The Eclecticism in Bernardino Ramazzini: the Analysis of Non-Medical Sources of “De Morbis Artificum Diatriba”


  • Michele Augusto Riva University of Milan Bicocca, Monza, Italy
  • Vittorio Alessandro Sironi University of Milan Bicocca, Monza, Italy
  • Giancarlo Cesana University of Milan Bicocca, Monza, Italy


Sources analysis, Bernardino Ramazzini, De Morbis Artificum Diatriba, History of Occupational Medicine


Bernardino Ramazzini (1633-1714), the founder of the occupational medicine, can be considered an eclectic author since his works ranged from physics to geology, from epidemiology to poetry. An analysis of his most famous book De Morbis Artificum Diatriba shows that about half of the authors cited by Ramazzini are not medical. In particular, “non medical” authors most cited are poets, comic playwrights, philosophers and satirists. it was not just a display of erudition. Probably Ramazzini cited them because of lack of information on workers and their diseases in medical literature. So, only “non medical” sources could provide enough information on living conditions of workers that allowed ramazzini to systematically analyze the relationship between work and disease. This use of non medical sources is still widespread in modern industrial medicine.