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Legendary Medici warrior died of gangrene

Giovanni de’ Medici, the legendary 16th century army commander, did not die from an improperly amputated leg, as was previously thought, but rather due to gangrene after being hit in the right leg by a cannonball.

As the ball crashed the right leg above the knee, the condottiero was taken to the palace of marquis Luigi Alessandro Gonzaga in Mantua. Gangrene soon set in, and Gonzaga’s surgeon Maestro Abram decided to intervene by amputating the leg.

“It was believed that the amputation was not carried above the wound, but slighly above the ankle. This would have meant a death sentence for Giovanni, ” Fornaciari told Discovery News.

The surgeon was unfairly accused, Fornaciari explained. Giovanni’s tibia and fibula were sawed off, but the researchers found no signs of lesions above the amputation. Neither they noticed any damage at the knee and the femur (thigh bone).

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Story: Rosella Lorenzi, Discovery News | Photo: Discovery News

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