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Anonymi medici: De morbis acutis et chroniis

Medical History
Cambridge University Press
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  • Book Reviews
  • Medicine


Book Reviews within the wider context of changing scientific ideas about the female body. Helen King, University of Reading Ivan Garofalo (ed.), Anonymi medici: De morbis acutis et chroniis, transl. Brian Fuchs, Studies in Ancient Medicine vol. 12, Leiden and New York, E J Brill, 1997, pp. xxx, 375, Nlg. 178.50, $112.50 (90-04-10227-2). Just over a hundred years ago Robert Fuchs published in a German periodical part of an unknown Greek tract on acute and chronic diseases he had found in a Paris manuscript, hence its common title of Anonymus Parisinus. Lacking both beginning and ending, it gives first the cause of each disease as suggested by earlier writers, then signs and symptoms, and finally treatments. Although its appearance created a stir at the time, it has since been rarely noticed, despite its potential importance for the study of pre-Galenic medicine. In making the first edition of this tract in book form, Ivan Garofalo includes new portions taken from manuscripts in Vienna and London, along with an English translation and introduction, and notes in the form of a second apparatus. All can be grateful that such a neglected text is now made more accessible, and those who know no Greek will be still more in Garofalo's debt. When there is so much valuable material assembled here, it gives me no pleasure to say that this is a deeply flawed book. Garofalo has done the first part of the editor's task well; his collations, to judge from his work on the London MS, are accurate, and his choice of readings, his own emendations, and his listing of variants are generally competent, even if his use of brackets in the text to indicate both emendations and readings present in only one manuscript is confusing. But on almost every page, I have found discrepancies between text and translation, between text and notes, or between translation and notes; lines are omitted, or words included twice, without it being made clear whether these decisions represent the views of Garofalo, the series editor (Jo

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