J. N. Adams and M. Deegan, 'Bald's Leechbook and the Physica Plinii', ASE 21 R: London, British Library Royal 12 D. xvii, ff.1r–r, 'Bald's Leechbook', s. x. Among the surviving medical writings in Old English, Bald's Leechbook holds Bald's Leechbook is of great interest to the student of medieval medicine. microbiologists from University's Centre for. Biomolecular Sciences to recreate a 10th century potion for eye infections from Bald's Leechbook.
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Bald's Leechbook is an Old English medical text probably compiled in the ninth century, .. Print/export. Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version. The codex is made up of three books, the first two of which are known collectively by the name Bald's Leechbook due to the colophon copied at. Formula Herbal Medieval Cura Bacterias Meticilinoresistentes - Bald's Leechbook Now Online - Medieval Manuscripts Blog - Download as PDF File . pdf), Text.
During the s, scholars began to move away from the binary classifications of "recipe" or "charm" and "pagan magic" or "Christian belief" that had long underwritten editorial practices and scholarship of Anglo-Saxon medicine. Stanley Rubin's Medieval English Medicine appeals to the remedies as a result of blended secular medicine and Germanic tradition rather than superstition; however, his study still places heavy emphasis on the influence of pagan elements.
Cameron's Anglo-Saxon Medicine presents a similar, partial break from the classification systems of earlier scholarship. While Cameron organizes elements within an individual remedy into traditional "pagan" or "Christian" categories, like Rubin he considers each remedy as an amalgamation of Germanic and Christian culture. Cameron's work moves to see the remedies as sites of cultural and religious exchange in Anglo-Saxon England.
Elf Charms in Context advances Cameron's argument, using terms like "folklore" and "liturgy" in place of "pagan" or "Christian" in her discussion of the remedies. Jolly recognized that using words like "magic" or "pagan" carry a stigma of superstition, and scholars need to change their vocabulary when discussing the remedies in order to "cure … this tendency toward valuing modern notions of rationality" at the expense of medieval ones , Although the scholarship of Rubin, Cameron, and Jolly redirects that of Grendon and Storms, all place emphasis on the need to categorize the charms into groupings or belief systems that would help to understand Anglo-Saxon medicine as a whole.
At the end of my directed reading on the Leechbooks and Lacnunga , I received a Minter Summer Scholarship to visit the British Library to look at the manuscripts themselves—to see, for the first time, the remedies as they appear unencumbered by the editorial re-collocation and critical apparatus of scholarly editions. What surprised me is how visually different they are from one another.
The Leechbooks are compiled in Royal 12 D, a large manuscript mms by mms made of thinner white vellum. There are almost no marginalia present and only a handful of notes can be found throughout. The manuscript is in pristine shape with minimal damage to the final pages.
It has large margins and is meticulously organized into chapters, beginning with ailments of the head and moving towards the feet in consecutive chapters.
The exemplary state of the Leechbooks stands out in stark contrast to the Lacnunga Harley , a small manuscript made of dark, rough vellum with copious marginalia and little internal organization. The Lacnunga seemed well used, and the remedies within it were not organized according to a Table of Contents but as if they were added piecemeal by several different scribes. Of the two manuscripts, I was drawn to Royal 12 D — and thus the Leechbooks — because of its seemingly unused appearance.
Royal 12 D is a manuscript that dates between AD, ii although its content is copied form earlier sources. Ker has identified the scribe of Royal 12 D as someone who worked in the Winchester scriptorium. And if the Royal 12 D copy of the Leechbooks was part of these scribal reforms, it may explain perhaps why the manuscript remained in relatively unused condition. In comparison to the much-handled and highly annotated Lacnunga , one might surmise that Royal 12 D was a fair copy meant as an exemplar for scribal transcription or, as is indicated by an inscription in Leechbook II , a prized possession produced during a high time of productivity in Winchester for a connoisseur of medical texts.
My research at the British Library generated more questions than answers. But I felt that one thing was clear: Rather than engaging in a critical project that might employ the arguments of contemporary scholarship, I decided to make a new edition and translation that would replace outmoded ones of the previous centuries. Fairly new translations of Bald's Leechbook Leechbooks I and II had been published or completed, and more secondary scholarship was available on those texts, so I set off to translate Leechbook III for two reasons: Cockayne's print edition and Barbara M.
Olds' unpublished dissertation; and 2 Leechbook III contains — to use the terms of Grendon, Storms, and Jolly — the highest percentage of "pagan charms," "magical" material, and "folkloric" elements of all three Leechbooks. Leechbook III contains 63 remedies for a variety of diseases ranging from a headache to elf-disease. Most of the remedies are herbal salves or ointments, but many contain prayers, incantations, and actions to be performed in conjunction with making and applying the herbal element.
Others are still more unusual, like prescribing a whipping a patient with a whip made from dolphin kin or capturing and throwing-away a dung beetle as part of making a remedy.
The prevalence of supernatural beings in Leechbook III was one of the most enchanting aspects of the manuscript for me. As I transcribed Leechbook III from a facsimile during the Fall semester of and began to translate its remedies, it became clear to me that while editorial collocation and word choice did have some bearing on how the scholars I had read perceived the materials, previous editions and translations were not the primary roadblock to research on the Leechbooks.
Rather as I worked on my edition of Leechbook III , I began to see it not as a text to be read but rather as directions to be performed. As I was working on my edition, I was likewise teaching a Student Taught Course on Anglo-Saxon medicine, and my students, who ranged from English majors to pre-medical students, asked if these remedies were still in use today. I began to consider the remedies as simple directives that outlined or sketched out embodied healing practices, and the punctuation of my edition reflects this.
Wyrc to swipan. Folio r xL.
In case a person is month-sick: Make [it] into a whip. Whip the man with [it].
Soon [he] will be well. While this remedy is the only one in Leechbook III that prescribes whipping a man in order to effect a cure, it is a concise example of the order, tone, and pacing of directives used in every remedy in Leechbook III. It instructs the leech firstly on what ingredients and supplies to gather to prepare the cure.
I often tell friends and family when they ask what a remedy is, that the remedies are very close to modern day cooking recipes because they could be laid out into numbered steps, with an imperative beginning each. Just like recipes, the remedies are instructions for the actions a leech must perform; they are not meant to just be read but to be skillfully interpreted.
Lori Ann Garner's article, "Anglo-Saxon Charms in Performance" expresses this precisely when she writes "[w]hen we look at [a] text as an aid to performance rather than an ultimate product in itself, the debate becomes more a problem of editing than of performance, where completeness of any kind is illusory" Garner asserts that viewing the remedies as a performance can illuminate the healing properties and consequently blur the lines of the traditional binaries, categories, and subcategories that have prevailed in scholarship thus far.
I put into practice Garner's call to viewing the remedies as performance. I "collected," as best I could similar plants from the grocery store, and they performed the following selection: Folios v - r Lxii.
Write three crosses with oil of unction and say "peace to you. Sing this over [it], "Omnipotent God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, through the imposition of this writing and through the taste of it, drive out every devil from your servant, N.
Wet that inscription in the drink and write a cross with it on each limb and say: This craft is powerful against every temptation of the fiend. They used the plants to boil a "drenc," then recited Latin prayers and sayings, wrote out a "writ," and signed with it over the body of the patient.
Our voluntary patient, who had no experience with the remedies before we began, sat in wide-eyed horror at first as students took turns speaking Latin and signing the cross over him.
Afterwards, the students said that performing a remedy made clear the importance of action of the leech and reaction from the patient in enacting a cure, both physically and psychologically. Several commented that the potent smell of the drink produced reminded them of teas or other drinks from their home countries, while others remarked on the incantatory feeling when a student recited one of the prayers.
It became obvious that the remedies are much more than words on a page; they draw on all the senses — sight, hearing, smell, and touch — to produce an overwhelming performance that attacks illness from every sensory pathway.
Even after nearly a year of study on the Leechbooks , the effects of performance on the remedies only became obvious after trying one. This digital edition is not meant as a comprehensive study of Leechbook III. As a senior thesis, it is constrained not only by time but also by my own limitations as a student paleographer, editor, and translator. That said, what the edition does do is supply a critical apparatus that follows Garner's call to "examine the charms on their own terms.
For example, folios r - r function as a Table of Contents that numbers each remedy as it appears in Leechbook III , and the remaining folios order, number, and introduce the remedies accordingly.
I have hyperlinked each entry in the Table of Contents to its corresponding remedy as a means of facilitating use of the Leechbook III as a manual rather than as a narrative that must be read in sequence. Likewise, the Leechbook recipes, like those of all Anglo-Saxon medicine, are filled with over common and uncommon plant names.
Each plant ingredient has been hyperlinked to its corresponding entry in the Dictionary of Old English Plant Names , an in-depth database of Old English botanical vocabulary that includes congruent images from later herbariums. I have included the hyperlinks to show the extensive herbal knowledge of the Anglo-Saxons and the plethora of both native and foreign plant matter available to the Anglo-Saxon leech. Folios r - v viii. For cancer: Take the plants sabine and marsh mallow and fumitory and honeysuckle and squirting cucumber and buttercup and smooth cat's-ear; wood sage, mugwort, wild chervil, agrimony, madder, lovage, chamomile, caper spurge, woad, fennel, buckthorn, wild oat, stemless carline thistle, chickweed, pellitoeries of the wall, carrot, hazelnut tree's leaf, wild rape, yarrow, ground ivy, common mallow leaf, alexanders, fig, periwinkle, the foul wormwood, the great daisy, oak leaf, greater plantain, groundsel, red clover, leathric , smooth sow thistle, resin, cleavers, celery-leaved buttercup, parsnip, dynige.
The "Glossary" of this digital edition complements and extends these aims. In addition to a free-standing, alphabetical list of all plants and animal products used in Leechbook III , I have listed a lexicon of Old English medical applications. The actions of gathering ingredients and preparing a salve, ointment, or bath were as much a performance as were incantations and prayers, therefore it is just as important to have a clear understanding of these words as the other aspects of a remedy.
While the digital aspect of my edition of Leechbook III presents the material through a lens that might facilitate a different sort of reading practice and possibly performance , I have attempted to present its content in proximity to both manuscript context and previous editions and translations. My transcription preserves the foliation of Royal 12 D, with the Old English of each folio set against facing-page translation for easy use by both Old English and Modern English readers.
My translation seeks to present a conservative, but fresh alternative to those of Oswald T. Cockayne and Barbara M. Cockayne's translation of Leechbook III , which is contained in his Leechdoms, Wortcunning, and Starcraft volume, is a product of its time.
As Anne Van Arsdall writes, "Cockayne preferred a quaint and deliberately antiquated translation style, which made the medical remedies read like literary curiosities" In case mulieribus menstrual suppressa sunt ; boil in ale brooklime, and the two centauries…" I approach Leechbook III conservatively, allowing for some literal translation, particularly when there is no Modern English terminology or understanding as to what may be meant with respect to an illness, directive, or cure.
Where Cockayne is, at times, over literal, I have relaxed the translation to better match Olds so that the disease or treatment may be better understood.
The main purpose of the examination is to determine the extent to which scholarly ideas concerning the nature of the human body and the causes of disease were preserved between the Latin texts and the English texts which were translated and compiled from them. The main way in which this has been carried out is through a comparative analysis of technical vocabulary, excluding botanical terms, in medical prose texts utilising the Dictionary of Old English Web Corpus of texts, and a selection of printed editions of Latin texts which seem to have been the most likely sources of medical knowledge in Anglo-Saxon England.
A single question thus lies at the heart of this thesis: In answering this question, a number of other significant findings have come to light. Most importantly, it is to be noted that modern scholarship is only now beginning to focus on the range of Late Antique and Byzantine medical texts available in Latin translation in the early medieval period, most notably for our present purposes Alexander of Tralles, but also Oribasius, Galen, pseudo-Galen and several Latin recensions of the works of Soranus of Ephesus, including the so-called Liber Esculapii and Liber Aurelii.
The linguistic study further demonstrates that the technical language of these texts was very well understood and closely studied in Anglo-Saxon England, the vernacular material not only providing excellent readings of abstruse Latin technical vocabulary, but also demonstrating a substantial knowledge of technical terms of Greek origin which survive in the Latin texts.
Content uploaded by Conan Turlough Doyle. Citations 1. References 0. Unlike scytel, which derives from Gmc. Full-text available.