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Krankheitsbilder im Liber de Plantis der Hildegard von Bingen (1098–1179) und im Speyerer Kräuterbuch (1456)

Medical History
Cambridge University Press
Publication Date
  • Book Reviews
  • Biology
  • Design
  • Linguistics
  • Medicine


Book Reviews predecessors in the field have been confined to Latin texts from Antiquity and the early Middle Ages; here there is consideration of Greek material as well. The main theme is clear from the title. Most ancient authorities in the Hippocratic-Galenic tradition considered naming the disease essential, both intellectually and therapeutically. They bequeathed a large and florid vocabulary, many of the nuances and developments of which have yet to be fully mapped. That task becomes a good deal easier, of course, in the age of the CD-ROM and the data-base-the Thesaurus linguae latinae, the PHI disk of Latin literature and, not least, Esculape, which is being developed at the CNRS as a corpus of Latin pathological terms and is both described and put through its paces near the end of the present volume. Juxtaposing medical and non-medical texts, several early papers in the collection have specific lexica in their sights-of, among other disorders, catalepsy (Fran,oise Skoda, who nicely punctures Galen's claim to terminological innovation here), incubus, intestinal obstruction and diabetes (Anna-Maria Urso), various vocal disorders (Freddrique Biville), and epilepsy-under the grammatically puzzling designation morbus maior (the comparative argued by Anna Orlandini to be in effect a superlative). Two highly worthwhile contributions of a different kind might seem to have strayed in from some parallel collection, Nommer le remede. Patricia Gaillard-Seux surveys recipes for glaucoma involving the green lizard. Alain Touwaide proposes that Isidore of Seville's account of snake poison (Etymologiae xii.4) reveals a more creative and coherent engagement with ancient medicine than the bishop is often given credit for. Of equal interest, but closer to the book's ostensible theme, is a demonstration by Anne Fraisse of the ways in which Cassius Felix's Hellenism paradoxically enriched Latin medical vocabulary. The volume also includes a brief if unfocused account of Caelius Aurelianus as medical philologist (Fr

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