Monday, 10 October 2011

Book of the Week (10th October 2011)

MS. Q. 40, GARIOPONTUS’S Passionarus Galeni

Gariopontus was an eleventh-century physician and medical writer from Salerno.  He based his most famous work, the Passionarus Galeni, on the writings of the Greek physicians Hippocrates and Galen, and the Roman Caelius Aurelianus.

The Worcester copy was written in the twelfth century in either Spain or the south of France.  It is not known exactly how it came to England.  One theory is that it belonged to Richard the Lionheart's physician, who brought it back after the Third Crusade.  Unfortunately, although it makes for a great story, it cannot be substantiated.

The manuscript itself is a user-friendly reference guide, containing descriptions of diseases and their various remedies.  It is divided into books, each arranged from head down to foot.  This picture shows the contents page of Book VI, which includes sections on headaches, breathing and bladder problems.

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