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King's College : Tabula medicine, and an anonymous medical text

King's College

<p style='text-align: justify;'> This composite manuscript contains two parts that were copied in the 15th century. The first part (ff. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(13);return false;'>1:1r-1:145r</a>) contains the so-called <i>Tabula medicine</i>, a Latin handbook of alphabetically arranged medicinal simples that was compiled by English friars between 1411 and 1425 and that may be attributed specifically to the friar William Holme (fl. 1380–1415) (see Jones (1996), p. 154, and Jones (2008)). The collection shows a particular concern for the healthcare of women. For example, it includes an instruction for making an amulet to aid women in giving birth (see f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(242);return false;'>1:93v</a>) that invokes St Celina, the daughter of the Bishop of Soissons, who was known for miraculously giving birth to a son, St Remigius of Rheims, at a significantly advanced age (see Olsan and Jones (2011), p. 114; and Jones and Olsan (2015), p. 424 fn. 46). The second part contains an anonymous medical work that includes lectures by John Cokkys [Cokkes], a clerk and physician of Oxford, who was dead by 1475; on f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(409);return false;'>2:7r</a> the text reads: 'I, John Cokkys, with true charity, offer my secrets, an abundance of first sustenance, to students' ('ego Johannes Cokkis caritate non ficta primi alimenti copiam alumpnis offero archana mei'). One owner of the manuscript appears to have attributed the entire work to Cokkys and wrote his name on the manuscript's fore-edge: 'Io. Cokis' (On Cokkys, see Talbot and Hammond (1965), pp. 134-136; and Getz (1990), p. 265). However, in the cataloguing of this manuscript, the larger part of this medical work has been identified as a copy of the <i>Commentarium super Tabulas Salerni</i> by the twelfth-century author Bernardus Provincialis of Arles (ff. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(413);return false;'>2:9r-2:32r</a>).</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The manuscript features numerous marginal annotations and added leaves with additions to the <i>Tabula medicine</i>, as well as separate texts describing medical observations and treatments copied and devised by the astrologer and medical practitioner Simon Forman (1552–1611) (on Forman, see Kassell (2004) [ODNB entry]). The latter clearly owned the manuscript for several decades: he acquired the manuscript when he was a student in Oxford on 2 February 1574 (see Edmond (1977), 44-60 ); he entered his name and date on f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(8);return false;'>[iii] verso</a> but also added: a medical recipe for headache dated 1576 to f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(45);return false;'>1:10d recto</a>; a scribal note on f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(1);return false;'>[2:32c] verso</a> with the date 1576; a medicine for coughs and congestion on f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(375);return false;'>1:146a recto</a> dated to 1575; tracts on urine that he signed with the date 1576 on f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(361);return false;'>141c recto</a> ('Quod Simon fforman / .1576 march 31. Saturda[i]'); an astrological chart on f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(394);return false;'>1:146k verso</a> with the date 1579; a medicine for the 'King's Evil' on ff. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(325);return false;'>130b recto-130b verso</a> with accounts dated to 1580 and 1596 and a medical note to the outer margin of f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(190);return false;'>1:71v</a> with the date 13 May 1600.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Forman copied out passages from Andrew Boorde's <i>The breviary of helth</i> (1547) (see e.g.: f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(357);return false;'>1:141a recto-1:141a recto</a>) and Philip Barrough's <i>The methode of physicke</i> (1583) on ff. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(206);return false;'>1:79v-1:80v</a> (for dates and sources in the manuscript, see Traister (2001), pp. 32-39). Forman evidently used the manuscript as a textbook while practising medicine in London. When he was examined for quackery by the Censors of the College of Physcians on 7 November 1595, he boasted to practise medicine by astrology only and stated 'that he had never read any writer in medicine except one of a certain Cockis' (see Kassell (2005), p. 78). Forman, whose work focused on female reproduction, was especially interested in the medicines for women that are described in the aforementioned <i>Tabula medicine</i>; e.g. see his notes on ff. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(204);return false;'>1:78v-1:80v</a> and <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(216);return false;'>1:84v</a> (see Kassell (2005), pp. 160-170).</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>In the cataloguing of this manuscript, an added German fragmentary text (f. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(151);return false;'>1:52c</a>) has been identified as a sixteenth-century copy of the anonymous Middle German alchemical poem <i>Von der alchemischen Kunst</i> [On the Art of Alchemy]. It is possible that this fragment belonged to and was added to the manuscript by Forman. He may have acquired the work or received it from connections established in the late 1560s, when he travelled through the Low Countries and Germany (see Kassell (2005), p. 107]). Forman may have acquired the copy in the 1570s when he developed a strong interest in alchemy and making the Philosopher's Stone as can be witnessed from his notebooks and copies and translations of major alchemical works (see Kassell (2005), pp. 171-225).</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>It is possible that King's College acquired this manuscript through William Ward, regius professor of physic at King's College in c. 1591, with whose support Forman obtained a licence to practice physic and astronomy from the University of Cambridge in 1603 (see Kassell (2005), pp. 97-98).</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Clarck Drieshen<br /> Project Cataloguer<br /> Cambridge University Library</p>

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