15th-Century Practical Medicine in Print

Beyond the Profession, towards the miscere utile dulci

In: Nuncius
Sabrina Minuzzi Ca’ Foscari University of Venice Italy Venice

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By drawing on a comprehensive bibliographic census (ISTC) this article offers a mapping of printed medical-scientific production in 15th-century Europe, with an eye to the manuscript tradition, the authorship status, and the use of Latin and vernaculars in a century of transition that was not merely linguistic. It identifies in some titles from the practical medicine category—namely books on materia medica, regimina sanitatis booklets and short medical poems—the crucial contribution of proto-typography to the wider dissemination of medical knowledge. In regard to some long-lived titles (Regimina Sanitatis Salernitana; Il perché by Girolamo Manfredi; Cibaldone), this paper explores the evolution of their material forms in the early modern centuries in the direction of a more enjoyable style that was far from being only professional, while new methodological research paths are suggested. The sheer variety of actual readers is focused in the case of printed herbals and of the Cibaldone. The popularity of such genres is ultimately couched within the lively context of household medicine in the early modern era.

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