Category Archives: 16th century

1551: Dr Kyr advises caution when eating cannabis




Cannabis sativa was grown widely in the late Middle Ages and beyond, though not for its narcotic properties. Most cannabis [hemp] was used for rope-making, while commoners sometimes used young plants, seeds and pressed oil for food. Medieval and early modern physicians were aware that eating large amounts of cannabis-based foods could induce delirium or euphoria.

Writing around 1551, the Hungarian physician Paulus Kyr urged caution when nibbling on cannabis:

“Cannabis seeds are bad for the head if eaten in great quantity. [They] create foul humours and dry up the genital seed. They are difficult to digest, but are not harmful if crushed with vinegar and honey.”

Source: Paulus Kyr, The Study of Health, 1551. Content on this page is © Alpha History 2016. Content may not be republished without our express permission. For more information please refer to our Terms of Use or contact Alpha History.

1595: Beltrame banned from Venice for buggery claims




In October 1595, Giuseppe Beltrame was hauled before the elders of Venice, after falling out with a pretty actress named Giulia. Witnesses had observed Beltrame cursing at and abusing Giulia. He also publicly suggested that the young noblemen interested in Giulia were his sexual playthings, declaring that he had:

“…put it up the asses of the most excellent nobles who favoured the young woman [Giulia].”

Beltrame was banned from Venice for three years.

Source: Testimony of Giovanni Zenoni and judgement, October 1595, cited in E. Horodowich, Language and Statecraft in Early Modern Venice, 2008. Content on this page is © Alpha History 2016. Content may not be republished without our express permission. For more information please refer to our Terms of Use or contact Alpha History.