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Rosa Anglica

Rosa Anglica

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1450

Shelfmark: Sloane MS 280

Item number: f.9r

Length: 23.3

Width: 15.6

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Manuscript

Containing a famous medical treatise and four tracts on urine (a key to medieval medical diagnosis and treatment), this manuscript was owned by All Souls College, in Oxford, which by the 15th century had become a leading centre of medical studies in Europe. The medical treatise, 'Rosa Anglica, or Practical Medicine From Head to Foot', which was written between 1304 and 1317, was the first English textbook of medicine.

This page has the beginning of the preface of John Gaddesden's 'Rosa Anglica', so called, he says, because 'just as the rose excels among flowers' this book excels among textbooks on practical medicine. One of the most celebrated medical authorities of his day, Gaddesden was a fellow at Merton College, Oxford, and was physician for members of the royal family. He is said to have cured Edward III of small pox by wrapping him in red draperies, working on the 'sympathetic' concept that the colour red will cure inflammation. He was also a theologian, having held posts at Chipping Norton, St Paul's in London, and Chichester. Chaucer knew of him: the 'Doctor of Physik' mentions Gaddesden as one of his models.

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