Chronicles is the online journal of the CSMBR Community where you can find the latest news about our fellows’ activities, including book publications, conferences, colloquia, grants, interviews and much more.

New Networks

Dr Fabrizio Bigotti, director of the CSMBR, is appointed co-editor of the prestigious and historical Journal Sudhoffs Archiv, the oldest running academic journal in the history of medicine and science.

Lecture Series

The Journal Aristotelica organises a series of lectures on the Early Modern development of Aristotle’s scientific terminology.

Upcoming Conferences

An international conference on the occasion of Pliny the Elder’s bimillenary (23-2023) held in Lisbon.

Check our Latest Publications

Click on the image and check the forthcoming volumes in the series

VivaMente Pubblications

Supported by the VivaMente Grant awarded in 2020 to Mr. Baldassarri, the book offers some new contributions to the field of Cartesian medicine. Available for pre-order here 

Fertility in Three Dimensions

Sarah Toulalan and Katherine Rider award the VivaMente Grant to explore reproduction and fertility across the pre-modern period.
We’re very excited to have been awarded this year’s VivaMente Grant to hold a conference on Fertility, Medicine and the Body: Theory and Practice across the Premodern World. Both of us work on the history of fertility and reproduction (Catherine on the Middle Ages and Sarah on early modern England) and for some time we’ve been talking about the amount of interesting work that is being done in the field. This work spans a wide range of periods and regions, including ancient Greece, the medieval Arabic-speaking world, and medieval and early modern Europe. We began to think that the next step was to bring specialists in these different cultures together, to explore long-term continuity and change, especially since all of these cultures had medical ideas about reproduction that were rooted in ancient Greek humoral medicine. We also wondered how ideas about fertility in these cultures compared with those of other premodern societies, for example in China and India. The VivaMente Grant has given us the opportunity to start exploring the history of fertility comparatively. It has allowed us to invite speakers who work on different periods and places, including one who will talk about how the history of premodern fertility speaks to contemporary issues. The CSMBR’s reputation is also helping us to attract other scholars from many different countries and career stages to be part of this work – including many we haven’t met yet!

Latest from the Academic World

Unveiling the Renaissance through Leonardo's Legacy

Prof. Alexander Marr leads the Revival of The Leonardo da Vinci Society
The Leonardo da Vinci Society in the UK is experiencing a revival. Founded in 1986 by Dr. Kenneth Keele, this institution has been a hidden gem for those passionate about the intersection of art, history and science.
Now, under the dynamic leadership of Professor Alexander Marr, Professor of Renaissance Art at Cambridge and Ordinary Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Medicine and the Body in the Renaissance, it’s undergoing a deep transformation.
The society’s revival has brought back the Annual Lecture series, with talks like ‘Leonardo’s Animal Anatomies’ by Martin Clayton offering fresh perspectives on Leonardo’s work, making the Renaissance era accessible and exciting.

The Leonardo da Vinci Society in the UK has been a hidden gem for those passionate about the intersection of art, history and science

Exclusive member events provide opportunities to view Leonardo’s drawings in prestigious locations. Online talks delve into art history, the history of science and medicine, and intellectual history, inviting curious minds to participate. The society’s new website ( is the gateway to membership details and upcoming events. It’s an open invitation to rediscover an era that continues to shape our world.
The Leonardo da Vinci Society’s importance on the UK’s cultural landscape is undeniable, but it’s the newfound accessibility and engaging approach that make it a must-join for anyone passionate about the Renaissance. Come and be part of this renaissance, where the past meets the present, and the curious mind finds its home.

Meet the Fellow

Whispers of Italy. A Journey into Monastic Healing Traditions

2023 Santorio Global Fellow Madeleine Sheahan will be spending three months at the University of Parma researching on women’s medicine in Italian monasteries. We met her and discussed her project.
Madeleine, first of all congratulations on awarding the Fellowship. What does it feel like to be the first Santorio Global Fellow?
Well, it’s very gratifying, particularly because my project falls outside of the traditional bounds of early modern intellectual history. Not only does the project focus on the intellectual and social history of women whose stories are often ignored by the historical record, but it also specifically centers the practices of everyday women rather than exceptional, elite female practitioners. Being awarded the fellowship thus shows how these themes are becoming increasingly recognized in the field. It is a point of personal and professional pride to have the opportunity to participate in continued efforts to broaden the historical understanding of women’s involvement in medicine and science.
Tell us about yourself: your studies, your interests.
I am a Ph.D. student in the program for the History of Science and Medicine at Yale University. My research examines the social and intellectual history of female medical practice in sixteenth and seventeenth-century Italy. I am particularly interested in the relationship between pharmacology and cookery, with a focus on the commercial activities of religious women who prepared and sold medicines alongside other edible wares such as confections and pastries.
I am originally from Toronto, Canada, where I earned my B.A. in Renaissance Studies and my M.A. in the History of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto. In my free time, I pursue many crafts, including drawing, painting, sewing, and baking. My interests in pharmacology and food history have guided much of my baking, inspiring me to experiment with historical techniques and recipes. I continue to test new and old recipes, sharing my creations with friends and family!
What’s your project about? Why do you think it is important to research it?
My project will form a central chapter of my Ph.D. dissertation and investigates the medical expertise of monastic women in northern Italy between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. My research emphasizes socio-spatial patterns of early modern medical care and knowledge production by considering the work of monastic women in urban, semi-rural, and rural geographies. I will conduct this research primarily in Parma, sponsored by the University of Parma, which offers me an ideal location from which to investigate local and regional practices in relation to larger urban centers such as Bologna and Milan.
By integrating the health-related activities of religious women in villages, towns, and the countryside into a larger history of convent pharmacy in early modern Italy, my study will demonstrate the extensive scope and importance of female monastic medicine across multiple geographies. This research is thus important because it complicates histories of pharmacy that have privileged the participation of urban men, and more recently urban women, above the intellectual pursuits and medical skills of rural female practitioners.
What are your sources, what do you expect from your research in Parma?
My sources are predominantly institutional records of a range of female monasteries that owned and operated public pharmacies in the region of Emilia-Romagna. Given the often-obscure nature of documentary material related to monastic businesses, my project depends on sources like administrative records, financial documents, and correspondences to elucidate signs of pharmacy-related activities. More explicit sources include business records, records of medicinal ingredients and stores, recipes books, and instruction manuals. In conversation with each other, I expect these sources will speak to the broader social, economic, and intellectual culture of female monastic institutions and highlight specific and localized practices related to making and selling medicines.
What motivated you to apply for a Santorio Global Fellowship?
I was motivated to apply for the Santorio Global Fellowship because it offered an opportunity not only to pursue my research, but also to join an international community of scholars. The possibilities of engaging with diverse members from both the CSMBR and the University of Parma greatly appealed to me. Because I firmly believe the best scholarship is born from collaboration and generosity, I was eager to apply for a fellowship that would intentionally foster that sense of intellectual community.
How did you hear about the CSMBR?
I first heard about the CSMBR when a faculty member in my home department at Yale circulated news of the Center’s summer school programing. Though I was unable to attend, I became aware of the CSMBR’s extensive programing and support for early-stage Ph.D. students. The focus of the Center naturally complimented many of the themes most relevant to my research in the history of early modern medicine, which encouraged me find other opportunities to engage with the CSMBR.

The VivaMente Grant has given us the opportunity to start exploring the history of fertility comparatively.

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Clinical Practices Series 5: A physician taking the pulse, 1320 From Bernard of Gordon, "Lilium medicinae", Bk 7, Ch. 1 "De paucitate coytus", MS.718, accession

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NOW AVAILABLE WITH PSMEMM Amalia Cerrito, "Albert the Great (c. 1193–1280) and the Configuration of the Embryo. Virtus Formativa" Just Released!!! SUMMARY: This book

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