Horatio Nelson: his wounds, the Seventh Commandment and the Festival of Priapus
28th March 2017
The talks given to our Club are invariably of a very high standard but even the best of these were eclipsed by today's guest speaker, Simon Harris. The full (and intriguing) title of his talk was 'Horatio Nelson - his Wounds, the Seventh Commandment and the Festival of Priapus'.
A retired consultant anaesthetist, Simon could appreciate the serious and traumatic nature of the many wounds suffered by Nelson during his career in the Navy and, despite the gruesome nature of these wounds, Simon described, in a very knowledgeable and unexpectedly entertaining manner, how they had been sustained and treated. Having lost the use of an eye at the siege of Calvi in 1794, Nelson subsequently suffered severe wounds to his abdomen during the battle of St Vincent in 1797 and, later that year during fighting off Santa Cruz in Tenerife, received injuries requiring the amputation of his right arm. Early in the following year, at the battle of The Nile, he received a serious head wound. Finally, as we all know, this heroic man was killed at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
As well as discussing Nelson’s wounds, Simon also took a somewhat irreverent look at this famous man’s legendary love life – hence the references in the title of his talk to the Seventh Commandment and the Ancient Romans’ notorious erotic art dedicated to the god, Priapus.
Simon Harris and Ainslie Kelly