. In Hamburg, his two elder sons were born and his first wife died in about as a result of her third childbirth. While in Hamburg, De Castro showed at first a nominal attachment to the Church and, indeed, his first wife was buried in the Catholic cemetery of this city republic. In fact, De Castro would eventually recover the faith of his ancestors to the point that in —the very year of his Medicus-politicus —he appears to have written in Portuguese a treatise on herem Jewish excommunication or anathema.

Given that the right to residence was officially granted to Jews in Hamburg only in February albeit with some restrictions , it seems clear that De Castro joined his Jewish brethren early. For a while, they professed Judaism in an increasingly open way, but continued to have their children baptized. In recognition of the services rendered to the city of Hamburg, its senate partly exempted De Castro from complying with this law.

He claimed that his Medicus-politicus was based not only on the authorities quoted but also, and above all, on the findings and experiences of his own long career as a medical practitioner. And he even claimed to be the first to have written such a medical work in which theory, practice, precepts and the conditions of the perfect physician were combined.

The treatise is divided into four books or parts of uneven length, where, with some thematic inconsistencies, a great number of questions concerning what nowadays we would define as medical ethics and etiquette are formulated and discussed. Its narrative is firmly rooted in the Galenic—Avicennan medical tradition, and is established on the Hippocratic ideals of the medical practitioner and practice, with a remarkable degree of Judaic religious and moral influence.

Its chapters, whose titles themselves often consist of a scholastic quaestio , usually begin by exposing a number of different views about the topic under discussion. Then, arguments in favour and against these views are presented, and these alternative opinions are usually refuted.

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Finally, De Castro formulates and justifies his conclusions on each issue discussed. The narrative is often peppered with examples taken from the authorities of learning, who reflect not only his university arts and medical training, but also his wide knowledge of Old Testament sources. Yet he was not very generous with explicit references to specific anecdotes or episodes from his own professional experience, despite having claimed at the very beginning of his work that this was the main source feeding his narrative. Only through these qualities could the required fusion be achieved between knowledge and virtue in consonance with the demands of the Hippocratic medical ideal.

After having rejected several arguments from a variety of sources—explicit in the cases of Cato and Pliny the Elder—questioning the need for medicine and its practitioners, De Castro vindicated the antiquity of this art and its constant presence, in one form or another, among all the ancient peoples.

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De Castro vindicated the origins of medicine for the Jewish people on the basis of the above mentioned passage of Ecclesiasticus, and on the huge work by the wise king Solomon on natural questions, including medicine—which was allegedly destroyed at the burning of the temple of Jerusalem by Nebuchadrezzar II — bce —without omitting the idea that the earliest information on medical matters dated from Adam himself. However, echoing the words of Georgius Cedrenus, an eleventh-century Byzantine chronicler, he argued that king Ezechias of Judah — bce , was offended because the Jews, although provided by these works with the remedies for diseases, forgot to praise God for curing them, and instead offered medicine to the Greeks.

Last but not least, among the Arabs, he referred, in the first place inprimis [sic] , to Avicenna, 58 and then to Averroes, Rhazes, Avenzoar, Mesue and Serapion. Given all this, it is not surprising that Rodrigo de Castro showed himself to be a firm defender of university education and that he considered it the best training for future medical practitioners. Strikingly enough, however, he introduced the Salamanca medical faculty as the model place for medical education on the basis of the supposed meticulous procedures that were followed there with respect to studies and exams, in contrast to the corrupted arrangements and frauds in other universities, whose identity he did not reveal.

Among the components of the training of the perfect physician, De Castro enumerated six of the seven disciplines making up the trivium and quadrivium rhetoric, dialectics, arithmetic, geometry, music, and astrology ; linguistic expertise in Latin, Greek, Arabic, and vulgar languages—the more the better, he stressed, so as to allow practitioners to communicate with patients from different nations in their own tongue; 69 natural philosophy and moral philosophy; cosmography, anatomy and materia medica.

[Home Movies: Medicus Collection: Paris International Exposition, 1937]

He categorically rejected divinatory judiciary astrology, which he defined as harmful, vain, superstitious, and condemned by the Holy Scriptures; and he did not appear to be very enthusiastic about the influences of the movements of the celestial bodies upon the healthiness of the air, the seasons of the year, the diseases of the living, and dearth.

He appears to have been prepared to accept with no reservation only the medical value of astrological knowledge concerning critical days, bloodletting, and the administration of drugs. By referring to Galen specifically, to Quod animi mores corporis temperamenta sequantur and De cognoscendis curandisque animi affectibus as the authoritative source, De Castro held that diseases of the soul and diseases of the body communicated with each other, such that the care of the soul should not be neglected when bodily diseases are being treated.

Their further careers were, however, somewhat divergent. He appears to have remained outwardly Catholic until the end of his days in Yet, his relatives and servants were then denounced to the Inquisition, prosecuted and imprisoned for two years, under the charge that they had buried his body according to Jewish rituals. Although he claimed the original primacy of medicine for the Jews, he by no means appropriated this art for his nation; on the contrary, he was concerned to stress that medicine comes from God the Creator, that it was necessary and, in one way or another, it had been present among all the peoples in the world from the earliest times.

In his seventies, after a brilliant professional career, and with a new religious identity, De Castro appears to have wished fully to experience during the rest of his life the physical and temporal distance which may have given him relief from his memories of the difficulties he had gone through during his early professional days in Portugal until inquisitorial pressure finally pushed him to join the Sephardic diaspora in northern Europe. His unquestionable awareness through many channels family contacts, testimonies by recent immigrants, and so on of the personal and professional difficulties of his converso colleagues in the territories under the Hispanic monarchy did not prevent him from taking the medical faculty of Salamanca as the example of a university institution on a European scale that could guarantee the training of the best physicians.

Jews were given recognized residence rights in Hamburg in , two years before Rodrigo de Castro published his Medicus-politicus.

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By then, he must have felt confident enough about his own social status in that Hanseatic city republic not to hide his Jewish religious beliefs. And during his later years De Castro chose fully to recover and live the religion of his ancestors—like his colleague and friend Abraham Zacuto — in Amsterdam, and probably inspired by him. Anti-Semitism was widespread in Hamburg in Yet those medical practitioners belonging to the well-off and then still tiny Sephardic minority would not begin to suffer directly from the xenophobic passions of the Lutheran majority until later decades.

De Castro, however, did not stop here, and he also chose to keep his distance from the kind of medicine that a great number of other contemporary health practitioners were carrying out in Hamburg and, presumably, in the whole of Germany. His invectives against Paracelsus, who had objected to the idea that Jews possessed more talent for medicine than Gentiles, and had himself been committed to an exclusively Christian ministry for this art, 79 led De Castro to counter-attack by insisting that Paracelsus had resorted to necromancy in order to prepare some medicinal remedies.

To him Hippocratic-Galenic-Avicennian medicine was the basis for the best medical practice; and the medical faculty of Salamanca a kind of model university school for training the best practitioners. Yet, I wonder to what extent this appreciation of Arab medicine was also intended by De Castro and other Jewish practitioners as a tacit vindication of their own medical cultural tradition and converso identity, so closely related to the Arab during the Middle Ages. This article has been prepared within the framework of the research project BHA of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology.

On the world of Iberian converso practitioners, see, among others, Caro Baroja, op. More recently, Schleiner op. Juan Bravo de Piedrahita — held successively the chairs of Articella — and of Avicenna — In quem finem voluerunt, ut ego quamvis indignus in Indiam Orientalem navigarem oblato stipendio amplo, et honoribus non contemnendis, quibus hoc etiam additum erat, ut neque Proregi, neque cuipiam alii addictus essem, quin immo ipse teneretur, ex omnibus Orientis provinciis curare, ad me deferri simplicia, quae ibi crescunt, ego vero illa conferrem cum iis, de quibus Graeci et Arabes scripserunt, et ad eorum capita reducerem, edito de iisdem commentario.

Quod utique munus tametsi honorificum, et universo orbi utilissimum, justis de causis detrectavi, sperans fore, ut alius, qui me et eruditione et experientia superet, idipsum aliquando perficiat. This work was addressed to the Hamburg Senate. See Jon Arrizabalaga ed.


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The first volume De natura mulierum consists of four books where he successively dealt with the anatomy of the uterus and breasts; semen and menses; coitus, conception and pregnancy; and labour and breastfeeding. See Lemos, op. See Ruderman, op. If this lost treatise by De Castro were a work concerning cases and circumstances in which herem could be imposed, its author might have been a rabbi or, at least, somebody with authority in the Jewish community of Hamburg.

Yet the fact that in numerous Jewish communities of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe there was a strong reaction against an abusive imposition of herem , also allows us to hypothesize that this work could well have argued this.

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With regard to this, see Kaplan, op. Yet, Lemos op. A measure of the Organizational Wellbeing in the Operating Unit was used in order to verify the concurrent validity.

Medicus Deus: A Review of Factors Affecting Hospital Library Services to Patients between 1790-1950

A Professional Self-Efficacy evaluation allowed to verify the discriminant validity. Two open questions examined the role description and the difficulties met at work by the CCMN. The convergent, the discriminant and the concurrent validity of the scale were proved. The participants were more satisfied with the quality and the kind of their job, and with the supervision and the colleagues, and less satisfied with the contingent recognitions, the marginal benefits, the promotions and with working and salary conditions. Unfortunately the number of participants did not allow to testify a confirmatory factor analysis of the scale.

Medicus (Narrativa) (Italian Edition) Medicus (Narrativa) (Italian Edition)
Medicus (Narrativa) (Italian Edition) Medicus (Narrativa) (Italian Edition)
Medicus (Narrativa) (Italian Edition) Medicus (Narrativa) (Italian Edition)
Medicus (Narrativa) (Italian Edition) Medicus (Narrativa) (Italian Edition)
Medicus (Narrativa) (Italian Edition) Medicus (Narrativa) (Italian Edition)
Medicus (Narrativa) (Italian Edition) Medicus (Narrativa) (Italian Edition)
Medicus (Narrativa) (Italian Edition) Medicus (Narrativa) (Italian Edition)
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