AN 18th CENTURY TUSCAN PHARMACY: ANALYSIS OF THE LIBRARY

  • Valentina Giuffra

Abstract

The archival documents of San Luca Hospital, which has long been the most important welfarist institution of the Republic of Lucca (Tuscany), are stored in the Record Offices of Lucca. The hospital was served by a pharmacy, where the medicaments were prepared for patients and for the needs of other institutions in the city. Three different inventories, dating back to 1719, 1749 and 1784, report on a list of books hosted in the pharmacy. The identification and analysis of the works available in the library have allowed to reconstruct the tendencies of pharmacy thoughts and practices in Lucca during the 18th century. The library of the pharmacy of San Luca Hospital revealed the persistence of ancient medicine and of the pharmacy tradition, based mainly on the use of the simples. However, the influence of iatrochemistry, which following the paracelsian theories contributed to convert pharmacy from a botanical science to a chemical discipline, increased in the second half of the century, when the library was enriched with more recent works. The analysis of the inventories demonstrates the presence of both the galenic-arabic and chemical tradition, therefore reflecting an 18th century pharmacy supplied with a composite literature.


Key words: History of pharmacy; 18th century; library; Lucca; Italy

Published
2018-05-10