Wednesday, October 2, 2013

How to Stay Young, 1489

Portrait of Marsilio Ficino
Domenico Ghirlandaio, Zacariah in the Temple (1486-90)
"There is a common and ancient opinion that certain prophetic women who are popularly called ‘screech-owls’ suck the blood of infants as a means, insofar as they can, of growing young again. Why shouldn’t our old people... likewise suck the blood of a youth? — a youth, I say who is willing, healthy, happy and temperate, whose blood is of the best but perhaps too abundant. They will suck, therefore, like leeches, an ounce or two from a scarcely-opened vein of the left arm; they will immediately take an equal amount of sugar and wine; they will do this when hungry and thirsty and when the moon is waxing. If they have difficulty digesting raw blood, let it first be cooked together with sugar; or let it be mixed with sugar and moderately distilled over hot water and then drunk." 
Marsilio Ficino, De vita libri tres (1489)
One wonders how difficult it was to find a willing youth to serve as an ingredient for Ficino's rejuvenating recipes. 

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