Commonplace book containing practical and theoretical medical treatises (Miscellanea Medica XXXVIII)

Late 15th Century
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Commonplace book containing practical and theoretical medical treatises (Miscellanea Medica XXXVIII)


1. f. 1r Quotation from Galen's 'De ingenio sanitatis', etc.

2. f. 2r Incantation in Catalan against enemies, and for safety and prosperity.

3. f. 2r-v Poem in Latin

Incipit: 'Juste Judex ihesu christe rex regum et domine qui cum patre regnas...'

Explicit: 'Tibi virtus et perennis honor et perpetuus'.

4. ff. 2v-3r Pseudo-Jesus Christ, Epistola ad Abgarum

Incipit: 'Incipit epistola saluatoris domini nostri ihesu Christi quam propria manu sua scripsit ad abagarum [sic] Regem dicens'

Explicit: '...ego tecum sum dixit dominus Domine et sit per populum tuum benedictio tua.'

5. ff. 3r-5v Prayers in Latin and Catalan.

6. f. 5v Latin invocation to St. Nicaise 'contra glandulas'.

7. ff. 7r-26v Copho, Modus medendi, abbreviated and incomplete

This is printed in Renzi's Collectio Salernitana vol. IV, pp. 415-438

For more information on this tract see Luke E. Demaitre, Doctor Bernard de Gordon, Professor and Practitioner (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1980), p. 95.

Incipit: 'In medendis corporibus et maxime purgandis sepe variis molestamur incommodis'.

Explicit: 'Triffera calida est' (struck through).

8. ff. 28r-30r Arnold of Villanova, Regimen conferens memoriae

A medical treatise for the maintenance of a good memory

On this tract see Thorndike, Catalogue of Incipits. col. 258

On the art of memory in the Middle Ages see e.g. The Medieval Craft of Memory: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures ed. Mary Carruthers and Jan M. Ziolkowski (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003).

9. ff. 30r-36v Petrus Hispanus, Liber duodecim aquarum, extract

Incipit: 'Hec sunt aque dictaminis Magistri Petri yspani'.

Explicit: 'que non escripsi etc. quia sufficit'.

10. ff. 43r-52v Medical receipts in Latin; with some in Catalan on the last three leaves, including an invocation for healing limbs 'Per tranquadura dossors o de cama o braz o altro loch'. The verso of the last leaf contains Catalan medical receipts by a different and later hand.

11. f. 62r 'Sphera Pythagorae', attributed to Donatus, with directions for use in Latin and planetary weekdays in Catalan.

This is a very common onomancy 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. To operate it you take the name of the person in question, take the numbers that correspond to the letters of their name, and add into a total. You add the number of the day of the moon on which they first fell sick, and the number corresponding to the planetary weekday. You divide this grand total by 30 and if the remainder is sought 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).

On the 'Sphere of Donatus' and Catalan onomancies see John Scott Lucas, Astrology and Numerology in Medieval and Early Modern Catalonia: the Tractat de prenostication de la vida natural dels homens (Leiden: Brill, 2003), p. 51 and more generally.

12. f. 64v Receipts for colours in Catalan and Latin


Late 15th Century

Physical description

1 volume 64 ff. (ff. 1v, 6, 27, 37-42, 53-61, and 62v-64r blank). Upper portion of the first three and last two leaves damaged. The work by Copho is written in double columns 30 lines to a column; four leaves of this work are wanting. 4to. 21 1/2 x 14 1/2 cm. Contemporary rough calf binding, leather ties wanting. With two fragments of a 14th century Hebrew manuscript on vellum, inserted as backing to the front and back covers. According to Prof. S. Birnbaum of the London School of Oriental Studies, the fragments of Hebrew MS. forming part of the covers contain Rabbinical Responses probably written in Spain in the 14th century.

Acquisition note

Purchased 1931.

Location of duplicates

A digitised copy is held by Wellcome Collection as part of The Medieval manuscripts digitisation project.Two pages have been photographed and can be viewed on the Wellcome Images website, image numbers L0061047-48.

Finding aids

This manuscript was first described in S.A.J. Moorat, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts on Medicine and Science in the Wellcome Historical Medical Library (London: Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, 1962-1973).


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Accession number

  • 75861