CLOQUET, LOUIS-ANDRÉ-ERNEST (b. Paris, 11 October 1818, d. Tehran, 1855 [exact date unknown]), French anatomist and, from 1262/1846 to 1271/1855, French minister to the court at Tehran, serving as personal physician to Moḥammad Shah (1250-64/1834-48) and Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah Qājār (1264-1313/1848-96).
Ernest, the son of Hippolyte Cloquet (1787-1840), a well-known anatomist, followed his father’s example in choosing his professional specialization. Beginning in 1840, he held various clinical appointments in Paris and published regularly in the periodicals of the Société anatomique (Balteau et al., IX, p. 25; Berthelot, XI, p. 705b; Haberling et al., II, p. 53). In 1846 he submitted a formal thesis (De l’hématocèle vaginale) and was awarded the degree of doctor of medicine (Haberling et al., II, p. 53). In the same year he was attached to the French mission in Tehran; in the capacity of French minister he was to serve as the shah’s physician-in-ordinary, a position previously held by another Frenchmen, a certain Dr. Labat, and eagerly sought after by the rival European powers that were competing for influence in Persia (Elgood, p. 498). Cloquet’s service to Moḥammad Shah, which included regular attendance during the shah’s last illness, won him a solid professional reputation that he succeeded in maintaining even after the shah’s death (Ādamīyat, p. 556; Elgood, p. 498). Shortly after Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah’s accession, while his first vizier, Mīrzā Taqī Khan, was still in power, Cloquet was confirmed in his functions and also enlisted as an instructor in the newly founded polytechnic college, the Dār al-fonūn (Ādamīyat, p. 360; Elgood, p. 500). Privately Mīrzā Taqī Khan also availed himself of his services (Ādamīyat, pp. 48, 653). In 1268/1852, after the followers of the Bāb made an attempt on the shah’s life, Cloquet treated him and extracted a bullet from one of his wounds (Elgood, p. 504). In the resulting roundup and killing of Babis, when high court officials were invited to show their loyalty by personally participating in the carnage, Cloquet refused to act in violation of the Hippocratic oath (Elgood, p. 506).
During his years in Persia Cloquet concentrated his scholarly activity on cholera, of which he witnessed two epidemic outbreaks, in 1262/1846 and 1269/1853, and on observations on the climate and general sanitary conditions of the country (contained in his reports to the Académie de médecine, of which he was a corresponding member; Berthelot, XI, p. 705b; Haberling et al., II, p. 53). Cloquet’s contribution to French diplomacy in Persia eventually earned him an officer’s cross of the Légion d’honneur (Nouveau Larousse III, p. 67b; Balteau, IX, p. 25). In 1855 his native assistant erroneously poured him a glass of tincture of cantharides (Spanish fly) instead of brandy; upon the realization of what had happened, Cloquet downed a second glass in order to shorten his suffering.
F. Ādamīyat, Amīr-e Kabīr wa Īrān, 3rd ed., Tehran, 1341 Š./1962.
J. Balteau et. al., eds., Dictionnaire de biographie française IX, Paris, 1961.
Bāmdād, Rejāl III, pp. 193, 262; IV, p. 287.
M. Berthelot et al., eds., La grande encyclopédie, Paris, [1885-1901].
C. Elgood, A Medical History of Persia and the Eastern Caliphate, Cambridge, 1951.
Grand dictionnaire encyclopédique Larousse III, Paris, 1982, p. 2320c.
W. Haberling et al., eds., Biographisches Lexikon der hervorragenden Ärzte aller Zeiten and Völker II, Berlin and Vienna, 1930, p. 53 (refs.). Nouveau Larousse illustré III, Paris, 1900.
Originally Published: December 15, 1992
Last Updated: October 21, 2011
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