Characters of our routes: Dionisio Daza Chacón

He is considered one of the great surgeons of the Renaissance

If there is a renowned figure in the field of medicine in Spain in the 16th century, it was Dionisio Daza Chacón. The best surgeon in this country during the Renaissance, it is believed that he was the one who helped Miguel de Cervantes after the Battle of Lepanto.

Dionisio Daza Chacón was one of the greatest figure of surgery in Spain during the Renaissance. Born in 1503 in Valladolid, after completing his studies in medicine and surgery he joined the armies of Emperor Charles V, whom he accompanied on numerous occasions.

He was not the last king he served, as he was also chamber surgeon at the court of Philip II. However, in 1569 he passed into the service of Don Juan of Austria, and his life began to unfold in the galleys of the King of Spain. Hence his presence at the Battle of Lepanto on 7 October 1571.

Which was the day he met a special guy on the occasion, according to this man, the highest that the present centuries have seen and the centuries to come will never see.

That man was Miguel de Cervantes, and on the day of the battle he was not in the best of health. Nevertheless, he decided to take part in a battle that, in his condition, could have cost him his life.


Dionisio Daza Chacón.

Miguel de Cervantes was wounded in the skiff – one of the most dangerous parts of a galley in the event of conflict – but he decided to continue fighting until he could be treated after the battle was over.

He was attended to by the royal surgeon in the service of Don Juan of Austria, Dionisio Daza Chacón, the greatest Spanish eminence of the time, who was 68 years old at the time. In the galleys he was accustomed to making the work of the executioners less cruel, pointing out the place where they should cut if they saw the hand of a thief or murderer; and he attended to Miguel de Cervantes after the battle against the Turks.

Aged 86, an extraordinary age for the time, Dionisio Daza Chacón died in 1596. He could not have known the great work of the soldier whose wounds he treated after the Battle of Lepanto. According to that soldier called Miguel de Cervantes, it was the greatest occasion that centuries had ever seen and that those to come would never see.

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