Translated in full from an unpublished manuscript written in the thirteenth century, this book offers a view of the medical world of the Middle Ages, one that for us today was full of magic.
The author is Pietro Ispano (Pope John XXI), who was a leading figure in the intellectual world of the thirteenth century.
A combination of theologist, physician, astrologist and jurisconsult, the "medieval" scientist attempted to understand and harmonise with the macrocosm and powers of the heavenly bodies.
This all-encompassing approach is clear in the text, which provides a mix of natural therapeutic remedies for all problems, from losing one's hair to sterility, impotence to fever, wrinkles to jaundice, and so on. It provides a "therapeutic journey" a capite ad pedes (from head to foot). Compared to today's science, the treatments suggested are curious but all founded on the regenerating power of Nature.
Luca Pesante, a graduate in Medieval Archaeology.