Biography of Lluis Alcanyís (ca. 1440-1506)

Spanish doctor born in Játiva around 1440 and died in Valencia in 1506.

Alcanyís was the son of a notary of Jewish origin who was born and lived in Játiva, city in which he/she lived also until 1467. That year, when it already possessed a remarkable reputation as a physician, he/she moved his home to Valencia. Along with Lluís Dalmau and Pere painter, got to Valencia City Council founded a school for surgeons to Juan II in 1477 granted a privilege to dissect human corpses. He/She taught it several years and, from 1480, as part of its permanent faculty. He/She also held the charge of "medical examiner" in different years. When it was created in 1499 the University of Valencia had influence in that it was one of the first in Europe that incorporated the teaching of surgery. In any case, was the first Professor of medicine who had the new University and held the Chair of principiis until 1504.

It was also the author of the first original book of medicine printed in Valencia, a Regiment preservatiu e curatiu of the pestilence (ca. 1490), written on the occasion of the epidemic that ravaged the city since November 1489 until the middle of next year. The work begins with a brief summary of the alterations which produces the plague in the human body and the causes of the disease, according to the arabizado galenism which Alcanyís was a supporter, whose seminal work was the Canon of Avicenna. Then exposes the "condom regime", where addresses on the "goodness of air", "bread and wine", "meat", "sauces", "cheese", "fruits", "regulations of the food and drink", "sleep and wakefulness", "accidents of the mind" and "repletion and depletion" of the body fluids. In all these chapters used, like most of the regimina sanitatis of the medical galenistas, the criterion of "average" of Aristotelian origin, associated with the doctrine of the opposite qualities and his personal experience. On the other hand, includes antidotes against the "poison" of the plague, especially the theriac and the Mithridates, two famous compound drugs already used by Galen, of alleged condoms poisons of all effects.

The regime healing, much shorter than the previous one, is divided into dietary, drug induced and surgical, as it was usual in the galenism. The first reiterates the chapters cited from the perspective of the treatment. The second is intended to comfort the heart and fight the "worms" that "often there are pestilenciales fevers", with simple and compound drugs. The surgical's main objective treatment of the buboes, warning that "the intention of the surgeon will be always extract [altered] matter, away the poison of organs, including the heart, liver and brain," and secondarily the healing of the lesions.

Alcanyís joined in the cultural life of the Valencia of its time, which is reflected in its participation in the collected poetic event in Les trobes in lahors of the Verge Maria (1474), first literary book printed in Spain.

Its end was terrible. Condemned by the Inquisition as a judaizer, Alcanyís was burned alive, the 25 November 1506, along with three other men and two women. He/She had been jailed nearly three years and was morally so crushed that he/she came to reveal to his wife.



Regiment preservatiu e curatiu of the pestilence. Valencia (Nicolau Spindeler, ca. 1490). -The text was reproduced by CHINCHILLA A. in historical annals of medicine in general and biografico-bibliograficos of the Spanish in particular. (Valencia; IMP. López y Cia. and IMP. J. Mateu Cervera, 1841-1846, vol. IV, pp. (239-247). was later reissued by RIVELLES COMÍN, José in a brochure (Barcelona; Popular Valencian library, 1914) and in the bibliography of the Valencian Language (vol.I: Madrid; Font files, 1915, pp. (17-28), the newsletter of the library of Catalonia (vol. 7, pp. 25-57; 1932), and in Ventura studies listed below. Have recently published two editions facsimiles (Valencia; Vicent García publishers, 1993); (Valencia; Universitat de València i Ajuntament de Valencia, 1999).


ARRIZABALAGA, i. "Lluís Alcanyís and his Regiment of the pestilence. Valencia, ca. 1490. ", in Dynamis, vol. 3 (1983, pp. 29-54)."FERRANDO, a. "metge-poet Lluís Alcanyís. "Life i work", in Regiment preservatiu e the pestilence, of Lluís Alcanyís curatiu. (Valencia; Universitat de València i Ajuntament de Valencia, 1999, pp. (43-111).Garcia, a. "Three libraries of Renaissance Valencian physicians (Luis Alcañiz, Pere painter, Pere Martí", in Asclepius, volumes 26 and 27 (1974-1975, pp. 527-546).LÓPEZ PIÑERO, J. M. "The health personality of Lluís Alcanyís", in Regiment preservatiu e the pestilence, of Lluís Alcanyís curatiu. (Valencia; Universitat de València i Ajuntament de Valencia, 1999, pp. (13-42).VENTURA, j. Lluís Alcanyís, metge i escriptor valencia del segle XV", in Inquisicio espanyola i renaixentista to the Valencian country culture. (Valencia; Ed. Three i Quatre, 1978, pp. (53-101)-"Lluís Alcanyís, physician and Valencian writer of the fifteenth century", Cuadernos de economic history of Catalonia, vol. 9 (1973; pp. 69-105).

José María López Piñero