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What is the Edict of Salerno?

The Middle Ages brought about many advancements in technology, economy, and even politics. The same era also brought about changes in the practice of pharmacy, thanks to Emperor Frederick II.

The Edict of Salerno was Emperor Frederick II’s law forbidding physicians to double as pharmacists when he noticed the rapid rise of prices of medicines due to this practice. The edict also dictated the fixed pricing of certain medications.

The Edict of Salerno

Frederick II, the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily during the Middle Ages, noticed that prices of medicines increased because physicians also did the work of pharmacists and created the medication they prescribed. Frederick, known for his pursuit of knowledge and intellect, created the Edict, or Constitution of Salerno, in 1241.

The edict decrees that the occupations of physician and pharmacist should be two separate and distinct jobs. With this decree, physicians are no longer allowed to act as pharmacists, and the two professions are not to be under one establishment.

The edict soon became a model for the regulation of the practice of pharmacy across Europe. (Source: Holy Roman Empire Association)

Frederick II

On December 26, 1194, Frederick II was born to Emperor Henry VI and a much older Empress Constance. When Frederick II was two years old, he was elected as king by the German princes in Frankfort. When Emperor Henry VI passed in 1197, Empress Constance hastily had Frederick brought to Sicily. He then was crowned King of Sicily on May 17, 1198. (Source: Britannica)

Empress Constance dissolved Sicily’s ties with Germany in Frederick’s name and authority due to her marriage with Emperor Henry VI. The dissolution resulted in the German counselors’ return to Germany and Frederick’s claim to the German throne and empire. (Source: Holy Roman Empire Association)

Empress Constance named Pope Innocent III as the young king’s guardian before she passed on the same year. Pope Innocent III was also named regent of the Kingdom of Sicily. At this time, Sicily was in a state of anarchy and was only stabilized after the invasion of the imperial chancellor conquered Palermo in November 1206. The chancellor governed in his name for two years until Frederick was declared of age when he turned fourteen.

The following year, the young king married a much older woman, the Constance of Aragon. He did this to gain control of the troops of knights and eventually take over Sicily. Frederick began to gain authority as the crowned king. However,  his relationship with the pope started to decline.

In 1212, Frederick was crowned king of Germany by most of the princes in Frankfurt. The same year, he had his one-year-old son, Henry VII, crowned king of Sicily. Frederick succeeded in consolidating most of Germany into an empire in 1220. He was then crowned emperor by Pope Honorius III in St. Peter’s Church in Rome in the same year.

Frederick continued to expand his empire, building castles and improving harbors and navy and merchant vessels. He extended his empire to include Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nazareth through the number of crusades he joined. Frederick continued to be an emperor until his untimely death in 1250. (Source: Britannica)

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