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Hippocrates Medicates a Patient, in 'De regimine acutorum', from a Medical Textbook

Hippocrates Medicates a Patient, in 'De regimine acutorum', from a Medical Textbook

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1250

Shelfmark: Harley MS 3140

Item number: f.39r

Length: 31.7

Width: 21.1

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Medieval knowledge of medicine came almost exclusively from Arabic sources, much of which was based on ancient Greek medical treatises. With increasing Western European contact with the East Mediterranean during the Crusades in the 11th and 12th centuries and the flourishing of Jewish scholarship of in the Arabic culture of Spain, these treatises were translated into Latin. By the 11th century, the top medical schools were at Salerno and Montpellier. The study of medicine gradually spread through western Europe in the new universities as well as monasteries. The Benedictine order was especially important in their activities in providing medical care and copying manuscripts of medical treatises, such as this compilation, from Malmesbury abbey. This page is from a treatise on medication ('De regimine acutorum') which was believed to have been written by the ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, but it really belongs to a group of treatises dating from the 6th to 4th centuries BCE which were expanded over the centuries. It is identified by the title written in red, and it begins with a historiated initial (first letter bearing a picture) of Hippocrates giving medicine to a patient who lies on his sick-bed.

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