Phlebotomy history identified in medieval art

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Abstract:

The topic of this study are representations of lancet or phlebotome in frescoes and icons of Serbian medieval art. The very presence of this medical instrument in Serbian medieval art indicates its usage in Serbian medical practices of the time.

Phlebotomy is one of the oldest forms of therapy, widely spread in medieval times. It is also mentioned in Serbian medical texts, such as Chilandar Medical CodexNo. 517 and Hodoch code, i.e. translations from Latin texts originating from Salerno-Montpellier school. Lancet or phlebotome is identified based on archaeological finds from the Roman period, while finds from the Middle Ages and especially from Byzantium have been scarce. Analyses of preserved frescoes and icons has shown that, in comparison to other medical instruments, lancet is indeed predominant in Serbian medieval art, and that it makes for over 80% of all the representations, while other instruments have been depicted to a far lesser degree. Examination of written records and art points to the conclusion that Serbian medieval medicine, both in theory and in practice, belonged entirely to European traditions of the period.

Reference:

Pajić, S. and Jurišić, V. (2015) Representations of Lancet or Phlebotome in Serbian Medieval Art. Srpski Arhiv Za Celokupno Lekarstvo. 143(9-10), p.639-43.

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