Childbearing in the Early Modern Period

Childbearing in
the Early Modern Period

Breastfeeding Remedies in the Kingdom of Majorca (1470-1778)

Pablo José Alcover Cateura

19 March 2024 – 5 PM (CET)

In this lecture, I will discuss the confit d’en cases or confectio infantium, a remedy for breastfed infants with colic, meteorism, and aerophagia. Created by Antoni Cases, a late medieval Majorcan apothecary, it treated ailments with abdominal distension. Its effectiveness is partly proven today. Made with anise and fennel, it has carminative properties, helping with postprandial burping. It was also cheaper than similar drugs like the tiriaca puerorum.

While in the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance, many medicines were invented, their distribution in apothecaries varied. The Confit was more easily accepted than other preparations as it aligned with the precepts of Galenic medicine.

I will first explain why the case of reaction was particularly difficult to explain in the context of the Aristotelian conception of nature that was still heavily influential for physicists and physicians of this period.

In this lecture, I will discuss the “confit d’en cases” or “confectio infantium”, a remedy for breastfed infants with colic, meteorism, and aerophagia. As main sources, I will use post-mortem inventories from Majorcan apothecaries, with six inventories from the Arxiu del Regne De Mallorca (1470-1778) which have been identified.

In 1581, there were eighteen drugstores in Majorca, making these inventories a valid sample for study. The Arxiu del Regne de Mallorca, with well-preserved notarial archives, provides insights into local apothecaries and new medicines.

This research contributes to scientific knowledge for health professionals in the Western Mediterranean and Iberian Peninsula.

About the Speaker ...

Pablo José Alcover-Cateura is an Associate Lecturer in Medieval History at Universitat de les IllesBalears (UIB). 

He holds a BA in History (2008-2011), MA in Medieval Cultures (2012-2014) and a PhD in Medieval History (2014-2019) at Universitat de Barcelona. From September 2021 to September 2022 he was an Associate Lecturer in Medieval History at Universidad de Alicante (UA). His areas of specialization include the late Medieval and early modern history of food and pharmacy in the Crown of Aragon, including the history of science and urban markets (Crown of Aragon,14th-16th centuries) as well as the history of optics and optometry in Spain (XIII-XX).

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