Gino Fornaciari, University of Pisa, Italy

Pandolfo III Malatesta (1370-1427) was a leading figure of the Italian Renaissance. 
He was a Captain General of the Republican troops of Venice fighting against the Visconti of Milan.  He later became prince of Brescia and Bergamo and, in 1412-1413, still fighting for the Serenissima Republic of Venice, he was successful in the war against the Hungarians.  He was a valiant soldier and horseman with a very active and particular life style, representing a typical example of a XV century condottiero-prince.  Historical sources report that he died of a fever during a pillgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Virgin Mary at Loreto (Central Italy) in 1427.
His tomb has recently been rediscovered in Fano (Marche, Central Italy).

A preliminary endoscopic examination (1992) of the Roman porphyry sarcophagus that is enclosed in the front of San Francesco Church showed the presence of a well preserved body.  Our recent exploration of the tomb in June ¡995 revealed the corpse, wrapped in its shroud, and still dressed in an elegant fifteenth century style suit, with a red velvet coat and skin gloves. 

This well preserved mummy was that of a vigorous man, approximately 180 cm tall, lying on his back with his arms crossed on a very prominent, globous abdomen; the lower extremities were completely extended.  His face displayed evident traces of moustaches and beard on a prominent chin (as the coin portraits of Pandolfo show), and a very large tongue still protruded across the anterior teeth.  The skin was dark brown.  The thoracic and abdominal walls appeared to have been damaged by the action of moths, especially on the back.  On his right thigh there was a large round scar, obviously caused by a healed wound.

Anthropological study indicated a Dinaroid type (meso-brachycephaly, tall stature, prominent nose), which is common in the North Adriatic area and in the Balkan Peninsula.  This anthropological determination suggests Pandolfo’s place of origin.

After careful x-ray and videographic examination with portable apparatus (Trophy), the autopsy was performed. This showed good preservation of the skeletal muscles, cartilage and such internal organs as the trachea and main bronchi, the stomach, the stomach, the small and large intestines, the prostate gland, and also the penis.  Macroscopic examination revealed stag-horn  calculi of the right kidney and a severe enlargement of the prostate, with calcifications detectable by x-ray.

The different skeletal lesions may be related to Pandolfo’s particular life style as horseman and knight:

a. Strong muscular insertions of the bones of the arms and forearms, especially of the right ones, and of the femurs and legs;
b. Severe bilateral sternoclavicular and sternocostal arthritis (due to frequent hard impacts in jousting?);
c. Vertebral osteophytosis of the dorsal rachis with discal lesions (caused by heavy armour?);
d. Strong iliac crest exostoses with calcification of muscle insertions of gluteus maximus and ileopsoas (frequent riding?);
e. Marked exostoses on the right hand bones (use of sword?);
f. Bowlegs with calloused knees (continuous riding?);
g. Malposition of second toes (caused by shoes of made of mail?).

Three coarse transverse lines in the distal tibiae were seen on x-ray examination; these may have been caused by stress (perhaps diseases) at the ages of 10, 13 and 16-17 years respectively. 

Many teeth were lost intra vitam.  Severe wear and a great deal of dental decay was found.  Apical osteolysis was the consequence of root abscesses; in the case of the right upper central incisor, osteolysis was caused by severe injury (frontal trauma?) that resulted in a transverse fracture of the tooth.  No calculus was found over the teeth, but his perfect oral hygiene did not protect him from dental caries (cariogenic diet, which could have been extensively based on sugars). 

Finally, examination of the intestinal material revealed the presence of grapes, suggestive of the prince’s last meal.

Although at present it is impossible to establish the cause of death, this may be ascertained by histological tests on the residual organs.

Fornaciari G. 1982.  Natural mummies in Central Italy: A preliminary survey.  PPN 40:11-12.
Fornaciari G. 1986.  The mummies of the Abbey of Saint Domenico Maggiore in Naples: a preliminary survey.  In: Vth European Meeting of the Paleopathology Association, Siena, September 1984, 97-104.
Fomaciari G. and L. Capasso. 1995.  Natural and artificial mummies in Italy (13th19th centuries).  In: International Mummy Symposium, Innsbruck, 15th-17th September 1993, 195-203.
Fornaciari G.1995. Exploration of the tomb of Pandolfo III Malatesta (1370-1427), prince of Fano (Central Italy). PPN 92: 7-9.