The Fine Line Between Medicine and Torture. Historical Iconography of Instruments and Practices

  • Guido Pelletti
  • Sindi Visentin
  • Maurizio Rippa Bonati


Numerous instruments of torture, even on a superficial observation, resemble surgical tools and therapeutic aids. A more careful analysis of their respective uses and operations reveals, in effect, that when they do not simply involve the distorted and aberrant use of surgical effects, they represent an exaggerated application of forces and movements that, to attain a medical-therapeutic effect, should be limited and controlled.


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    Rippa Bonati M (2002) La “machina” e i ferri. L’opera chirurgica di Girolamo Fabrici d’Acquapendente. Immagini per una storia della scienza. Medis Edizioni Scientifiche, Peschiera Borromeo, MilanoGoogle Scholar
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    Scultetus J (1655) Scultetus’ Armamentarium ChirurgicumGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Puppi L (1990) Lo splendore dei supplizi. Skira, MilanoGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guido Pelletti
    • 1
  • Sindi Visentin
    • 1
  • Maurizio Rippa Bonati
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Legal and Occupational Medicine, Toxicology and Public HealthUniversity-Hospital of PadovaPaduaItaly
  2. 2.Section of History of Medicine, Department of Cardiological, Thoracic and Vascular SciencesUniversity-Hospital of PadovaPaduaItaly

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