chapter  13
20 Pages

The physician’s marzipan. Communities at their intersections in Basel around 1600

BySARAH-MARIA SCHOBER

Gifts form relationships. They infl uence the way people perceive themselves and each other. 1 When Felix Platter (1536-1614) – the famous city physician of Basel – presented his neighbour Dorothea Gemusein (1542-1599) with marzipan, a costly delicacy, along with some verses as a New Year’s gift in the 1590s, plenty of social meaning was produced. 2 Besides strengthening their relationship, the marzipan gift, the medical properties of which were strongly underlined in the accompanying letter, emphasised and shaped its giver’s identity as a medical doctor.