Footnoting History

From Neanderthals to Napoleon's sister, each week Footnoting History's team of young academics share their favorite stories from across history. New episodes every other Saturday.

All Episodes

  Direct Link   Download 19 Minutes 27 Jul 2019

(Kristin) Theriac was a medicine of legendary origins, multiple ingredients, and a reputation for efficacy that extended for hundreds of years. It was said to be able to cure everything from migraines to the plague. In this episode, Kristin looks at some of the ingredients and processes that went into making theriac, where it could be found, who was selling it, and whether there was anything behind its extraordinary claims. Further ReadingHoward Brody, “Ritual, Medicine, and the Placebo Response,” in The Problem of Ritual Efficacy, eds. William S. Sax, Johannes Quack, and Jan Weinhold, Oxford University Press, (2010), 151-168.Christiane Nockels Fabbri, “Treating Medieval Plague: The Wonderful Virtues of Theriac,” Early Science and Medicine 12:3 (2007): 247-283.Michael McVaugh, “The Conceptual Background of Medieval Pharmacy,” in Arnaldi de Villanova: Opera medica omnia, vol 2, University of Barcelona, (1975), 13-30.“Theriac,” in The Trotula: An English Translation of the Medieval Compendium of Women’s Medicine, ed. and trans. by Monica H. Green, University of Pennsylvania Press, (2002), 132-133. ​Music: "Evening Melodrama" by Kevin Macleod (www.incompetech.com). . .