The Woman Who Gave Birth to a Dog. Monstrosity and Bestiality in Quaestiones Medico-Legales by Paolo Zacchia

Francesco Paolo De Ceglia


The Italian Paolo Zacchia (1584-1659) is considered one of the fathers of forensic medicine. From a letter sent by the physician and botanist Pietro Castelli, the article seeks to reconstruct the opinions that Zacchia expressed about monsters in his monumental Quaestiones Medico-Legales. Although he did not seem too sure about the possibility that a hybrid could be born from the union of a man and a beast, he believed that God intervened, allowing the birth so that the abomination could be discovered. The opinion of Zacchia is related to the image that people had at the time of the relationship between humans and animals.

Key words: Paolo Zacchia Monsters Bestiality Science and Religion

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