[MEDICINE]. Miscellaneous volume of medical treatises and notes from Provence. MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER
[Ottoman Empire, 15th century]
Large 4o (290 x 200 mm). 297 leaves (imperfect, see contents). Brown ink. Byzantine semi-cursive script. With marginal annotations. (Many leaves with damaged corners and edges, occasional loss of some text, many repaired, the first and last leaves inlaid and restored to size, final fol. 291 torn with loss of text, dampstaining causing considerable fading, usually not affecting legibilty, other minor defects.) Modern blind and gold-tooled brown morocco, three modern and two older paper flyleaves at back and front.
I. Fols. 1r-13v: Treatise on the plague. Incomplete at the beginning, lacking all up to the end of chapter three. The author was a contemporary of Johannes of Tournemire (d. ca. 1390-96). He cites Moses ben Maimon's Pirkei Moshe (f. 10r). At the end he added an appendix in which he described his personal experiences treating victims of the plague, candidly admitting that those patients who followed his advice died and those who ignored it survived. Apparently a unique copy of this work.
II. Fols. 13v-149v; fols. 189v-191v; fols. 198v-201v: Medical treatise by Judah ben Solomon Nathan, called Bongodas (Provence, 14th century, physician and translator from Arabic and Latin). The copyist erred in numbering the chapters. The end of the treatise is on fol. 149v, but a comparison of this manuscript with the two other surviving copies (MSS Oxford 2129 and 2135 in Neubauer's catalogue) shows that additional parts were copied on fols. 189v-191v and fols. 198v-201v. Some of the other medical notes in this manuscript may belong to this treatise. At the end of fol. 149v there is a short poem on physicians.
III. Fols. 149v-155v: Medical extracts. On fol. 150r a note on the treatment of a woman in Tarascon (Provence) by the physiciam Guillaume Drogue (cf. M. Steinschneider, Die hebrischen bersetzungen des Mittelalters und die Juden als Dolmetscher [Berlin 1893] p. 799). Includes tables for medical astrology (fol. 150v), some notes on bloodletting attributed to Galen (fols. 151v-155v), and a note on the effects of the seasons on illnesses, attributed to the early Jewish physician, Asaf.
IV. Fols. 155v-173r; fols. 245v-297v: Anonymous translation of parts of the medical treatise Almansuri of Abu Bekhr Mohammed ben Zakharia Razi (Arabic physician, early 10th century). The only other Hebrew translation of this work, by Shem Tov ben Isaac, was made from the Latin version. This seems to be the only such translation made from the original Arabic and this manuscript seems to be the only extant copy. The selections from Almansuri in this manuscript are copied out of order and it is possible that some of the other medical extracts in this manuscript are from this work. The scribe, who obviously did not understand Arabic, made many mistakes when copying Arabic terms. For instance, at the beginning, he wrote the author's name as Abu Safar instead of Abu Bekhr; Neubauer copied this mistake in his catalogue without commenting on it.
V. Fols. 173r-175v: Ha-Ma'amar be-Hanhagat ha-Beri'ut (treatise on hygiene). At the end an epigram in Latin in Hebrew characters.
VI. Fols. 175v-189v; fols. 191v-198v: Extracts on medicine. Includes remedies for various ailments and illnesses, hygienic practices, recipes and verses on medicine and physicians. It is possible that some were extracted from the works of Razi or Judah Nathan.
VII. Fols. 201v-206v: Medical recipes for ailments from the head to the foot.
VIII. Fols. 206v-214r: Aleh Ra'anan. Medical treatise on fevers by Abraham ben David Caslari, composed in Provence in 1325. Extant in eight or nine other manuscripts.
IX. Fols. 214r-220r: Medical recipes for different illnesses.
X. Fols. 220r-221r: Short treatise on medical astrology, in particular on the link between the fate of the sick patient and the lunar cycle.
XI. Fols. 221v-228r: Pharmaceutical tables.
XII. Fols. 228v-234r: Treatise on animals. The beginning of the treatise was already missing in the manuscript from which it was copied. The present copy begins in the middle of a sentence in chapter three and extends to the end of chapter six.
XIII. Fols. 234v-245r: Medical recipes.
None of the treatises in this manuscript have ever been published. Parts of treatises by Judah ben Solomon Nathan and Abu Bekhr Mohammed ben Zakhariah Razi are copied out of order throughout the manuscript.
REFERENCES: Neubauer, no. 140, p. 42-45, with incipits; Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts, Jerusalem, F 4801.