The Republic’s Doctors, Herbalists And Pharmacists

Free medical service for all citizens

First written Statutes of Dubrovnik from 1272 are preserved, and already in them the fundamental measures of health and social protection were established.

Among others, the most important one was the decision on hiring a municipal doctor (the government’s temporary employee), which treated all citizens free of charge: nobles, commoners and citizens, as well as residents of nearby villages. Doctor was explicitly forbidden to charge for his services, unless he treated foreigners who were supposed to pay by themselves.

Doctors were usually engaged on a term of 2 years, and if citizens, and government of course, were satisfied with their services, the contract could be extended, again for 2 years.

The names of all medical practitioners who worked in Dubrovnik Republic are known. There were 134 physicians and 102 surgeons. Very early, that distinction between a general practice and surgery was recognized.  Surgeons were always paid more than physicians. There was always one physician, and one surgeon in the city.

The Franciscan Monastery’s Aromatario

In the 1317 the Franciscan monastery was finally built, inside the City Walls. It was common that every monastery in those days had aromatario – a kind of a workshop to prepare medical remedies from herbs, for their own use. The Franciscan monastery had it, too. Herbs had grown in gardens inside the monastery and were picked on surrounding hills.

Franciscans’ mission is to help and support those in need. For that reason soon after the monastery was opened friars started to share their medications with citizens, outside the monastery. And that was the beginning of a story that is still going on. That aromatario became a pharmacy that is still in use, 700 years later. This pharmacy is considered the pharmacy with the longest tradition in Europe, thanks to its continuity. It’s still inside the active monastery where 5 friars live today. A visit to the Franciscan Monastery museum is included in the Ars Moriendi tour, and upon your wish, it can be a part of a city tour.

In 1777 the first dentist by the name of Gaetano Pierini is recorded in the archives of Dubrovnik. Until that time barbers pulled out tooth (tooth extractions were part of their regular services).

Antun Drobac, the pharmacist who owned the pharmacy in Dubrovnik in the 19th century discovered the use of a local daisy Chrysanthemum cineraria folium as an insecticide. The common name of that plant is pot mums or chrysanths.

Pyrethrum, a natural insecticide occurs in the achene, a small, dry, one-seeded fruit. Pyrethrum attack the nervous systems of all insects, and inhibit female mosquitoes from biting. It is harmful to fish, but far less toxic to mammals and birds than many synthetic insecticides. It is not persistent, it’s biodegradable, and decomposes easily when exposed to light.

Dubrovnik Franciscan monastery’s pharmacy is considered the pharmacy with the longest tradition in Europe, thanks to its continuity. It’s still inside the active monastery where 5 friars live today.

The Republic’s Doctors, Herbalists And Pharmacists

Free medical service
for all citizens

First written Statutes of Dubrovnik from 1272 are preserved, and already in them the fundamental measures of health and social protection were established.

Among others, the most important one was the decision on hiring a municipal doctor (the government’s temporary employee), which treated all citizens free of charge: nobles, commoners and citizens, as well as residents of nearby villages. Doctor was explicitly forbidden to charge for his services, unless he treated foreigners who were supposed to pay by themselves.

Doctors were usually engaged on a term of 2 years, and if citizens, and government of course, were satisfied with their services, the contract could be extended, again for 2 years.

The names of all medical practitioners who worked in Dubrovnik Republic are known. There were 134 physicians and 102 surgeons. Very early, that distinction between a general practice and surgery was recognized.  Surgeons were always paid more than physicians. There was always one physician, and one surgeon in the city.

The Franciscan Monastery’s Aromatario

In the 1317 the Franciscan monastery was finally built, inside the City Walls. It was common that every monastery in those days had aromatario – a kind of a workshop to prepare medical remedies from herbs, for their own use. The Franciscan monastery had it, too. Herbs had grown in gardens inside the monastery and were picked on surrounding hills.

Franciscans’ mission is to help and support those in need. For that reason soon after the monastery was opened friars started to share their medications with citizens, outside the monastery. And that was the beginning of a story that is still going on. That aromatario became a pharmacy that is still in use, 700 years later. This pharmacy is considered the pharmacy with the longest tradition in Europe, thanks to its continuity. It’s still inside the active monastery where 5 friars live today. A visit to the Franciscan Monastery museum is included in the Ars Moriendi tour, and upon your wish, it can be a part of a city tour.

In 1777 the first dentist by the name of Gaetano Pierini is recorded in the archives of Dubrovnik. Until that time barbers pulled out tooth (tooth extractions were part of their regular services).

Antun Drobac, the pharmacist who owned the pharmacy in Dubrovnik in the 19th century discovered the use of a local daisy Chrysanthemum cineraria folium as an insecticide. The common name of that plant is pot mums or chrysanths.

Pyrethrum, a natural insecticide occurs in the achene, a small, dry, one-seeded fruit. Pyrethrum attack the nervous systems of all insects, and inhibit female mosquitoes from biting. It is harmful to fish, but far less toxic to mammals and birds than many synthetic insecticides. It is not persistent, it’s biodegradable, and decomposes easily when exposed to light.

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