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Hutten or not? A re-examination of two late medieval skeletons from the island of Ufenau SZ


Goujon, Antoinette Florence Cécile; Turck, Rouven; Janosa, Manuel; Gantenbein, Urs Leo; Haeusler, Martin (2019). Hutten or not? A re-examination of two late medieval skeletons from the island of Ufenau SZ. Bulletin der Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Anthropologie, 25(2):17-44.

Abstract

Ulrich von Hutten (1488 - 1523) was a renowned German knight, humanist, and poet. With his famous treatise De Guaiacum medicina et morbo Gallico liber unus from 1519, he was also the first known patient describing the syphilis epidemic ravaging in Europe at the beginning of the 16th century. He died from complications of his disease on the island of Ufenau (Lake Zürich, Schwyz – SZ, Switzerland). Two skeletons discovered in 1958 (H58) and 1968 (H68) have been assumed to be his remains. Thanks to renovation work on the island in 2016, we were able to re-exhume these skeletons and we present here our preliminary anthropological, palaeopathological and archaeometrical analyses. We compare the localizations of his syphilitic lesions as well as other possiblep athological manifestations with those described in Hutten's works. As he also reported at least eleven unsuccessful treatments with mercury ointments, we compare the mercury content of the two skeletons with that of eleven Late Medieval individuals from the St. Johann city church in Rapperswil-Jona (St. Gallen - SG, Switzerland). This reference could possibly help in the attribution of one of the skeletons to Ulrich von Hutten.

Abstract

Ulrich von Hutten (1488 - 1523) was a renowned German knight, humanist, and poet. With his famous treatise De Guaiacum medicina et morbo Gallico liber unus from 1519, he was also the first known patient describing the syphilis epidemic ravaging in Europe at the beginning of the 16th century. He died from complications of his disease on the island of Ufenau (Lake Zürich, Schwyz – SZ, Switzerland). Two skeletons discovered in 1958 (H58) and 1968 (H68) have been assumed to be his remains. Thanks to renovation work on the island in 2016, we were able to re-exhume these skeletons and we present here our preliminary anthropological, palaeopathological and archaeometrical analyses. We compare the localizations of his syphilitic lesions as well as other possiblep athological manifestations with those described in Hutten's works. As he also reported at least eleven unsuccessful treatments with mercury ointments, we compare the mercury content of the two skeletons with that of eleven Late Medieval individuals from the St. Johann city church in Rapperswil-Jona (St. Gallen - SG, Switzerland). This reference could possibly help in the attribution of one of the skeletons to Ulrich von Hutten.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
570 Life sciences; biology
Uncontrolled Keywords:interdisciplinary, anthropology, archaeology, archaeometry, palaeopathology
Language:English
Date:2019
Deposited On:15 Nov 2023 09:08
Last Modified:15 Nov 2023 09:08
Publisher:Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Anthropologie
ISSN:1420-4835
OA Status:Green
Related URLs:https://anthropologie.ch/de/bulletin (Publisher)
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English