Constantine the African, De Melancholia

Description

A treatise on melancholy by Constantine the African (d. 1098) is inserted into a collection of popular historical and philosophical texts in this English compilation. In the 12th century, previously unknown medical works containing new knowledge were translated and brought to Europe from the Arab world.  The earliest evidence of this trend is witnessed in the works of Constantine, a monk at the abbey of Monte Cassino in Southern Italy, who appears to have brought medical texts from his native northern Africa and translated them from Arabic into Latin. 

This volume, copied at the Augustinian priory of Kirkham, Yorkshire in the mid-12th century, also contains a copy of Orosius, Historia adversus paganos, a Christian history of the world.

This manuscript was digitised with the support of The Polonsky Foundation.

Full title:
Constantine the African, De Melancholia
Created:
3rd quarter of the 12th century, Kirkham
Format:
Manuscript
Language:
Latin
Creator:
Constantine the African
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Burney MS 216

Full catalogue details

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Article by:
Taylor McCall
Themes:
Science and nature, History and learning

Understanding of the human body and the treatment of illness in the Middle Ages derived from the works of classical authors as well as contemporary scholars. Taylor McCall examines popular medical texts and their circulation before 1200.