‘ The physician’s highest calling, his only calling, is to make sick people healthy – to heal, as it is termed.’
– Samuel Hahnemann –
I recently had the honor to visit, alongside my husband, ‘The Museum of Homeopathy’ situated in Rome; located at the Piazza Navona. The Museum is not open to the public, in the general sense of the term, rather it is: ‘ a by invitation and / or on an appointment basis’. Arriving with anticipation in our hearts, we were completely taken in by the location of the museum; as it is located on one of the most beautiful Piazzas, not only of Rome and Italy, but I would venture to say probably the World. The Piazza Navona in itself is an epitome of Baroque Roman Architecture, but it is also a paragon of how art, beauty, architecture, fountains, running water and sculptures can sooth a person’s heart, clear their mind and bring happiness and joy to their soul. Standing in the Piazza Navona, a person could stand forever, engulfed in tranquility and beauty staring at the famous Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers) by Bernini, the Obelisk of Domitian , Fontana del Moro ( Fountain of the Moor) and Fontana del Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune). One of the busiest Piazzas in Rome, it has hundreds of Artists exhibiting their works during the warmer months, and around the sides Restaurants are packed with tables, full of tourists and locals alike,from the terraces to the lavatory doors in the back of the establishments – with table after table of individuals eating, drinking and enjoying themselves, while street musicians and performers entertain them with music and show.
From the Alpha to the Omega:
It is on this Piazza that the Italian Academy of Homeopathic Medicine (AIMO), founded by Professor Antonio Negro in 1953, carried out its work for forty years. The Museum was inaugurated in 2013, gaining an official position on the list of Museums located within the region of Lazio, Italy – being in accordance with the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage.
The term ‘Homeopathy’ in Italy is synonymous with the Family Negro, who are the carriers of the torch of this line of healing, they are keepers of ancients knowledge which was entrusted from generation to generation for good of all mankind.
Professor Antonio Negro (1908 -2010) is the person responsible for bringing Homeopathy into the modern Italy of Post World War II and if Homeopathy has survived it is in big part ode to him and recently his son Professor Francesco Negro, who has continued his Father’s work throughout the years.
The Museum of Homeopathy:
The Museum itself was founded ode to the tenacity and persistence of Professor Antonio Negro (1908-2010) and it was inaugurated in 2013, as stated previously, it is located at The Piazza Navona in the heart of Rome. From the Museum’s Website: ‘The museum’s Homeopathic Library (over 5,000 books and magazines), includes an important collection of texts on homeopathy (in Italian, German, French, English and Spanish). The Hahnemannian section is of particular significance with rare first editions, as is the Antique Italian section with books and pamphlets published in Italy in the 19th century and the subject of a monograph curated and updated by the museum (A. Negro- F.E. Negro: Bibliografia Omeopatica Italiana, Franco Angeli Ed. Roma, 2007).’
As far as Museums are concerned the one at Piazza Navona is a Jewel of its own accord, with tangible examples of how Homeopathy was used in times of thrife within world history, from the tin cases housing Homoepathic Pills carried by soldier in World Wars I and II, to the Boxes of Physicians used in Hospitals to treat the Cholera outbreaks of Europe (Homeopathy was at the forefront of the curation of the ancient world’s Cholera outbreaks, where Jesuit Monks would administer doses to the public and a Papal Bull allowed for it to be widespread to stop the epidemic spread of the disease in Italy). Manuscripts, autographs (including some of Samuel Hahnemann), photographs, diplomas, Victorian trade covers, advertisements and curiosities create an interesting collection that documents the history of homeopathy in Italy and abroad from its beginnings. The United States brought a widespread use of Homeopathy within special hospitals designated to use Homeopathic Medicine within the borders of the United States, this was partly due to the fact that before Independence the widespread languge was German, the origin of Dr Samuel Hahnemann but also because of the patronage of Benjamin Franklin who advocated its use in America. Within the Museum The collection of early 20th century postcards of American hospitals and universities is particularly interesting.
Another section of the Museum houses Commemorative medals, numismatics, of significant historical interest involving homeopathy. The first “homeopathic” medal was struck on August 10th, 1829, in Dresden to commemorate the jubilee of S. Hahnemann’s doctorate at Erlangen University. The Collection at the Piazza Navona is commendable to say in the least.
Physicians of Emperors, Kings and Popes:
Allow me to say a few words below on three individuals who have contributed not only to European Homeopathic History but I dare venture to say World Homeopathic History, as Homeopathy has always been a part most Monarchs’ lives notably The House of Savoya and The House of Habsburgs, it was spread throughout Europe, and from Spain onwards to North Africa, Brazil, Sudan, Egypt and other parts of the world. The Three indivduals noted are Dr Samuel Hahnemann founder of Homeopathy, Professor Antonio Negro and Professor Francesco Negro.
A Short introduction of the History of Homeopathy:
Homeopathy was founded by a man named Dr Samuel Hahnemann who was born in Germany in the year 1755 , and it is widely considered to be a form of Alternative Medicine. It is based on the theory that ‘Like cures Like – similia similibus curantur ‘ or as the Anglo-Saxon term goes, ‘Hair of the Dog,’ meaning that a person is given a natural substance from the earth, which makes, or brings forth their illness to a very hightened degree, until the person themselves cures completely. The approach is considered Holistic; ‘meaning a complete system of taking all of the person, not only a part, into consideration.’ A more Spiritual term to coin holism would be Mind, Body and Soul. In essence the serendipity of this system can be traced from early Hermetic traditions such as coming from the Tabula Smaragdina (The Emerald Tablet) which holds: ‘Quod superius, sicut inferius’ (as above, so below) meaning all that happens on any level of reality (physical, emotional, or mental) also happens on every other level. Later it was also under the patronage of Parecelsus that it was continued along the lines that eventually lead to Hahnemman’s Discoveries.
The Homeopathic Pills:
Homeopathic Pills as they are called are nothing more than sugar pills upon which a drop of Homeopathic preparation is placed. These preparations are natural and found in nature, to name a few: ‘Sulphur, Camphor, Belladonna and Arnica’.
The grave of Dr Samuel Hahnemann can be found in Pére Lachaise Cemetery in Paris which in itself speaks of this engenious man’s great achievments. A few words on Hahnemman would not do him much justice as he deserves much more than would allow the length of this article, thus the more noted events shall be summarized. Homeopathy was always the choice of the upper levels of the societal echelon, and not only were most composers ardent advocates and practicers of homeopathy, most if not all Nobles and Kings were being treated with the it. Hahnemann was the physician of The world’s greatest violinist, Niccolo Paganini. Composers such as Johannes Brahms, Frédéric Chopin, Wagner and Schumann were practicers of it and students themselves. Hahnemman himself was in a way the personal Physician of the Bonaparte Family, and was commissioned by no less than Napoleon Bonaparte himself to make his way to The Island of Saint Helena to treat the Emperor, had his illness not taken him prior to the physician’s arrival.
Professor Antonio Negro:
In more modern times Professor Antonio Negro helped transition the use of Homeopathy into the post World War II Italy, and allow for it to flourish. There are not enough words to stress his importance when it comes to the use of Homeopathy as a form of remedy within the country of Italy, it is truly to his credit if it is widespreadly used and accepted even today. All Pharmacies have ‘on stock’ Homeopathic Medicine and many patients, can choose to order any substance of their choice, but usually a Homeopathic Physicians preceding diagnosis a patient and writes a receipt in reference to dosage and usage. Professor Antonio Negro was the Physician of no less than Pope Paul VI, The Holy Father awarded him the Order of St. Gregory for his work in homeopathy; The Order of St. Gregory is the highest honor bestowed on a lay person by the Vatican. He was also Homeopathic Medical Advisor of Pope Pio XII. There was also bestowed upon him, in his lifetime, 1. Grand’Ufficiale dell’Ordine al merito della Repubblica Italiana, By Request of The President of The Republic of Italy. Grand Officer of The Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. The highest ranking honour of the Republic, it is awarded for “merit acquired by the nation” in the fields of literature, the arts, economy, public service, and social, philanthropic and humanitarian activities and for long and conspicuous service in civilian and military careers. The post-nominal letters for the order are OMRI. The other being 2. Cavaliere di Gran Croce dell’Ordine al merito della Repubblica Italiana – Knight Grand Cross of The Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.
Professor Francesco Negro:
The Son of Professor Antonio Negro is named Professor Francesco Negro and he has continued on the path set out by his Paternal Ancestor. Professor Negro is the beam of light that shines at the helm of the fleet of ships in Homeopathic Italy’s waters. He is a man of profound knowledge and deep understanding, when it comes to the arts, sciences, religions, philosophy, the study of languages (in of which he is fluent in 5) and music. He is also the Head of The Negro Foundation which was established in 1991 aimed at spreading knowledge of homeopathy and promoting the study of the human being as an individual, undertakes cultural and scientific work through the organisation of conferences as well as the publication, collection and preservation of books and documents. The foundation envisages cooperation with universities, research centres, public and private institutions, associations and foundations. It also awards scholarships and promotes humanitarian initiatives. He has given hope to and helped thousands of people along the decades of his practice. Professor Negro is the author of many books which have had widespread success under circulation by FrancoAngeli, the highly respected Publishing House aimed to promote publications for Scholars, Professionals, Universities and Post Granduates.
To be a physician is no small feat in itself, and in due time to maintain, sustain and advocate the use of Homeopathy in an ever evolving and modernized world is a heavy burden to bear, but the saying hold’s true for King and Physician alike, to quote William Shakespeare: ‘Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown’.