24 June 2009
[AVICENNA], Curatio ulcerum virulentium... etc, in Latin, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM [Italy, 13/14th century]
Approx. 180 x 140mm overall. Two bifolia with 33 lines written in black ink in a gothic bookhand, justification: 140 x 105mm, rubrics in red, two-line initials in red flourished blue, recovered from a binding (wormholes affecting seven lines of text, a few stains to margins).
This section from a medical treatise covers the treatment of different forms of ulcer: their nature and the composition, qualities and mode of application of the best remedies.
It seems likely to be drawn from Avicenna's, Canon of medicine, 'one of the most important contributions of Arabic medicine to European medical education', N.G. Siraisi, Medicine and the Italian Universities 1250-1600, 2001, pp.63-78. The widespread and continued influence of the Canon resulted from its diversity and the pragmatism with which it could be used: it was a practical as well as theoretical resource. Such practicality is evident in the present leaves: not only in its content -- providing recipes for medicines, 'emplastum bonum', and other treatments -- but in the varied annotations, including two lines of Hebrew, that attest to its continued use.
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