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A Late Middle English Remedy-book (MS Wellcome 542, ff. 1r-20v)

A Scholarly Edition


Javier Calle Martín and Miguel Angel Castaño-Gil

The present edition offers the diplomatic transcription of MS Wellcome 542, housing a late Middle English hitherto unedited remedy-book based on the medical lore of Hippocrates, Socrates and Galen. A glossary, notes and introduction also accompany the edition. The introduction has been conceived as a state of the art of this scientific treatise, and deals with the textual transmission of the text, a codicological/palaeographic description together with the scribe’s dialect and idiolect. The edition therefore conforms itself as a primary source for research not only in Historical Linguistics but also in other related fields such as the History of Medicine or Ecdotics.
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Chapter 1. The Manuscript


This chapter analyses the manuscript from a codicological and a palaeographic perspective. The first part considers the physical features of the volume (material, dimensions, ink, quiring and binding, among others) while the second deals with the scribe’s handwriting to propose a likely date of composition.

1.1. Contents

Miscellanea Medica XVI, housed in the Wellcome Library of London under the shelf-code 542, dates back to the early 15th century holding the following Middle English treatises:1

An incomplete leech-book in English (ff. 1r-20v), a version of the Viaticum of Constantinus Africanus (ff. 21r-65v), De Passionibus Puerorum of Pseudo-Galen (ff. 65v-66r), an extract from Colliget (lib. I) of Averrhoes’s Anatomia (ff. 66v-72r), an incomplete Anatomia of Richardus Anglicus (ff.72r-75v), Notes on phlebotomy, pulses, prognostics, urines, etc. (ff.76r-79v), the anonymous Experimenta secreta et experta (ff. 79v-101r), De Passionibus Oculorum by Zacharias Salernitanus (ff.101r-108) and two incomplete and anonymous glossaries of medicinal herbs in Latin, English and French (each one in ff. 109r-117v, and in ff. 118r-119v, respectively) (Moorat 1962: 400-401).

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