Pediculosis seems to have afflicted humans since the most ancient times and lice have been found in several ancient human remains. Examination of the head hair and pubic hair of the artificial mummy of Ferdinand II of Aragon (1467-1496), King of Naples, revealed a double infestation with two different species of lice, Pediculus capitis, the head louse, and Pthirus pubis, the pubic louse. The hair samples were also positive for the presence of mercury, probably applied as an anti-pediculosis therapy. This is the first time that these parasites have been found in the hair of a king, demonstrating that even members of the wealthy classes in the Renaissance were subject to louse infestation.

'Royal' pediculosis in Renaissance Italy: lice in the mummy of the King of Naples Ferdinand II of Aragon (1467-1496)

FORNACIARI, GINO;GIUFFRA, VALENTINA;MASETTI, MASSIMO
2009

Abstract

Pediculosis seems to have afflicted humans since the most ancient times and lice have been found in several ancient human remains. Examination of the head hair and pubic hair of the artificial mummy of Ferdinand II of Aragon (1467-1496), King of Naples, revealed a double infestation with two different species of lice, Pediculus capitis, the head louse, and Pthirus pubis, the pubic louse. The hair samples were also positive for the presence of mercury, probably applied as an anti-pediculosis therapy. This is the first time that these parasites have been found in the hair of a king, demonstrating that even members of the wealthy classes in the Renaissance were subject to louse infestation.
Fornaciari, Gino; Giuffra, Valentina; Marinozzi, S; Picchi, Ms; Masetti, Massimo
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11568/131101
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