Scientists who exhumed the remains of several members of the Medicis, the clan that dominated the Florentine Renaissance, have conclusively dismissed the theory of family murders, solving a more than 400-year-old cold case.
Malaria, not poison as long rumored, killed Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and his second wife, Bianca Cappello, according to research to be published in Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
The couple died a few hours apart in October 1587 after 11 days of agony. Their almost simultaneous deaths led to speculation that they had been murdered.
"It appears it wasn't poison. We carried an immunologic investigation and found evidence of the protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum. ... We are talking of the most deadly of the Plasmodium species that cause malaria," Gino Fornaciari, professor of forensic anthropology and director of the Pathology Museum at the University of Pisa, told Discovery News.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Another Rumor of Poison
In my ongoing quest to find out what is behind the endless rumors of poison that run like a knotted, miscolored thread through the fabric of European history, I pass on this news item: