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Medieval Medical Recipes : Medical Texts

Medieval Medical Recipes

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This manuscript is a composite volume, comprised of several smaller Parts, and one larger Part, a late-13th or early-14th century copy of Lanfranc of Milan's <i>Chirurgia maior</i> which occupies roughly three quarters of the volume (pp. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(119);return false;'>111-444</a>). The other texts in the volume all concern medicine and the care of the sick, and include the <i>Practica medicinae</i> and the <i>Regula urinarum</i> of Bartholomaeus Salernitatus, the <i>Practica breuis</i> attributed to (?Iohannes) Platearius, and copies of several letters and grants by various bishops of Durham and popes all relating to the foundation and management of hospitals in and around Durham in north-eastern England. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>There are several pieces of evidence that indicate that the copy of the <i>Chirurgia maior</i> was once a discrete item before it joined the other Parts at a later stage in its existence. In the first place, these leaves have their own separate foliation in red ink, beginning with '.fo.<sup>m</sup> p.<sup>m</sup> ('folium primum', i.e., 'first leaf') on p. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(119);return false;'>111</a>, and continuing all the way to what is now p. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(455);return false;'>445</a> which is marked 'fo. 168'. In addition, the quires in this Part have their own discrete signature sequence in ink on the first recto of each quire, beginning with quire 'a' on p. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(119);return false;'>111</a> and continuing through to quire 'Q' on p. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(441);return false;'>431</a>.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>At an unknown time, but certainly before 1477, the copy of the <i>Chirurgia maior</i> was bound with two other medical texts of different origin: a 13th-century copy of the <i>Practica medicinae</i> and a 14th-century copy of the <i>Practica breuis</i>. These two additional texts are recorded in order with the <i>Chirurgia maior</i> in a table of contents written on p. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(8);return false;'>ii</a> by the manuscript's one-time owner, Roger Marchall, who died in that year (see below for further discussion of Marchall's possession of the book). This practice of compiling a single volume from multiple (not necessarily complete) sources, and the addition of tables of contents by his hand, is often seen in other manuscripts known to have been owned by Marchall.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>While the text of the <i>Chirurgia maior</i> is complete, these other texts were at one time acephalous and/or atelous; again, this is not uncommon among Marchall's books. These deficiences were repaired by a 'correcting scribe'. The most likely explanation is that the scribe worked at the direction of Marchall, or before his acquisition of the volume, making good these imperfect texts by copying from other exemplars, and was therefore working before 1477 at the latest. For example, the scribe supplied the missing end to the <i>Practica medicinae</i> of Bartholomew of Salerno, the original Part of which is just eight leaves (pp. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(9);return false;'>1-16</a>) and breaks off mid-sentence. He prepared new quires and continued the text on p. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(25);return false;'>17</a> exactly where the text on p. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(24);return false;'>16</a> ended imperfectly. In the case of the deficient copy of the <i>Practica breuis</i>, the scribe added the beginning of the text to p. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(59);return false;'>51</a> (puzzlingly, the older part of the text begins on p. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(60);return false;'>52</a>, the verso of that leaf, and the recto side bears no obvious signs of having been scraped clean or washed). Since his text overlapped slightly with what followed on p. 52, the superfluous text on that leaf has been struck through so that the supplied text runs smoothly into what follows. He also prepared another quire to supply the missing sections at the end of this text (pp. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(95);return false;'>87-90</a>). Besides rectifying such deficiencies, the scribe clearly also paid close attention to the contents of the texts themselves, making a number of alterations to the <i>Practica breuis</i>, both in the margins and by scraping away parts of the main text and rewriting them.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The scribe also supplemented the contents of the volume with the addition of short texts to each of these sections, using spare leaves at the ends of quires he had inserted to accommodate the missing sections of the texts mentioned above. After the <i>Practica medicinae</i> of Bartholomew of Salerno, he added another, short text by the same author, the <i>Regula urinarum</i> (pp. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(51);return false;'>43-44</a>) and, similarly, after the <i>Practica breuis</i>, he added a small collection of medical recipes in Latin and Middle English. He also added extracts from the <i>Chirurgia parua</i> - a text often attributed to Lanfranc of Milan - to the last leaf of the last quire of the Part containing Lanfranc's <i>Chirurgia maior</i>. (It should be noted that none of these additions is noted in Marchall's table of contents, raising the possibility that they post-dated Marchall's ownership of the book or at least the insertion of the table of contents - but if so, the scribe's style of handwriting suggests that it must have been close in time).</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The 'correcting scribe' makes a final appearance on the last leaf of this volume (now pp. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(455);return false;'>445-446</a> of this volume). The copyist of the <i>Chirurgia maior</i> (pp. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(119);return false;'>111-443</a>) also copied a series of extracts from a text described in the manuscript as 'extracte de paruo compendio' - i.e., the <i>Chirurgia parua</i>, an epitome-text on surgery often also attributed to Lanfranc of Milan - onto p. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(454);return false;'>444</a>. On the following leaf, the 'correcting scribe' added further extracts from the <i>Chirurgia parua</i>, closing his additions with a final rubric (now badly rubbed) '<i>Hec <i class='supplied' style='font-style:normal;' title='This text supplied by transcriber'>extracta</i> sunt de paruo compendio lamfranci ad eiusdem <i class='error' style='font-style:normal;' title='This text in error in source'>mamdatum</i><i class='delim' style='font-style:normal; color:red'>(!)</i></i>', which explicitly ties their work to the excerpt-text that began on p. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(454);return false;'>444</a>. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The only Part of the manuscript not to be emended by the 'correcting scribe' is Quire 8 (pp. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(107);return false;'>99-110</a>), which contains copies of documents relating to the foundation and upkeep of hospitals around the city of Durham in north-east England. This quire sits between the <i>Practica breuis</i> and the <i>Chirurgia maior</i> in the volume's current order. However, this cannot be a post-medieval addition to the volume, since, like all of the other quires in the volume besides Quire 1, it too contains a signature written by a medieval hand on the verso of its last leaf (these signatures run consecutively throughout the volume from 'i' to 'xxiii' (pp. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(26);return false;'>18</a><i>seq</i>). Taken together, the interventions of the 'correcting scribe' and the Roman numeral quire signatures indicate that the current arrangement of the volume has been stable since the later middle ages.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Complications arise, however, due to the volume's association with Roger Marchall (c. 1417-1477), a doctor and physician to Edward IV who may have written his name on p. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(8);return false;'>ii</a>, although the inscription has since been erased. Marchall's ownership or use of manuscripts is very well-attested, with forty-four surviving books (including this one) bearing evidence to connect him to them in some way; six others may have been his or accessed by him, and a further twelve are recorded but not traced. Linda Voigts has also identified an intriguing possibility that this volume might once have in whole or in part belonged to Peterhouse before becoming part of the Gonville and Caius library collection. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>For her article on Marchall's manuscripts, Voigts examined the <i>Registrum Vetus</i> of Peterhouse, essentially a living catalogue of the Peterhouse library holdings in the 15th century that was begun in 1418 (for printed versions, see M.R. James's <i>Catalogue</i> of the Peterhouse manuscripts and vol. 10 of the Corpus of British Medieval Library Catalogues, where it is UC.48). The <i>Registrum Vetus</i> includes what is essentially a cartulary copy made by a Mr Roukeshawe (fellow of Peterhouse from c. 1450 until his death in 1504, and also served as bursar) of a receipt originally written in Marchall's hand of a list of donations to the College library ('Billa magistri Rogeri Marshall de dono suo scripta propria manu sua anno domini 1472' / 'Magister Roger Marchall's list of his donation written by his own hand in the year of the Lord 1472'). The eighth item on the donation list as described by Marchall is a 'Cirurgia <i class='error' style='font-style:normal;' title='This text in error in source'>lamfranci</i><i class='delim' style='font-style:normal; color:red'>(!)</i>'. Voigts noticed that the present manuscript has a Marchall table of contents, and a heading to the <i>Chirurgia maior</i> in Marchall's hand on p. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(119);return false;'>111</a>: 'contains [a] <i>Cirurgia Lanfranci</i> as text 3, a physically separable section (pp. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(119);return false;'>111-443</a> of a 445-page manuscript) with RM title'. The suggestion, then, is that what is now Gonville and Caius MS 159/209, or perhaps just the leaves pp. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(119);return false;'>111-443</a> are a plausible candidate for identification with the item described by Marchall in his 1472 list of donations to Peterhouse. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>It is no great obstacle that the description 'Cirurgia <i class='error' style='font-style:normal;' title='This text in error in source'>lamfranci</i><i class='delim' style='font-style:normal; color:red'>(!)</i>' should signify the medieval entirety of what is now Gonville and Caius MS 159/209: the <i>Chirurgia maior</i> is approximately three-quarters of the extant volume and so referring to the volume by its most substantial text may have been sufficient means of identification. Other items in the Peterhouse donation list are described by one text when their codices in fact contain several. In addition, there is no evidence that all twelve of the items descibed on Marchall's 1472 list of donations to the Peterhouse library actually entered the library or that they remained there permanently, despite his encouragement for the books to be stored 'in vinculis' (in chains). According to Voigts, of the twelve books listed by Marchall for donation to the library, three can be identified with certainty among the Peterhouse collection, six have plausible identifications among the Peterhouse collection either in the current holdings or former library catalogues, and three cannot be identified in the current holdings or any previous library catalogues, including one manuscript on the Peterhouse list, 'Tabule Philippi Aubyn', which Voigts notes was seen by John Leland (d. 1552) at Gonville Hall and has since (probably) been lost.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>It is unclear, then, when or by what means this manuscript came to Gonville and Caius, except that it must have arrived by 1600, when it is recorded as no. 120 in the <i>Ecloga Oxonio-Cantabrigiensis</i> by Thomas James (1600). Gonville and Caius College possesses 17 (perhaps 18) other manuscripts owned by Marchall that he seems to have given to the College before his death in 1477, so it is possible then that the volume entered the Gonville and Caius Library before 1477, rather than c. 1477-1600. If the 'Cirurgia <i class='error' style='font-style:normal;' title='This text in error in source'>lamfranci</i><i class='delim' style='font-style:normal; color:red'>(!)</i>' of the donation list is the same as pp. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(119);return false;'>111-443</a> of this volume then it must have been redirected between 1472, when Marchall made the list of his donation to Peterhouse, and his death in 1477.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Thirteen manuscripts owned or used by Marchall (plus another that contains an inscription in a hand very similar to Marchall's) are being digitised, catalogued and conserved as part of the <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''><i>Curious Cures in Cambridge Libraries</i></a> project: <div>Gonville and Caius College, MS 59/153 (Voigts 1995, no. 2) <br /><a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>Gonville and Caius College, MS 98/50</a> (Voigts 1995, no. 4)<br /><a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>Gonville and Caius College, MS 105/57</a> (Voigts 1995, no. 5)<br />Gonville and Caius College, MS 159/209 (Voigts 1995, no. 9)<br /><a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>Gonville and Caius College, MS 178/211</a> (Voigts 1995, no. 10)<br />Gonville and Caius College, MS 181/214 (Voigts 1995, no. 11)<br />Gonville and Caius College, MS 345/260 (Voigts 1995, no. 12)<br />Gonville and Caius College, MS 373/593 (Voigts 1995, no. 13)<br /><a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>Gonville and Caius College, MS 379/599</a> (Voigts 1995, no. 14)<br />Gonville and Caius College, MS 401/623 (Voigts 1995, no. 16)<br />Peterhouse, MS 95 (Voigts 1995, no. 24)<br />Peterhouse, MS 222 (Voigts 1995, no. 28)<br /><a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>Trinity College, MS O.8.31</a> (Voigts 1995, no. 29)<br />Cambridge, University Library, MS Add. 9213 (possibly linked to Marchall) (Voigts 1995, no. 48)<br /></div><br /><b>References</b><div style='list-style-type: disc;'><div style='display: list-item; margin-left: 20px;'>See L. Voigts, 'A doctor and his books: the manuscripts of Roger Marchall (d. 1477)', in R. Beadle and A. J. Piper (eds.), <i>New science out of old books: studies in manuscripts and early printed books in honour of A.I. Doyle</i> (Aldershot, 1995) pp. 249-314</div><div style='display: list-item; margin-left: 20px;'>M. R. James, <i>A descriptive catalogue of the manuscripts in the library of Gonville and Caius College</i>, vol. 1 (Cambridge, 1907)</div><div style='display: list-item; margin-left: 20px;'>CBMLC 10, UC.48</div></div><br /></p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Sarah Gilbert<br /> Project Cataloguer<br /> Cambridge University Library</p>

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