English collection of medical treatises

Description

Medical compilations in the 12th century tended to be reference volumes, consisting of a variety of important medical treatises bound together. This is a typical English medical collection of the period, containing works by the two renowned Greek physicians, Hippocrates (b. c. 460, d. c. 375 BC) and Galen (b. 129, d. c. 216). It also includes an anonymous treatise on diet and various medical charms and recipes, including a cure for gout.  

The majority of the texts are in Latin but a charm added at the end contains some words in Old English. There are no illustrations, but the beginnings of texts are marked by decorated initials, with elaborate interlace patterns incorporating plant and animal motifs, some with human figures.

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

Full title:
English collection of medical treatises
Created:
1st half of the 12th century, Canterbury or Rochester, England
Format:
Manuscript
Language:
Latin / Old English
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Royal MS 12 E XX

Full catalogue details

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Medical knowledge in the early medieval period

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.