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Western Medieval Manuscripts : Medical treatises

Western Medieval Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This composite manuscript of three parts contains medical treatises and recipes in Latin and Middle English, including excerpts from the <i>Liber de Sinthomatibus Mulierum</i> that was part of an ensemble of texts that was known under the title <i>Trotula</i>.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The manuscript also contains magical texts. The most significant text among these is the <i>Liber de angelis annulis karectibus et ymaginibus planetum</i> (Book of Angels, Rings, Characters, and Images of the Planets), which provides detailed instructions for conjuring angels. The manuscript also features a number of added instructions with angelic characters, charms, and an elaborate necromantic instruction for a ritual aimed at raising the soul of a deceased person.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The necromantic instruction has been transcribed by M.R. James, who used it as the basis for his publication <i>The Experiment: A New Year's Ghost Story</i> in 1931. Although James's transcription is accurate overall, he has misidentified the name of one of the spirits on whose permission the ritual's success relies. The spirit whose name James transcribes as 'Raffaell', presumably the Archangel Raphael, in fact is called 'Assaell', referring to the fallen angel Azazel. With this correction it has been possible to identify the necromantic instruction as a copy of a work that circulated widely in magical manuscripts in late medieval and early modern England.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Clarck Drieshen<br /> Project Cataloguer<br /> Cambridge University Library</p>

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