Lotions and Potions: Medical Books from the Middle Ages

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Lotions and Potions: Medical Books from the Middle Ages

Lecture by Erik Kwakkel

Given at the University of Alberta, on October 23, 2012




Medicine existed long before it was a science taught at medieval universities. This lecture takes the audience to the eleventh and twelfth centuries, when the first medical handbooks were translated from Arabic into Latin, the learned language of the West. Arabic medicine provided a new way of treating patients, by focusing on physical symptoms as opposed to divine providence. This paper considers the question of how this knowledge was transmitted. Through what channels did the new medicine travel through Europe? In what kind of books were the new texts placed, and what can we learn about the dawn of western medicine by looking at these medieval books from our 21st-century standpoint?

Other lectures by Erik Kwakkel include:

St Augustine Was Eaten by a Bear: Book Production in Carthusian Monasteries

In It for the Money: The Birth of Commercial Book Production

‘These Books are Tall and not Wide Enough’: Anomalous Page Dimensions in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries

You can follow Erik on Twitter @erik_kwakkel

Sharan Newman