Concept: Richard I of England
During the Middle Ages, the partition of the cadaver of the elite members was a current practice, with highly technical treatment given to symbolic organs such as the heart. Considered mostly from a theoretical point of view, this notion of dilaceratio corporis has never been biologically explored. To assess the exact kind of embalming reserved to the heart, we performed a full biomedical analysis of the mummified heart of the English King Richard I (1199 A.D.). Here we show among other aspects, that the organ has been embalmed using substances inspired by Biblical texts and practical necessities of desiccation. We found that the heart was deposed in linen, associated with myrtle, daisy, mint, frankincense, creosote, mercury and, possibly, lime. Furthermore, the goal of using such preservation materials was to allow long-term conservation of the tissues, and good-smelling similar to the one of the Christ (comparable to the odor of sanctity).
On 4 February 2013 experts confirmed that the remains of the last English king to die in battle were found under a council car park in Leicester, England. Richard III, the last Plantagenet king, wore the crown from 1483 until his untimely death in 1485. There have been many myths published about him, even one with a dental reference. This paper explores what dentistry was like at the time of Richard III, reveals the truth behind the myths and sees how the University of Leicester’s findings about his dentition and skull has provided an insight into his identification, lifestyle and final moments.