Greek medical treatises

Description

This manuscript is a typical example of a medical miscellany. It consists of a range of treatises on physiology and prognosis from authors, such as Hippocrates and Palladius, as well as texts by philosophers such as Aristotle and Alexander of Aphrodisias.

Most of the medical works discuss how to diagnose a disease and forecast its outcome by taking the patient’s pulse or examining the appearance of their urine. With its focus on health and disease, the texts in this manuscript would have appealed to a medical student or practicing physician.

The manuscript was created in the 2nd half of the 15th century by several scribes, one of whom (Ioannes) signed his name on the final leaf.

The fore-edges are decorated in a manner known as the ‘Cretan style’. This could indicate an origin on the island of Crete, though Cretan scribes also travelled widely. In later centuries it made its way to the Jesuit College in Agen (France), and ultimately to the Harley Collection, which forms one of the foundation collections of the British Library.

Full title:
Greek medical treatises
Published:
2nd half of the 15th century
Created:
2nd half of the 15th century
Format:
Manuscript
Creator:
Hippocrates (author), Palladius (author) , Aristotle (author), Alexander of Aphrodisias (author) , Ioannes (scribe)
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Harley MS 6295

Full catalogue details

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Article by:
Aileen Das
Themes:
The Greek World, Scholarship

Ancient Greek philosophy and medical writing were extremely influential on later thought, both in the West and in the East. Aileen Das traces some of the strands of this remarkable journey, from Greek to Syriac, Arabic, and Latin.