Physicians in Termini Imerese 1542-48


A medical procedure in 1545. The physician is amputating the lower right leg of the gentleman in the chair. An assistant holds this limb which will soon drop into the bucket below. The patient remains calm throughout. Perhaps  ether had been administered to him  by the gentleman standing nearby.

Magnifico Signore Calistro LuRusso, medico spagnolo [Spanish physician]

Magnifico Signore Roberto Maniscalco

Magnifico Signore Luciano LaGulla

Monsignore Antonino DiMarino, aromatario

The meaning of ‘aromatario’ attached to Antonino DiMarino’s surname in 1545 is yet to be determined; perhaps the root ‘aroma’ indicates that Antonino was an anesthesiologist who used ether in his practice.  Ether was first synthesized in 1540 by Valerius Cordus who called it “sweet oil of vitriol” (oleum dulce vitrioli). This name reflects the fact that it is obtained by distilling a mixture of ethanol and sulfuric acid (the latter then known as “oil of vitriol”). Cordus also noted some of ether’s medicinal properties. At about the same time, the great physician Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (aka Paraclesus) discovered ether’s pain-relieving properties.

In fact, two physicians stood as godfathers at the baptism of Antonino DiMarino’s son. They were Roberto Maniscalco and Luciano LaGulla.

Termini Photo 12

“Father Caspano Crisciuni baptized the son of Giovanni Filippo Campagna. He was named Matteo. His godfathers are Mastro Matteo Ancezzamo and Calistro LuRusso, Spanish physician (medico spagnolo). The godmother is Sister Domenica LaGrigola.” Photo courtesy of Father Anthony Delisi.

 Other Professions Mentioned in Codex A

Silversmith: Mastro Sebastiano Cossano, l’Argentieri :: maſtº bastiu cosſano largintjorj

Cheese Maker: Nicola, lu Fennero di la Cascia :: cola lu fe~niro di la caxxa

Kitchen Staff at [Magnifico] Bernardo [DiBono’s]: Pietro Giulio della Cotta Bernardo :: pu Juliu di la cotta nardu

Mathemetician: Filippo Collaro :: ф [Greek letter Phi, the Golden Number] ph¯o collaro

Sugar Business: Giovanni lu Censolo, lu Zuccararo:: Joa~nj lucen[ſ]ulu lu czucararo

Weights : The appelation, libraro, following Bernardino d’Aragona’s surname, indicates that he is in a profession having to do with weighing :: bernadjno dj aragona ljbraro

Published on July 26, 2009 at 1:33 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. Absolutely fascinating. All of my great grandmother’s ancestors, and she, are from Termini-Imerese: Corso, Russo, Cosentino, Trentanelli, Mancuso.

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