University of Erfurt

Gotha Research Centre of the University of Erfurt

Projekt von Dr. Katarzyna Pekacka-Falkowska

The Polish-German Physicians and Natural Scientists as Correspondents of "Miscellanea Curiosa Medico-Physica"

First annual volume of “Miscellanea Curiosa Medico-Physica” published in Latin by a German scientific society Acadamie Naturae Curiosorum appeared in 1670. It was a vast collection of letters and commentaries (scholia) focusing on medical, physical, chemical, botanical, and other natural phenomena. Among the scholars working and living in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth who had been contributing to “Miscellanea Curiosa” from 1670 to 1778 one may list those that were engaged at the Polish court (e.g. Georg Seger, Martin Bernard de Bernitz) and those remaining in close contact with it (e.g. Simon Schulz, Johann Schmidt). Some of them were city physicians in Danzig, Thorn, and Elbing, some of them acted as court physicians or kings’ servitores. Their entries were short, concise, and usually practical in orientation. 

The main objective of my research is to examine the observations of Polish-German scholars that were published in "MCMP" in the last quarter of the 17th century (c. 250 entries) and in the 18th century until the Partitions (c. 50 entries). I would ask how their knowledge  about medicine, anatomy, surgery, therapy, chemistry, botany, zoology, mineralogy etc. was displayed in the journal. Hence, I would reconstruct the scope of their naturalistic interest, focusing on changes that shaped the ways of defining, understanding, and presenting the information on natural occurrences under discussion. As most of the above-mentioned Polish-German correspondents of the annual were physicians I would also focus on their daily medical practice and reconstruct the early modern discursive practices that contributed to the construction of notion of healths/disease. Moreover, I would study the complex relations between the healers and their patients (together with their relatives), and would provide new biographical information about both the sick, injured or wounded, and the physicians. Another goal is to get the deeper insight into the biodiversity of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the mid-17th and 18th centuries, as a few entries in the journal refer to endemic species of Polish fauna and flora (e.g. Polish cochineal, Polish ground pine), whereas other discuss plant and animal species from central and eastern Europe (e.g. beaver, erne, lynx).

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