Überreste einer Korpussuche

Teratologie: Fortunio Licetis Monster

Das Interesse an Monster, Wunderwesen und anderen Phänomenen begleitet die Menschen schon lange

Die Teratologie ist die Studie von Abnormitäten, sowohl reale als imaginäre. Diese Wissenschaft entstand im frühen 17. Jahrhundert und widmete sich der Untersuchung den, aus damaliger Sicht, wundersamen und monströsen Anomalien mit dem Zweck die Regeln der Natur zu erforschen. Im 19. Jahrhundert veränderte sich die Teratologie und imaginäre Kreaturen wurden von den Studien ausgeschlossen. Aus ihr wurde die allgemeine Lehre von Fehlbildungen physiologischer Entwicklungen. Aus der Teratologie stammen viele noch heute verwendete Bezeichnungen für Fehlbildungen und Erkrankungen wie z.B. das Meerjungfrauensyndrom (Sirenomelie) oder das Elefantenmann-Syndrom (Elefantiasis).[1]

„Many teratological conditions have been named such because aberrant traits are percieved as animal qualities – elephant men, wolf children, mermaid (thus fish) syndrome. .“ [2]

Liceti war für die Entwicklung der Teratologie wichtig und noch heute kursieren seine Illustrationen durchs Internet. “(…)a crucial turning point in the field of teratology was carried out by Fortunio Liceti two centuries earlier than Taruffi, with his treatise “De Monstrorum causis natura et differentiis. (…) However, Liceti was the first to identify likely causes of malformations. He put aside any idea of “race of monstrous men” (typical of the Hellenic period) as well as any possible divine or astral influences, in support of factors depending on passions and maternal feelings. Due to these important innovations, Liceti’s work acquires significance in the field of teratology. He identifies as causes: parent’s imagination (such as dreams), the exceed of substance and the lack of substance (deriving from lack of parts or from an exceed in material insufficient to form two organisms), superfetation (as repeated infusion of semen), uterine tightness, heredity (parental genes’ alteration), poor nourishment, feelings and passions, traumatic events. Considering as causes of malformation the fetus own pathology and the uterus-placental defects and abnormalities seems to be the most important innovations of Liceti’s work.[3]

Für meine Arbeit musste ich mich immer wieder auch mit der Geschichte und Bedeutung des Monsters im Kontext der Teratologie auseinandersetzen. Siehe z.B. Findings aus der Auslegeordnung.

[1] A Telling of Wonders – Teratology in Western Medicine through 1800. The New York Academy of Medicine. Besucht am 27. März 2019: https://web.archive.org/web/20131212054644/http://www.nyam.org/library/rare-book-room/exhibits/telling-of-wonders/ und Wikipedia. Teratology. Besucht am 27. März 2019: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teratology

[2] Mac Cormack, 2012, s.301

[3] Fortunio Liceti The Birth of Teratology, Conference: 2° International Meeting on the History of Medicine and Pathology, auf Researchgate. Besucht am 4.6.2019: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/296177698_Fortunio_Liceti_The_Birth_of_Teratology


„Highlights from the illustrations in the 1665 edition of Fortunio Liceti’s De Monstris, originally published, without the illustrations, in 1616. Liceti’s work, although not the first on the topic of deformities in nature, was perhaps the most influential of the period. In the wake of the book there was a huge rise in interest throughout Europe in “monstrosities”: pygmies, supposed mermaids, deformed fetuses, and other natural marvels were put on display and widely discussed, becoming the circus freak-shows of their time. However, unlike many of his contemporaries Licenti did not see deformity as something negative, as the result of errors or failures in the course of nature. Instead he likened nature to an artist who, faced with some imperfection in the materials to be shaped, ingeniously creates another form still more admirable. ‘It is said that I see the convergence of both Nature and art,’ wrote Liceti, ‘because one or the other not being able to make what they want, they at least make what they can.”