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Canonical Medicine

Gentile da Foligno and Scholasticism

Roger French

This book deals with the work of one of the most famous medical scholars of the middle ages, renowned to his contemporaries as being able to see more deeply into the theory of medicine than anyone else. It is based in particular on an analysis of his huge commentary on Avicenna's Canon, the biggest and most important single medical text of the Middle Ages. This is the first modern analysis of the commentary, and while the size and elaborate scholastic structure of it has deterred historians, it remained an important text for two centuries. This book explains the nature and purposes of medical scholasticism, which reached its height in the half century before the Black Death, in which Gentile died.


Edited by Harriet Deacon, Howard Phillips and Elizabeth van Heyningen

The Cape Doctor is a social history of medicine, which places formal Western medicine within its political, social and economic context. The work shows the way in which the Cape medical profession excluded all but a few women and black practitioners, and discriminated along lines of race, class and gender in their practice. It revises traditional whiggish and linear accounts of professional advancement, but it also moves beyond the classic revisionist tradition, which documents the emergence of a society divided along lines of race and gender, by providing examples of cultural crossover and medical pluralism. It also provides a perspective on a broad historical process within which to understand present debates about the most appropriate health policies in South Africa today.

The Enigma of the Origin of Portolan Charts

A Geodetic Analysis of the Hypothesis of a Medieval Origin


Roel Nicolai

The sudden appearance of portolan charts, realistic nautical charts of the Mediterranean and Black Sea, at the end of the thirteenth century is one of the most significant occurrences in the history of cartography. Using geodetic and statistical analysis techniques these charts are shown to be mosaics of partial charts that are considerably more accurate than has been assumed. Their accuracy exceeds medieval mapping capabilities. These sub-charts show a remarkably good agreement with the Mercator map projection. It is demonstrated that this map projection can only have been an intentional feature of the charts’ construction. Through geodetic analysis the author eliminates the possibility that the charts are original products of a medieval Mediterranean nautical culture, which until now they have been widely believed to be.

Healing Bodies, Saving Souls

Medical Missions in Asia and Africa


Edited by David Hardiman

Missionary medicine flourished during the period of high European imperialism, from the late-1800s to the 1960s. Although the figure of mission doctor – exemplified by David Livingstone and Albert Schweitzer – exercised a powerful influence on the Western imagination during the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, few historians have examined the history of this important aspect of the missionary movement. This collection of articles on Asia and Africa uses the extensive archives that exist on medical missions to both enrich and challenge existing histories of the clinic in colonial territories – whether of the dispensary, the hospital, the maternity home or leprosy asylum.
Some of the major themes addressed within include the attitude of different Christian denominations towards medical mission work, their differing theories and practices, how the missionaries were drawn into contentious local politics, and their attitude towards supernatural cures.
Leprosy, often a feature of such work, is explored, as well as the ways in which local people perceived disease, healing and the missionaries themselves. Also discussed is the important contribution of women towards mission medical work.
Healing Bodies, Saving Souls will be of interest not only to students and historians but also the wider reader as it aims to define the place of missionary within the overall history of medicine.


THE BOLOMETER AND THE SPECTRO-BOLOMETER AS STEPS TOWARDS THE BLACK-BODY SPECTRUM ANNA M. LOMBARDI University of Padua SUMMARY This paper discusses the role played by S.P. Langley's bolometer in the development of spectroscopy in the last two decades of the nineteenth century. Langley's work

Romana Sammern

 This article examines the canonical colors of beauty in the early modern period – red, white and black – at the convergence of cosmetics, medicine, art theory and painting practices. Following Agnolo Firenzuola’s (1493–1543) link between the colors of beauty, physiology and the colors


A. D. C. SIMPSON (ed.), Joseph Black. 1728-1799. A C o m m e m o r a t i v e Sym- posium. P a p e r s p r e s e n t e d a t a Sym- posium held in t h e Royal Scott- ish M u s e u m on 4 N o v e m b e r 1978 in association with t h e Scottish Society in the H i s t o r y of Medicine, t o g e t h


WILLIE PEARSON, JR., Black Scientists, White Society, and Colorless Science: A Study of Universalism in American Science, Millwood, NY, New York City and London: Associated Faculty Press 1985, VIII + 201 pp. PAUL WEINDLING Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, Oxford


Joseph Fruton

Human knowledge of the conversion of grape must into wine and of cereal dough into bread is as old as agriculture. This book is a study of the ways this phenomenon (fermentation) has been considered since Aristotle to be analogous to natural processes such as human digestion. During 1200–1600 A.D., alchemists wrote “ferments” or “elixirs” that could turn lead into gold. A century later, in Newton’s time, many physicians and natural philosophers considered fermentation to be an important natural process. The 18th century was marked by Lavoisier’s celebrated experiment on alcoholic fermentation. The 19th-century debate about the nature of this process was concluded by Buchner’s preparation of an active cell-free yeast extract. From 1910–1940 many researchers participated in the identification of the chemical intermediates and catalysts in the multi-enzyme pathway of alcoholic fermentation.

Blood, Sweat and Tears

The Changing Concepts of Physiology from Antiquity into Early Modern Europe


Edited by Manfred Horstmanshoff, Helen King and Claus Zittel

The history of anatomy has been the subject of much recent scholarship. This volume shifts the focus to the many different ways in which the function of the body and its fluids were understood in pre-modern European thought. Contributors demonstrate how different academic disciplines can contribute to our understanding of ‘physiology’, and investigate the value of this category to pre-modern medicine.
The book contains individual essays on the wider issues raised by ‘physiology’, and detailed case studies that explore particular aspects and individuals. It will be useful to those working on medicine and the body in pre-modern cultures, in disciplines including classics, history of medicine and science, philosophy, and literature.

Contributors include Barbara Baert, Marlen Bidwell-Steiner, Véronique Boudon-Millot, Rainer Brömer, Elizabeth Craik, Tamás Demeter, Valeria Gavrylenko, Hans L. Haak, Mieneke te Hennepe, Sabine Kalff, Rina Knoeff, Sergius Kodera, Liesbet Kusters, Karine van ‘t Land, Tomas Macsotay, Michael McVaugh, Vivian Nutton, Barbara Orland, Jacomien Prins, Julius Rocca, Catrien Santing, Daniel Schäfer, Emma Sidgwick, Frank W. Stahnisch, Diana Stanciu, Michael Stolberg, Liba Taub, Fabio Tutrone, Katrien Vanagt, and Marion A. Wells.