Epistola itineraria XIII and XIV
Franz Ernst Brückmann
Franz Ernst Brückmann, (Franciscus-Ernestus Brückmann), born on 27 September 1697 in Marienthal, died on 21 March 1753 in Wolfenbüttel, was a German mineralogist and botanist. Brückmann completed his medical studies in a monastery in 1721, but most of Brückmann's interests revolved around minerals and stones. He authored several works describing textures, smells, and appearances of different minerals, paying special attention to the research of asbestos. He is given credit retrospectively for coining the term "ooliths" in 1721 to refer to round, smooth stones that resemble the mature eggs of fish.
Brückmann wrote a book with over 80 chapters referencing topics ranging from dentistry to minerology to memorabilia. Our collection holds Chapters XIII and XIV. Chapter XIII entitled Epistola Itineraria XIII: De lapidibus odoratis, discusses odors attributed to certain stones. Written in Latin, Brückmann discusses the change in odor stones experience as a result of manipulation through heat or otherwise.
Chapter XIV concerns dentistry. Brückmann wrote this chapter to discuss dental pains. Epistola itineraria XIV: de remediis quisbusdam odontalgicis opens by rejecting superstitious approaches to healing toothaches and goes on to categorize toothache severity by describing the involvement of alveolar bone, nerves and lymph in association with pain. He suggests the temporary relief from a toothache by the application of a grain-based liquid to the ailing tooth. When the tooth is extensively decayed, Brückmann describes the practice of using a hot metal tool to cauterize the root, an obviously painful experience that has been described to be more hurtful than the toothache itself. Lastly, Brückmann writes about the methods of filling cavities using lead. Brückman's writing is more curiosity than serious contribution to the field of dentistry.
Epistola itineraria XIV is held by three other libraries: Utrecht University Library, Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden, and Artis Library, University of Amsterdam.
(Based on research done by Bana Zayyad class of 2021 as part of her assignment in Elective in History of Medicine and Dentistry, 2017-2018. Edited by Ronna Abaeyv – Class of 2021.)