In renaissance Europe the great feared poisoning - as they had since antiquity - and relied on universal remedies against all poisons. A discussion of some contemporary tests of the efficacy of such remedies will lead us to consider, among other recondite matters, the effectiveness of the breasts of virgins in catching unicorns, the use of a thousand live scorpions in concocting a universal balm, the "cruelty" of Napellus (Monkshood), whether an accretion from goats' stomachs can antagonize corrosive sublimate and the public relations problems of royal doctors.

Speaker: Professor Iain Donaldson (Emeritus Prof. University of Edinburgh)