Dis artzatt buch gross pratica

practicaManuscript written in Germany, in the vernacular, 1489.

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Written in bold, very legible cursive, in red and black, rubricated; some initials in blue. First initial letter is colored in red and green. Bound in vellum. Ff. 218. Paper, 20 X 15 cm.

The author or scribe has named himself on the verso of leaf 66 as Bernhardus Dieterich, whose identity has not been established. In the opening paragraph he ascribes his work to Galen, stating that "Averrois Constantinus" translated it into Arabic, and "Tholomeus" into Latin. The former was probably actually Constantinus Africanus, the first great translator from Arabic to Latin, not from Greek into Arabic; the latter, probably Bartholomeus Salernitanus who wrote a "Pratica" in the first part of the twelfth century.

 

This manuscript is a physician's guide to general medicine and surgery, and an early specimen of a work of that kind written in the vernacular. The first part (66 folios) contains general medicine, with sections on uroscopy, bloodletting, and then diseases of the human body from head to food and their treatments. The next part of the book concerns surgery, containing numerous recipes for all kinds of salves, plasters and drinks for various kinds of wounds, as well as for the eyes, ears, nose, phthisis, and female conditions. Also included are recipes for the preparation of colors, some of them to be used for writing purposes and dyeing. The volume closes with a section on the diseases of horses and their treatment. An additional leaf bound in at the end has some recipes for ointments, etc., written in a different, somewhat later hand.