A POST-RAMAZZINIAN ACADEMIC DISSERTATION ON OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES BY A PUPIL OF CARL VON LINNÉ
This study presents the first full translation from Latin to English of the Linnaean dissertation Morbi Artificum or Occupational diseases, submitted by Nicholas Skragge in 1765. It consists of an essay that places the dissertation in historical and scientific context and of the translation. Skragge’s thesis has not only significance in the history of occupational medicine but also provides a perspective on Linnaeus’ thinking on dietetics. Skragge’s doctoral thesis is one of the 186 academic dissertations defended by students of Carl Linnaeus. Prior to the present study, only three of these 186 dissertations have been translated from Latin to English in our own times. The first extensive compendium on occupational diseases by Bernardino Ramazzini, with the title De Morbis Artificum Diatriba, served as a blueprint for Skragge’s thesis. The background for Skragge’s thesis was Linnaeus’ general interest in systematizing objects according to certain norms in biology, which methodology he also applied when classifying diseases in medicine. Also, Linnaeus’ life-long emphasis on the importance of dietetics is evident in the thesis. Finally, in the era when Linnaeus lived (Age of Liberty), Sweden focused greatly on improving the country’s economy. Since trade and industry were prioritized by the state, it was reasonable to map the diseases workers were prone to.