Medicine for the Masses: The Placebo Effect of Early Modern Medical Frontispieces and the Commercialization of Socialized Medicine

Ryan Church



By focusing on a single case study of Girolamo Ruscelli‟s famous Secreti del reverend donno Alessio Piemontese (1555), I argue that the frontispiece contained in this manuscript transformed the knowledge and practices contained within it through the placebo effect, thus helping to generate and mobilize social power through medical self-sufficiency. This tremendous change undercut the economic power of institutional medicine, thus altering the medical landscape toward a utilitarian model in the Early Modern period.


Early Modern; Books of Secrets; Placebo Effect; Frontispieces; Socialized Medicine

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Copyright (c) 2012 Ryan Church


This journal is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 Unported License.


ISSN 1923-1334 (Online)

University of Victoria