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Medieval Medical Recipes : Alexander of Tralles, Practica, and other medical texts

Medieval Medical Recipes

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Most of this 13th-century manuscript comprises a copy of the Latin translation of the Greek medical text, <i>Theraupetica</i>, which was written by Alexander of Tralles perhaps around the second quarter or middle of the 6th century. The identity of the translator or translators is not known, nor the period in which it was produced, though it must have been before the turn of the 8th-9th century, the date of the earliest surviving manuscript copy (now <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>Paris, Bibliotheque nationale de France, MS lat. 9332</a>). It has been suggested that the translation was made shortly after the composition of the Greek original, in Ravenna or Rome, which were important centres in the production of medical literature. As D.R. Langslow (2006) has pointed out, firmer conclusions could be drawn if it were possible to establish 'close linguistic links' between the Latin version of the <i>Theraupetica</i> and the Latin translation of Oribasius's medical works, which is now widely accepted to have been produced in Ravenna - but further work remains to be done.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Alexander's medical analysis and advice is organised according to human body, in head-to-toe order. The Latin text is divided into three sections, dealing first with ailments of the head, from hair-loss to issues with the face and teeth, then problems of the lungs, coughing and diseases of the liver and gout, and finally fevers in general. The two versions are broadly similar and of similar length overall, however there are some differences between the Greek original and the Latin translation, arising from both the addition of new material and the omission of some parts of the Greek text. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Tuija Ainonen<br /> Project Cataloguer<br /> Cambridge University Library</p>

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