Let’s say you are very sick during the Renaissance…

and you are one of the leading lights of the period.  What would your doctor recommend for you?


Well, if you were Lorenzo the Magnificent, this remedy was tried:

By this stage Lorenzo was being attended by the celebrated Lazaro da Ticino ‘a very creative physician’, who had arrived from Milan. According to Poliziano: ‘in order not to leave any method untested, he tried a highly expensive remedy which involved grinding pearls and precious stones of all sorts’. This was a traditional remedy deriving from classical times, which almost certainly arrived in Europe from China, where such concoctions were thought to be ingredients of the fabled ‘elixir of life’.


Unfortunately, it didn’t work, and Lorenzo died within a week.

Strathern, Paul. Death in Florence: The Medici, Savonarola, and the Battle for the Soul of a Renaissance City  Pegasus. Kindle Edition.

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