This is a historical and sanitary monograph of Wallachia, written two centuries ago by Constantin Caracaș (1773-1828), a personality of the medical world in the capital of the principality.Born at Siatista, in the Kozani region of Western Macedonia,in a family of doctors – both his father, Dimitrie Caracaș, and his brother Nicolaepracticed inWallachia (first his father in Craiova and then all three in Bucharest) –, Constantin Caracaș settled, after studies in Vienna, in Bucharest. As Physician of the Capital, he is the one who introduced and generalized the smallpox vaccine. “Around the year 1800, when I returned to this town of Bucharest after having studied medicine at the University of Vienna,” the author wrote, “I immediately started vaccination, with no opposition from the inhabitants; so that in 1802, vaccination was general throughout the town, as well as in other boroughs.” Being a member of the health committee of the town, he contributed, alongside countrymenSilvestru Filitti and Constantin Darvari, to improving health care throughout the principality (“One of the most useful duties of a government is to take care of the people’s health and life, as the safety and happiness of any nation resides in the physical and intellectual stamina acquired through a good life”).
The Topography of Wallachia,the book that made him stand out and earned him the praise of posterity, is his only work, published in Greek by his wife posthumously in 1830.An overview of the Principality, covering various aspects, from geography (the chapters on physical geography, Georgeta Filitti notes, offer an almost cinematographic description of the Romanian landscape) to history, from sanitary aspects to observations about the weather, to customs and mores,it provides a minute picture of everyday life in “Dacia” at the turn of the 19th century.Mention should be made of the congenial description he gives the Romanians among whom he was fated to live: “…Compared to their physical constitution, influenced by the climate, the inhabitants are gentle, patient, receptive to culture and have a solid character, determined in a good society by learning and fine examples… This people, with its natural intelligence, can easily cultivate its mores, make progress in science and the arts and live happily.” Sanitary and health establishments in the capital and in the entire principality are also described in detail, as seen through the eyes of a professional.
The author of the Topography holds a distinctive place in the history of Romanian medicine with his initiative to have “a hospital built for the so many poor patients, while I myself promise to treat them for free for life.” This is the “Human Kindness” hospital, i.e. the Filantropia Hospital that has been functioning for 205 years. “The way he conceived the institution, how he supervised the construction work and the endowment, how he drew up the functioning regulations, all point to an exceptional manager” (Georgeta Filitti).
A necessary act of recognition, the new edition of the original version together with the Romanian translation by George Sion now provides specialists and the lay readership with “a classical work of the Romanian historiography. Not only is it of continued interest to doctors, but it remains a milestone in point of knowledge about “Dacia” and the people of 200 years ago.” (G. Filitti).
The book was published with the help of the Cytogenomic Medical Laboratory, founded in Bucharest by Danae Stambouli,a person ofthe diaspora,devoted to the Romanian medical system, thus continuing the tradition established by her 19th century forerunner, dr. C. Caracas. The tenth anniversary of the Laboratory focusing on diagnostic tests in all specialties is thus marked by this edition, a homage paid to the triple anniversary related to dr. Constantin Caracas: 245 years since his birth, 190 years since his death and 205 years sinceFilantropia Hospital was founded. Danae Stambouli signs a moving foreword about “this wonderful Greek humanist and doctor in Romania and his precious legacy.”


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