Got a Toothache? There’s a Saint for That

För några månader sedan kontaktades Hagströmerbiblioteket av Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry i San Francisco. De planerade en digital utställning om St. Apollonia, tandläkekonstens skyddshelgon, och intresserade sig för den Wesslerska samlingen av odontologiska bilder och föremål som ingår i Hagströmerbibliotekets bestånd. Nu är utställningen klar och några bilder från den Wesslerska samlingen är med. I texten nedan presenterar de sin utställning, följt av en länk där ni även kan se den:

For just about as long as humans have had teeth and eaten starchy foods, they have had to contend with dental discomfort. In the 14th century, as dental ills among people of Western Europe increased, toothache sufferers began to turn to a little-known saint in hopes of relief. A new online exhibit from the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry's Virtual Dental Museum explores the history and iconography of Saint Apollonia — the patron saint of the dental profession.

Her origin story is not a happy one. She was reputedly an "aged deaconess" living in Alexandria, Egypt in the third century AD, who, rather than renounce God, had her teeth knocked out and then leaped into a bonfire. While she attracted little attention in the years (and centuries) following her death, in the Middle Ages people began to revive her story because of the tooth-loss component of her tale.

St. Apollonia continues to give solace to the dentally afflicted in those Christian communities where the belief in saintly benevolence is cherished. Over many centuries, she has been revered in religious paintings, sculptures, cathedral stained glass images, drama and literature, and honored on February 9, her designated day of celebration. She was adopted as the patron saint of dentistry, possibly in medieval times, and continues to hold that place of distinction, with many of today's dental societies, magazines and practices bearing her name.

Learn more and see the exhibition: here!