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While historians of medicine have sometimes referred to the eighteenth century as a 'golden age' for charlatanry, they have also surveyed features of the so-called 'medical Enlightenment', one of which was a vociferous assault on charlatanism. This paper confronts this contradiction, making use of the licences issued to charlatans by the medical authorities of the different Italian states, for whom ciarlatani constituted a recognised, if derided, occupational group. I have made use of the licences issued to over one thousand charlatans, to make and sell medicines, by organs of the state like the Protomedicato tribunals, Colleges of Physicians and Health Offices, to compile a 'Charlatans Database', for the period 1540-1800. The paper will refer to some of the most famous licensed Italian charlatans of the eighteenth century. It will analyse shifting patterns in the numbers of charlatans licensed during the century, and in the kinds of remedies they sought to make and sell, which the Database reveals. Finally, the paper will consider the impact of stricter attitudes to the examination and approval of charlatans' medicines by the medical authorities, especially from the middle of the eighteenth century.

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