Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Giovanna Benadusi, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Anne Koenig, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Julia F. Irwin, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Phillip Levy, Ph.D.


Early Modern Medicine, Eighteenth Century, Global Materia Medica, Late Medici Court, Recipes


This dissertation analyzes the social, cultural, and political significance of recipes at the late Medici court. In doing so, it examines how the late Medici court used medicinal and pharmaceutical patronage to maneuver politically and socially as well as increase the court’s cultural cache throughout Europe. By the beginning of the eighteenth century, it was clear that the Medici line would end and that the Grand Duchy of Tuscany would become a satellite state of a larger European power. Yet while the late Medici court found themselves increasingly sidelined in the cultural and political landscape of Europe, science and medicine at court continued to play an important role, even as the purpose and weight of that role shifted. In fact, the late Medici court intensified its interest in pharmaceutical patronage and collecting of exotic naturalia. Both Cosimo III (1642-1723) and Anna Maria Luisa (1667-1743) collected exotic materia medica from around the world, which served their pharmaceutical productions and increased their empirical medical knowledge. For Anna Maria Luisa, distributing prized remedies and circulating her medical knowledge allowed her to build political alliances with European courts and aristocratic families in order to manage the political succession of Tuscany and craft the legacy of the Medici family. By focusing on recipes, this project reveals not only the important role medicine played at the late Medici court, but also the role of women in circulating and legitimizing empirical medical knowledge as well as the significance of recipes as agents of discovery and transmission in the desire to uncover or unlock the secrets of nature in the early modern world.