Early Modern Drugs and Medicinal Cannibalism

18th century container for medicinal mummy, Germany. Image via Wikimedia Commons. This is the first Res Obscura post after another rather lengthy break, but I plan to start updating more regularly in the new year. I’ve cannibalized portions of this post from a piece I wrote for the new online journal I helped co-found, The Appendix, […]

A Defaced Herbal from 1710: William Salmon’s Botanologia

A portrait of Salmon from the frontispieceto his Ars Chirurgica (1699). The image above is from a copy of William Salmon’s Botanologia: The English Herbal, or History of Plants (London: I. Dawks for H. Rhodes and J. Taylor, 1710) which is available for view via Villanova University’s digital library. Evidently the nudity of the figure (I […]

"A Compleat History of Druggs." [Jan. 2011 Update]

“The study of simple drugs is a study so agreeable, and so exalted in its own nature, that it has been the pursuit of the first geniuses of all ages.” – Pierre Pomet, Histoire generale des drogues (Paris, 1684). “A book of high character was published in France at the conclusion of the seventeenth century, […]

A Drug Merchant in Seventeenth Century London

John Jacob Berlu’s wonderfully titled The Treasury of Drugs Unlock’d (London, 1690) is a rare book, and I can find very little information on either the work itself or the author, who was apparently a London merchant of drugs, spices and other exotic commodities. I took the opportunity to look at the copy in the […]