London. British Library, Sloane MS 2839

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The British Library, Polonsky Pre-1200 Project
London. British Library
  • British Library, Sloane MS 2839
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  • Latin
  • Anglo-Norman
  • Liber cirurgium cauterium; medical recipes; Epistola Peri Hereseon; Tereoperica
  • This 11th-century manuscript contains a collection of didactical texts on practical and theoretical medicine. The format of this volume suggests that it was used as a medical textbook. It includes an illustrated account on cautery points, which was one of the principal medieval treatments, and an anonymous medical compilation, known as the Tereoperica ( Therapeutics ) . The compiler of the Tereoperica has relied on various sources. These include scholastic texts from Late Antiquity that were used for education at the school of medicine at Ravenna and passed down through Carolingian sources. The compiler, for example, has included materials from De Medicina (On Medicine) by Cassius Felix (fl. 447), the Etymologiae (Etymologies) of Isidore of Seville (b. c. 560, d. 636), and the lectures of Agnellus of Ravenna (fl. after 550-before 751) concerning De Sectis (On Schools of Medicine) by Galen (b. 129, d. c. 200). The Tereoperica circulated on the Continent since the 9th century (for a 12th-century copy from France, see Harley MS 4977, ff. 1r-72v). It was disseminated in England in the 11th century, where it was partially translated and adapted into Old English. The only extant copy of this translation, known as Peri Didaxeon (Concerning the Schools of Medicine), can be found in 12th-century manuscript Harley MS 6258B, ff. 51v-66v. The Latin copy of the Tereoperica in Sloane MS 2839 may have been written in England as well, as is suggested by the Anglo-Norman recipes added to f. 78v and f. 112v. Contents: ff. 1v-3r: Anonymous, Liber cirurgium cauterium Appollonii et Galieni de artis medicine (The Book of Cautery Surgery of Appollonius and Galen, on the Art of Medicine), including six cautery illustrations with descriptive inscriptions sometimes partially erased : [ Ad dolorem capitis et inflamacionem ] pectoris et minibus et tor [ tiones geniculo ] rum et ped [ um incend ] itur sic (f. 1v); incenditur ad interocellicos (f. 2r); ad splene (sic) incenditur (f. 2v) , ad elefanticos incenditur sic and ad renum et coxarum dolores incenditur sic (f. 3r). ff. 3v-4v: Added medical recipes written by various late 12th-century hands, beginning: 'Nota quod aqua catapucie bibita provocat vomitum'; ending: 'ad guttem ubicumque fuerit'. They are followed by a 13th-century incantation. ff. 5v-6v: A list of contents of the Tereoperica . ff. 8r-110v: Anonymous, Tereoperica : a collection of medical treatises on various aspects of medicine. The treatise opens with the anonymous Epistola Peri Hereseon ( ff. 7r-8r),a dialogue between a master and a student on medical theory and practice, beginning: 'Post diluvium per annos mille quingentos latuit medicina usque in tempus Artaxersis regis Persarum'; the letter is followed by medical recipes for diseases of the whole body (ff. 8r-70r), beginning: 'Capillorum defluxion contigit ex debilitate corporis'; the anonymous Epistula Ypocratis de quattuor humoribus (Letter of Hippocrates on the Four Humours) (ff. 70r-71v), beginning: 'Epistola Ypocratis et Galieni contemplantes quattuor esse humores in corpore humano'; a series of remedies for various ailments, disorders, injuries, with their symptoms (ff. 71v-87r), beginning: 'De subita inflatione. Reumatismus dicitur reumatici humoris'; Pseudo-Galen, Epistula de Febribus (Epistle on Fevers) (ff. 87r-87v), beginning: 'Galienus auctor veritatis dixit quod febres sicut sunt diversi generis'; short texts for diagnosing and healing different type of fevers (ff. 87v-91v); short texts for diagnosing and healing various diseases (ff. 91v-106r); anonymous, Disputatio Platonis et Aristotelis (Discussion of Plato and Aristotle) (ff. 106r-106v, f. 110r), a treatise related to the location of the soul and the humours, beginning: 'Epistola conflictus duorum philosophorum Platon et Aristotelis'; short texts on bloodletting referring to the Egyptian days, the dies caniculares ( dog days ) and the lunar phases for bloodletting, embedded in the Disputatio Platonis et Aristotelis, including a dietary calendar (ff. 108r-108v, f. 109v), (ff. 107r-110r); short texts related to phlebotomy (ff. 110r-111v), describing the location of veins used for bloodletting and when bloodletting should be performed, beginning: 'Sunt venae tres'; Pseudo-Hippocrates, Epistula ad Antiochum Regem, (Epistle to the King of Antioch) (ff. 111v-112v), related to the division of the body and providing a diet according to the four seasons, beginning: 'Convenit te regum peritissimum esse et longam aetatem producere'. Decoration:Four full-page drawings in brown ink with washes of green, brown and red, of cautery figures (ff. 1v-3r): a surgeon heating cautery irons and a naked man with cautery points (f. 1v); two naked men with cautery points marked (f. 2r); a surgeon with cautery iron and a bowl, a naked patient with cautery points (f. 2v); two naked patients with cautery points (f. 3r). Large and small initials in brown, red, or green, some with highlighting in green. Highlighting of letters in green.
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