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Medieval Medical Recipes : Medical recipes

Medieval Medical Recipes

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This manuscript presents a vast collection of medical recipes and treatments, translated into Middle English from the <i>Liber medicinalium</i> and the <i>Practica</i> of the <i>Fistula in ano</i> of the English physician and surgeon John Arderne (b. 1307-d. c. 1377). This manuscript contains the earliest and longest translation of Arderne's works, which only survives in this manuscript, dated to the first half of the 15th century, and <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>London, British Library, Sloane MS 776</a>, datable to 1532. The texts and decorations in this manuscript are very close to a Latin version in a manuscript that probably dates to the late 14th century, now <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>London, British Library, Sloane MS 56</a> (see: Voigts and McVaugh (1984), pp. 26-28, and Jones (1989), p. 71). Like many other copies of Arderne's medical works, this manuscript contains a full decorative programme consisting of marginal, in-text, and full-page drawings that illustrate medical ailments, treatments, instruments, and ingredients.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Arderne practised medicine in Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, from 1349 to 1370 and in London in the 1370s. He is renowned for developing a new surgical treatment for anal fistulas. The latter ailment resulted from abcesses caused by long horseback rides and were often experienced by knights. Most surgeons considered anal fistulas untreatable but Arderne, who combined different pre-existing treatments, claimed a fifty percent survival rate in his patients. (for further details about Arderne's life and works, see, for example, Jones (1994), pp. 294-300 [without this manuscript]).</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Throughout this manuscript, Arderne repeatedly refers to his own medical practices and experiences, highlighting the success of his treatments in curing patients. For other treatments, he provides testimonies from other unnamed medical practitioners, especially those with aristocractic and royal patients. Examples of the English patients that Arderne refers to are: <div>"Sir leonell þe kinges sone of Ingelonde weddyd þe dowghter of þe Duke of Melleyne in lumbardye. þere were Englysschmen þat were vexed gretly with þe crampe þorough to moche replecion and drynkynge of stronge wyn and for hete of þe Cuntrie and amonge hem þer was a kynght þat was Sire Reynold sone Grey of Schirlonde by Chesterfelde þe weche was at Melleyne with þe seyd Sir leonell and hadde with hym þis charme folowynge" (f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(29);return false;'>12r</a>)<br />"Also in þe cite of lincolne þer was a man þe weche many yeres was vexed of þe Crampe in his legges" (<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(30);return false;'>12v</a>)<br />"Also at þe Town of Huntyngdoun þer was a man þat hadde þe Crampe" (<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(31);return false;'>13r</a>)<br />"And note þat I þe seyd Mayster John Ardern Cirurgyan som tyme dwellynge in Newerk by lyncolle and afterward at london saw and here þese forseyde wondrys of þis Charme" (<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(32);return false;'>13v</a>)<br />"The noble duke Harry of Lancaster hadde a knyght with hym at Dgezire in Spayn" (f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(36);return false;'>15v</a>)<br />"At Brygeford vppon trent in þe Schyre of Notyngham" (f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(49);return false;'>22r</a>)<br />"þis medecyne Ilouyd moche and þer with I curyd a ffysschmonger at london þe weche was hurt with a scharp poynt of yren standygne vppon lez gemeaws at þe ffrere Carmys" (f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(67);return false;'>31r</a>)<br />"Anoþer man þer was at Notyngham smetyn in þe arm with a knyff" (f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(68);return false;'>31v</a>)<br />"Practica magistri Johannis Arderne de Newerk sirurgici: I þe forseyd John . from þe furste pestilence þe weche was . in þe yere of oure lord. m<sup>l. CCC. xlix</sup> vn to þe yerris of oure lord m<sup>l</sup> lxx I dwellyd at Nywerk in þe Schyre of Notyngham and þere I curyd þus manye of þe ffystule in þe ffundement. Off þe weche þe ffurste was Sir Adam Eueryngham of Laxton in þe Clay fast by Twekysforde þe weche syr Adam was in Gasgoyne with Sir Harry namyd þo Erl of Derby and after he was made worþy Duke of Lancaster [...] After þis curyd iiij. ffreres of þe order of prechours þat is to sey ffrere John wrtyell, John Hakett, ffrere Petir Brone, ffrere Thomas Apperlay and a yong man callyd Thomas Woke" (ff. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(154);return false;'>74v-75v</a>)<br />"Neuerþeles I curyd a preest at Lincoln in þe house of Mayster Gefrey Scroop" (f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(180);return false;'>87v</a>)<br />"Att Northamton I sawgh a man" (f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(206);return false;'>100v</a>)<br />"Also I sawgh a man of Northamptoun schyre" (f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(217);return false;'>106r</a>)<br />"Ther was a man þat cam from Burdewes in to Acquitaine and so to Nywerk" (f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(220);return false;'>107v</a>)<br />"with þis medicine was curyd Kynge Harry of Ingelond of goynge out of þe tywell" (ff. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(302);return false;'>148v-149r</a>)<br />"To a prest of Colston faste by Byngham þere felle a sore in þe ryghte pappe withinne þe skyn" (ff. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(341);return false;'>168r-168v</a>)<br />"Sir Thomas Newmache hadde a sone þat hadde a wenne ryght vppon þe opon of þe heed before as it is in þe oþer syde of þe leeff portreyed" (ff. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(381);return false;'>188r-188v</a>)<br /></div><br /></p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Arderne's medical knowledge was evidently based on existing learned traditions. He often refers to near-contemporary physicians such as Bernard de Gordon (e.g. "Secundum doctrinam Bernardi de Gordon" on f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(85);return false;'>40r</a>; and "An extract of emorowdys after myster Bernard of Gordon" on f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(262);return false;'>128v</a>), Guy de Chauliac ("Secundum Magistrum Gwydonem", f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(120);return false;'>57v</a>) and Lanfranc of Milan ("Sirurerye of Launfrankes" on f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(357);return false;'>176r</a>). He was also influenced by popular beliefs in the power of magic. The collection here contains various supernatural cures, including two charms for staunching a bloody nose using an amulet with characters and a hazel branch (ff. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(12);return false;'>3v-4r</a>), an amulet against the cramp (f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(29);return false;'>12r-13v</a>), an amulet for a woman in childbirth (f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(43);return false;'>19r</a>), and two charms against fevers involving texts written on the patient's hand and Eucharistic wafers (ff. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(322);return false;'>158v</a>).</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Clarck Drieshen<br /> Project Cataloguer<br /> Cambridge University Library</p>

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