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Poisons in the Republic of Dubrovnik

Zdravko Šundrica ; Povijesni arhiv u Dubrovniku, Dubrovnik, Hrvatska

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 23.012 Kb

str. 45-120

preuzimanja: 145



The employment of poisons in diplomacy is as old as diplomacy itself. It is therefore only natural that this ancient practice found its place in Ragusan diplomacy, which as far as poisoning was concerned, was patterned after Byzantine and Venetian diplomacy. Research into this phenomenon, however, is hampered by the fact that the most valuable archival fund of the Dubrovnik Republic containing evidence on the use of poisons, was destroyed by the Ragusan Senate. The documents in question were those contained in the Secreta Rogatorum, the secret records of the Senate. This fund is likely to have been destroyed on several occasions, but most of the documents were destroyed shortly before the French occupation of Dubrovnik. Nevertheless, existing sources offer conclusive evidence that the Ragusan authorities resorted to the use of poisons when the affairs of the state were at stake. This was the method they employed in order to eliminate enemies and dangerous prisoners. Poison was also a means of protection in times of war, when the Ragusans would
poison water tanks in the area.
The private lives of the Ragusans reveal diverse poisoning methods or attempts: a man attempting to poison his neighbor; a young man his pregnant fiancee; a servant his master (a priest); a domestic his lord. Not uncommon were cases in which one sibling was accused of poisoning another. Neighbors would poison each other’s chickens, pigs, hounds, and watch dogs. Other cases include a neighbor who threw a poisoned fig into the neighbors’ garden with the intention of poisoning members of the other household, a woman suspected
of attempting to poison her husband, a person who threatened to poison the neighbors’ water, a sorceress who poisoned a child with a remedy lotion, a girl who was poisoned with a cosmetic facial cream, and another girl who was almost poisoned with a drug purchased at the pharmacy. The articles of food that were most favored by poisoners were loaves of bread, buns, and biscuits. Poison was also poured into soup, prepared food, and wine. However, considering that, over the period of several centuries covered by this inquiry, not many cases of poisoning were recorded, it could be inferred that poisoning
among the inhabitants of the Dubrovnik Republic was not a common manifestation.
The paper is further concerned with the preservation of poisons in the
Republic of Dubrovnik, types of poisons and their origin, toxicology from the perspective of contemporary medical practice performed by Dubrovnik physicians in the service of the criminal court, and the treatment of poisoning, that is antitoxins.

Ključne riječi

Dubrovnik Republic, poisons, toxicology, poisoning

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Podaci na drugim jezicima: hrvatski

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