Arabic learning arriving into Western Europe; Medieval medicinal laxatives
A bifolium from Mondino dei Luzzi (d. 1326)’s commentary on Yuhanna ibn Masawaih (alias Mesue), De simplicibus, in Latin, manuscript on parchment
[Italy, early 14th century]
Each leaf c. 370 × 250 mm, the ruled space c. 210 × 140 mm, in two columns of 49
lines written in Gothic script, paraphs alternately red or blue, underlining in red, each chapter with a rubric in red and a two-line initial alternately red with blue flourishing or vice versa, recovered from use as a pastedown, with consequent holes and staining, especially to one side, but still mostly legible.
The more legible side begins in the section De viola (violet): “et viole ficce educunt dissolvendo. …” and continues with rubrics for chapters “13 [sic] De abscinthio” (wormwood), “13 De sticados” (French lavender), “14 De fumo terre” (fumitory), “15 De eupatorio” (hemp agrimony), and “16 De epithemo” (thyme), ending at “ … et pallidum”; the text is printed in Mesue cum expositione Mondini super canones universales (1502), De simplicibus, fol. 35r, col. b, line 26 from the bottom – fol. 36r, col. b, line 1 (online through Google Books). The text De simplicibus (Simples) concerns single natural ingredients that could be used on their own as purgatives (laxatives).