Caspar Bauhin on Anna Jakob Bürgin (1614)

bauhin_gaspard_1550-1624

Caspar Bauhin. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bauhin_Gaspard_1550-1624.jpg. PD.

Both Felix Platter and Caspar Bauhin were involved in the case of Anna Jakob Bürgin (see https://intersex.hypotheses.org/4653), and both published accounts of the case. Platter did so in his Observationes, Bauhin in a voluminous book on hermaphrodites and other unusual births. Just two years earlier, Duval’s Des hermaphrodites had appeared, arguably the earliest monographs on hermaphrodites in the West, if one discounts (as I do) books like Beccadelli’s Hermaphroditus (1499) or Artus‘ Les hermaphrodites (1605), who both only quote the figure of the hermaphrodite as a metaphor for multifarious sexual desire.

Bauhin’s book is very learned indeed, and quotes most authorities on hermaphrodites available in his time – mythology, natural philosophy, medicine, canon and secular law, theology and so on. He has a separate chapter on questions of terminology, a separate chapter on the ‚hermaphrodite Adam‘ (see here), knows Plato’s Symposium (see here) as well as  Ovid, quotes Aristotle on hyenas (see here), and all the ancient but also relatively recent cases like the pregnant monk from Issoire which he knew via Gaguin’s account (see here).

Below, I provide the relevant passage of Bauhin’s account as found in his book. The most striking aspect of this passage to me is his definition of hermaphrodites; they are, as Bauhin states, humans

in whom appear, in addition to the legitimate genitals, also those of the other sex

in quo praeter pudendum legitimum, alterius etiam sexus pudendum apparet

Bauhin 1614, 12; own translation

This formula made it into 18th c. reference works (e.g. Julliot’s Dictionnaire), and indeed fits well into modern discourse on anatomy. Speaking of a pudendum legitimum in my opinion goes far beyond assigning different legal rights according to certain bodily traits (as it was the rule in premodern and, to a lesser extent, modern societies). Rather, calling certain anatomical feature ‚legitimate‘ suggests that not only behaviour but indeed anatomy could be ‚illegitimate‘ too.

Bauhin on Anna Jacob Bürgin

Anno 1609, Martii 24, una cum Cl. viro D.D. Felice Platero, Collega meo, examinavimus quandam in praefectura Waldenburgica, ditinionis Basileensis, patre Jacobo Bürge rustico natam, et Annam baptisatam, annorom circiter vigintitrium: haec cum in eadem praefectura rustico pro famula serviret, rusticus animadvertens famulam in majori apud uxorem, quam ipse foret, gratia esse: sinistram de famula opinionem concepit: quare rem ad Magistratum detulit et famula examinata se magis virum (ut ipsius verbis utar) quam foeminam esse pronunciavit. Quibus auditis Magistratus nobis examen serium commisit.

Haec ergo corpore erat satis procero, macilento tamen, voce virili, capillos longos habens, mentum lanugine obsitum (pilos enim prodeuntes volsella evellere solebat) mammis carebat: pube erat piloso, pene longo, praeputio denudato et bene attrito: scroto et testibus propendentibus carebat: sub pene in perinaeo, ubi calculi extrahi consuevere, rima offerebatur oblonga, medium circiter digiti articulum profunda (quo modo Aristoteles in Hyaena tam mare quam foemina notavit, uti plenius in Hyaenae historia) cui posterius meatus excrementorum sive podex jungebatur. Hinc virum potius quam foeminam agnovimus. Interrogatus de Veneris actubus, confessus se cum pluribus meretricibus rem habuisse, et cum voluptate et cum seminis profusione: insuper quando vel rem haberet, vel solum incalseceret penisve erigeretur, in inguine dextro testiculum protuberare (aliquando enim testes in scrotum non descendunt, sed in inguinibus subsistunt, quod in equis, canibus et lupis iam fuit observatum, ita ut unum testiculum habeant in scroto, alterum in inguine latitantem, hique ferociores et malitiosi ab Hippiatris dicuntur, nostraque lingua Kiber, id est, maligni nominantur) affirmavit, quod etiam tangendo persensimus: a sinitris vero nil unquam, nec extra, nec in conflictu Venereo persensisse: nec etiam ex rima vulvam aemulante, quicquam unquam effluxisse. Quare Magistratus jussu post poenam inflictam capillis quos more foeminarum alebat, resectis, habitum et nomen mutavit.

Bauhin 1614, 346 (https://books.google.de/books?id=8Gb3a0seC0AC&hl=de&pg=PA346#v=onepage&f=false)

Bibliography

Caspar Bauhin, De hermaphroditorum monstrosorumque partuum natura […] (Oppenheim, 1614). https://books.google.de/books?id=8Gb3a0seC0AC

Balthasar Julliot, Dictionnaire interprete de matiere medicale, et de ce qui y a rapport; Contenant l’explication des Termes arabes, grecs et latins […] (2 vols.,  Paris, 1768).

 

Suggested citation: Christof Rolker, Caspar Bauhin on Anna Jakob Bürgin (1614), in Männlich-weiblich-zwischen, 05/02/2017, http://intersex.hypotheses.org/4767. Lizenz: CC BY-SA 4.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/]. Letzter Aufruf: 21/07/2017.

Christof Rolker

Prof. Dr. Christof Rolker, Historiker an der Universität Bamberg.

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Christof Rolker

Prof. Dr. Christof Rolker, Historiker an der Universität Bamberg.

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1 Antwort

  1. 05/03/2017

    […] makes it all the more confusing to encounter either ‚double‘ names (as in the case of Anna Jakob Bürgin) or unisex names (like Duke Anne de Montmorency and his mother Anne Pot, who share their given name […]

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