Weapon salve


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a salve which was supposed to cure a wound by being applied to the weapon that made it.
- Boyle.

See also: Weapon

References in periodicals archive ?
Eric Lewis ('Sir Kenelm Digby and the Weapon Salve in Seventeenth Century England') deals with Kenelm Digby's modernization of Paracelsus' recipe for remotely curing the wounds of a victim when applied to the offending weapon.
The aim of these works was to demonstrate that the new mechanical philosophy could explain all qualities, including so-called occult ones such as magnetism, the heliotrope, and the weapon salve.
The Society's desire to publicly defend its firmly entrenched natural philosophical system from heterodox and potentially dangerous alternatives provides an explanatory model for both the wider Jesuit attacks against the phenomenon of the weapon salve, which was the contentious topic of Van Helmont's treatise, and Van Helmont's own accusation of Jesuit involvement in the illicit publication of his work.
A recent historiographical foray into the realm of the weapon salve has attempted to unravel the complex philosophical debate to which Van Helmont himself was explicitly responding with his 1621 De magnetica vulnerum curatione.
As a topic of natural philosophical discussion, the weapon salve enjoyed an extensive history that ranged from the last decades of the sixteenth century through to the eighteenth.
The phenomenon of healing over great distances not only captured the collective imagination of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries--demonstrated both by extensive natural philosophical debates concerning its efficacy and by its incorporation into aspects of popular culture--but also went on to intrigue the modern world as well; the weapon salve was sometimes linked to animal mesmerism in the nineteenth century, and played the role of an ingenious if disturbing tool in the determination of longitude as described in a recent novel by Umberto Eco.
The exact origins of the weapon salve were almost entirely unclear from its first appearances in early modern culture, and largely remain so today.
In fact, one of the earliest references to the weapon salve (outside of the contested Paracelsian sources) appeared towards the end of the sixteenth century in the influential Magiae naturalis libri viginti of Giovanni Battista della Porta (1535-1615); the 1589 edition of the Magiae included a brief description of the salve and attributed its discovery to Paracelsus.
Other influential and widespread publications soon began discussing the weapon salve as a topic of medical and natural philosophical interest.
At the beginning of the seventeenth century, then, we find discussions about the weapon salve disseminated across much of Europe.
Libavius was neither the first nor the last to identify demonic or diabolical intervention as the primary cause behind the activity of the weapon salve; numerous detractors employed the Devil in attempts to dispute the nature of the salve's activity.
The contentious and oft-debated reputation of the weapon salve was directly inspired by its unique place in the natural philosophy of the day.
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