Drug jar for Theriac, Italy, 1701-1800

Made:
1701-1800 in Italy
maker:
Unknown

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Ornate tin glazed earthenware albarello, used for theriaca, Italian, 1701-1770

This is a drug called theriac, a thick sticky liquid medicine (called an electuary) made from up to 64 often strange and exotic ingredients – the flesh of snakes was considered one of the more vital. Originally it was used to treat poisoning and animal bites. The name ‘theriac’ is from the Greek therion, a “wild or venomous animal”. Galen recommended the treatment for snake bites. It later became a universal cure for a range of illnesses and diseases and was still in use up until the 1770s.

Details

Category:
Medical Ceramic-ware
Object Number:
A43083
type:
drug jar
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle