The Embalming, the Scientific Method and the Paleopathology: the Case of Gaetano Arrighi (1836)

Rosalba Ciranni, Davide Caramella, Riccardo Nenci, Gino Fornaciari


Since the most ancient times the problem of the artificial preservation of dead bodies has been an important object of study. In ancient and classic times the reasons leading to this practice were essentially of a religious and esoteric type, but in the modern age, following the development of medical and biologic studies, embalming has assumed a more pratical trend which is both medical and scientifici. The discovery of blood circulation has marked the scientific method which, in its various forms, has circulated all over Europe bringing fame to eminent anatomists such as Federico Rusych ( 1638-1731), William (1718-1783) and john Hunter(1728-1793),Jean Nicolas Gannal (1791-1852), Giuseppe Tranchina, Laskowky and Brosch, who affirmed the embalming by endoarterial injection of conservative fluids making evisceration useless and obsolete.The advent of formalin and the introduction of new surgical and autoptic methods have made this practice gradually fall into disuse.For this reason,the mummy found in Leghorn (Tuscany,Central Italy) is of particular importance since was obtained applying the intravascular injection following the method,described by the Italian medical Giuseppe Tranchina in 1835.The mummified body belonges to Gaetano Arrighi,a prisoner in the Leghorn fortress. He was born in Arezzo in 1789 and died on March 1836.


Key words: Giuseppe Tranchina - Imaging studies - Mercury - Pleurisy 

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