Giordano Ruffo, De medicina equorum

Mid-14th century
Part of:
Ruffo, Giordano (d.c.1256), De medicina equorum
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About this work



1. Flyleaf 1v (pastedown): Notes in Latin by an early 16th century hand, on the care of domestic animals 'Periti et eruditi viri precepta'

2. Flyleaves ii r-iii v Extracts from Aristotle, Plinius, and Columella concerning animals.

3. ff. 1r-50r Giordano Ruffo, De medicina equorum

Incipit: 'Incipit cyrurgia equorum. Cum inter cetera animalia summo rerum opifice... col. 2, line 4 ...ego Iordanus ruffus calabriensis miles in marescalcia quondam domini imperatoris frederici...(line 15)...infrascripta cum diligentia scribere procuraui. Capitaula. Primo igitur dicendum est de creatione et natiuitate equi....'

Explicit: '...cum dicto unguento calido usque ad. xv. dies. et liberabitur. Explicit (perhaps by another hand) Hoc egit immensis studiis miles Calabrenis. Qui bene cunctorum medicinas sciuit equorum. Discat quisque legnes patet hec tibi pagina presens. Quod iuuat atque nocet sic equo cuncta docet.

4. f. 50v 'Sphere of Life and Death In a late fifteenth-century hand. This is a very common onomancy (i.e. divination by the numbers that correlate to the letters of an individual's name) for predicting whether a sick person will live or die, the outcome of a duel or battle, or anything else requiring a binary yes/no answer. The operator takes the name of the person in question, finds the numbers that correspond to the letters of their name, and adds into a total. To this is added the number of the day of the moon on which they first fell sick, and the number corresponding to the planetary weekday. This grand total is divided by 30 and if the remainder is found in the top of the 'Sphere' diagram the patient will live, if not, they will die. See e.g. Linda Ehrsam Voigts, 'The Latin and Middle English Prose Texts on the Sphere of Life and Death in Harley 3719', The Chaucer Review 21.2 (1986).

Incipit: 'Collige per numerum quicquid cupis esse probandum'

5. Last flyleaf (pastedown) - perhaps in the same hand as the first flyleaves - contains some medical receipts, one in Italian, and one for a clyster 'contra difficultatem urinandi a magistro Joanne de Vercellis' which is dated 1524.


Mid-14th century

Physical description

1 item 4 ll. + 50 ff. + 1 l. 4to. 18 1/2 x 12 1/2 cm. On vellum, with 5 paper fly-leaves, the first and last pasted down on to the covers. Early 16th century stamped calf binding, damaged, with parts of two leather ties. Margins slightly cropped in binding. Written in a good Italian gothic book-hand, in double column of 27 lines to a column.. Ornamental initials in alternate red and blue, with marginal decorations in red or purple: paragraph marks in alternate blue and red, headings, in red.

Biographical note

Giordano Ruffo (d. 1256) was farrier to Frederick II (1194-1250), Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily, in the later 13th century.

Ownership note

At the top of the first flyleaf is written in an early 16th century hand 'Practica Jo. Jac. de Manliis de Bosco', and below 'Die 7 decembris don Bartholomeus Joannis luc[a]e de Cassia attulit litteras de Joanne andrea et per eundem respondi'


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