New book – Medicine and Healing in the Premodern West: A History in Documents – Edited by Winston Black, Broadview Press

Medicine and Healing in the Premodern West: A History in Documents – Edited by Winston Black

Medicine and Healing in the Premodern West traces the history of medicine and medical practice from Ancient Egypt through to the end of the Middle Ages. Featuring nearly one hundred primary documents and images, this book introduces readers to the words and ideas of men and women from across Europe and the Mediterranean Sea, from prominent physicians to humble healers. Each of the book’s ten chronological and thematic chapters is given a significant historical introduction, in which each primary source is described in its original context. Many of the included source texts are newly translated by the editor, some of them appearing in English for the first time.

Preface and Acknowledgements
Questions to Consider


  • 1. The Kahun Gynaecological Papyrus
  • 2. Diagnosis in Ancient Egypt: The Ebers Papyrus
  • 3. A Babylonian Spell against Fever
  • 4. Plague as Divine Punishment in Homer’s Iliad
  • 5. Gods as the Source of Disease: Hesiod, Works and Days
  • 6. Violence and Healing in Homeric Greece


  • Rational Medicine in the Age of Hippocrates
    • 7. Hippocratic Corpus, Nature of Man
    • 8. Plato on the Nature of Disease: Timaeus
    • 9. Thucydides and the Plague of Athens, 430 BCE
    • 10. Hippocratic Corpus, Aphorisms
    • 11. Hippocratic Corpus, Airs, Waters, Places
    • 12. Case Histories from the Hippocratic Epidemics
  • Asclepius, the God of Physicians
    • 13. The Hippocratic Oath
    • 14. Pindar: Apollo Leaves Asclepius with Chiron the Centaur
    • 15. Celsus Celebrates Asclepius as a Man
    • 16. Greek Anatomical Votive Plaque of a Leg
    • 17. Aelius Aristides Dreams of Asclepius
    • 18. An Egyptian God in Greco-Roman Dress: Imouthes as Asclepius


  • 19. Galen, On the Medical Sects
  • 20. Aretaeus the Cappadocian on the Difficult Case of Tetanus
  • 21. Rufus of Ephesus, Medical Questions: Interrogation of the Patient
  • 22. Celsus: A Healthy Regimen without Doctors
  • 23. Dioscorides and the Science of Pharmacology
  • 24. Galen, the Boastful Practitioner: On the Affected Places
  • 25. Galen, On Black Bile: Praising and Rewriting Hippocrates
  • 26. Herodian on a Plague in the Roman Empire


  • 27. Varro, De re rustica: An Early Germ Theory?
  • 28. Vegetius, De re militari: Preserving the Health of Imperial Troops
  • 29. The Legend of Agnodike, a Greek Midwife and Physician
  • 30. Soranus of Ephesus: Instructions for Midwives
  • 31. Cato the Elder’s Roman Remedies: Cabbage, Wine, and Magic
  • 32. Pliny the Elder’s Homespun Medicine: Remedies Derived from Wool
  • 33. Popular Medicine in Verse: The Liber medicinalis


  • 34. Oribasius: A Galenic Diet in the Later Roman Empire
  • 35. Anthimus to King Theodoric, On the Observance of Diet
  • 36. An Early Medieval Primer in Ancient Medicine by St. Isidore of Seville
  • 37. Medicine of Pliny for the Informed Traveler
  • 38. The Herbarius of Apuleius Platonicus
  • 39. Marcellus and His Empirical Handbook of Medicines
  • 40. The Drug Theory of Paul of Aegina


  • Monotheism and Medicine 121
    • 41. The Oath of Asaph, a Jewish Physician’s Oath
    • 42. A Christianized Hippocratic Oath
    • 43. Medicine and Diet in the Rule of St. Benedict
    • 44. Roman Doctors as Christian Saints: Cosmas and Damian
    • 45. Islamic Medicine of the Prophet: Sunan Abu Dawud
  • Early Medieval Responses to Plague and Pestilence
    • 46. Evagrius Scholasticus on the Plague of Justinian
    • 47. Gregory of Tours on Epidemic Disease and the Sickness of Kings
    • 48. A Votive Mass against Pestilence
  • Old English Medicine: Superstition or Empiricism?
    • 49. The Nine Herbs Charm, from the Old English Lacnunga
    • 50. Bald’s Leechbook: Herbal Remedies for Eye Problems
    • 51. Medical Prognostics in Anglo-Saxon England


  • 52. Hunayn ibn Ishaq’s Introduction to Rational Medicine
  • 53. Avicenna, The Canon of Medicine
  • 54. Avicenna on Prognosis through Urine
  • 55. Maimonides and Galen on the Meaning of the Pulse
  • 56. Al-Rāzī, Case Studies in the Spirit of Hippocrates
  • 57. Usamah ibn Munqidh: A Muslim View of Frankish Medicine
  • 58. Al-Rāzī on Diagnosis and Treatment for Smallpox and Measles
  • 59. Pilgrim Medicine: Qustā ibn Lūqā on “The Little Dragon of Medina”
  • 60. Ancient Greeks in Later Medieval Prophetic Medicine: ‘Al-Tibb al-Nabawī


  • Humors, Complexion, and Uroscopy
    • 61. A Clever Duke and a Cleverer Physician in Tenth-Century Europe
    • 62. Constantine the African, Pantegni: Understanding Complexion
    • 63. Simplified Humoral Medicine in Verse: The Salernitan Regimen of Health
    • 64. A Medieval Urine Wheel
    • 65. Constantine the African with a Urine Glass
  • Explaining Diseases
    • 66. Diagnosing Lovesickness: Constantine the African’s Medicalized Emotions
    • 67. Platearius on Leprosy in Theory and Practice
    • 68. Guy de Chauliac’s Personal Experience with the Black Death
  • Observation and Authority
    • 69. Trota of Salerno as a Medical Master
    • 70. Medical Education in High Medieval Europe (Three Accounts)
    • 71. Licenses for Male and Female Surgeons in Medieval Naples
    • 72. A Woman Physician on Trial in Medieval Paris, 1322


  • Herbalism and Pharmacology
    • 73. Macer Floridus, On the Virtues of Herbs
    • 74. Henry of Huntingdon, Herbalism in The English Garden
    • 75. Matthaeus Platearius: Rationalizing Simple and Compound Medicines
  • Arabic and Latin Surgery
    • 76. Learned Surgery: Albucasis on the Treatment of Cataracts
    • 77. Applying Medical Theory to Wound Treatment: Guy de Chauliac
    • 78. Training and Decorum for the Learned Surgeon
  • Medieval Obstetrics and Gynecology
    • 79. Anatomy of the Uterus, Learned from a Pig
    • 80. A Brief Medieval Guide to Uroscopy of Women
    • 81. Contraceptives in the Canon of Avicenna
    • 82. St. Hildegard of Bingen: A Moralized Explanation of Menstruation
    • 83. Trotula: Treating Retention of the Period in Medieval Italy
    • 84. A Medieval Hebrew Treatise on Difficult Births


  • 85. A Doctor and a Saint in Early Salerno
  • 86. The Life of St. Milburga: Physicians and Saints, Healing Together?
  • 87. Doctors and Miracles in the Canonization of Lady Delphine
  • 88. Medieval Jewish Magical Medicine
  • 89. Medieval Christian Healing Charms
  • 90. John Arderne, Astrological Instructions for the Surgeon
  • 91. Astrological Bloodletting Man

Glossary and Index of Key Terms
Further Reading
Permissions Acknowledgements

More info on the editor website

New Book – Cultures of Healing. Medieval and After – Peregrine Horden by Routledge

This volume brings together for the first time an updated collection of articles exploring poverty, poor relief, illness, and health care as they intersected in Western Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, during a ‘long’ Middle Ages. It offers a thorough and wide-ranging investigation into the institution of the hospital and the development of medicine and charity, with focuses on the history of music therapy and the history of ideas and perceptions fundamental to psychoanalysis. 

The collection is both sequel and complement to Horden’s earlier volume of collected studies, Hospitals and Healing from Antiquity to the Later Middle Ages (2008). It will be welcomed by all those interested in the premodern history of healing and welfare for its breadth of scope and scholarly depth.

Table of Contents



  1. The World of the Hospital: Comparisons and Continuities
  2. Poverty, Charity, and the Invention of the HospitalThe Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity, ed. Scott Fitzgerald Johnson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 715-43
  3. The Earliest Hospitals in Byzantium, Western Europe, and IslamJournal of Interdisciplinary History, special issue ed. Mark Cohen, ‘Poverty and Charity: Judaism, Christianity, Islam’, 35:3 (2005), pp. 361–89
  4. Sickness and Healing [in the Christian World, 600–1100]The Cambridge History of Christianity, vol. 3: Early Medieval Christianities, c.600–c.1100,eds. Thomas F. X. Noble and Julia M. H. Smith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), pp. 416–32
  5. The Late Antique Origins of the Lunatic Asylum?Transformations of Late Antiquity: Essays for Peter Brown, eds. Philip Rousseau and Emmanuel Papoutsakis (Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2009), pp. 259–78
  6. The Sick Family in the Early Middle Ages: The Evidence of Gregory of Tours, not previously published
  7. What’s Wrong with Early Medieval Medicine?Social History of Medicine, 24 (2011), pp. 5–25
  8. Cities within Cities: Early Hospital Foundations and Urban SpaceStiftungen zwischen Politik und Wirtschaft. Ein Dialog zwischen Geschichte und Gegenwart. Ed. Sitta von Reden, Historische Zeitschrift Beiheft No. 65 (München: De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2015), pp. 157–75
  9. Alms and the Man: Hospital Founders in ByzantiumThe Impact of Hospitals 300–2000, eds. John Henderson, Peregrine Horden, and Alessandro Pastore (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2007), 59–76
  10. The Uses of Medical ManuscriptsMedical Books in the Byzantine World, ed. Barbara Zipser, Eikasmós: Quaderni Bolognesi di Filologia Classica, Studi Online 2 (Bologna, 2013),, pp. 1–6
  11. Medieval Hospital Formularies: Byzantium and Islam ComparedMedical Books in the Byzantine World, ed. Barbara Zipser, Eikasmós: Quaderni Bolognesi di Filologia Classica, Studi Online 2 (Bologna, 2013),, pp. 145–64
  12. A Context for Simon of Genoa’s Medical Dictionary (Clavis sanationis): Medicine at the Papal Court in the Later Middle AgesSimon of Genoa’s Medical Lexicon, ed. Barbara Zipser (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013),, pp. 15–29
  13. Small Beer? The Parish and the Poor and Sick in the Later Medieval EnglandThe Parish in Late Medieval England, eds. Clive Burgess and Eamon Duffy Harlaxton Medieval Studies 14 (Donington: Shaun Tyas, 2006), pp. 339–64
  14. Musical Solutions: Past and Present in Music TherapyMusic as Medicine: The History of Music Therapy since Antiquity, ed. Peregrine Horden (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), pp. 4–40
  15. Paracelsus: Renaissance Music Therapy and its AlternativeMusic as Medicine: The History of Music Therapy since Antiquity, ed. Peregrine Horden (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), pp. 147–53
  16. Aspects of Music Therapy in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: Romanticism, the USA, Mesmerism, TheosophyMusic as Medicine: The History of Music Therapy since Antiquity, ed. Peregrine Horden (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), pp. 315–37
  17. The Prehistory of Infant Sexualitynot previously published
  18. Thoughts of FreudFreud and the Humanities, ed. Peregrine Horden (London: Duckworth; Bristol Classical Press, 1985), pp. 1–25
  19. PandaemoniumDemons and Illness from Antiquity to the Early-Modern Period, eds. Siam Bhayro and Catherine Rider (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2017), pp. 412–18

About the Author

Peregrine Horden is Professor of Medieval History at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is co-author, with Nicholas Purcell, of The Corrupting Sea (2000) and of both its forthcoming successor and a collection of supplementary studies entitled The Boundless Sea. He is also writing a global history of hospitals.

More infos on the editor website

New book – A Cultural History of Bathing in Late Antiquity and Early Byzantium by Michal Zytka, ed. Routledge

This book discusses social, religious and medical attitudes towards bathing in Late Antiquity. It examines the place of bathing in late Roman and early Byzantine society as seen in the literary, historical, and documentary sources from the late antique period. 

The author argues that bathing became one of the most important elements in defining what it meant to be a Roman; indeed, the social and cultural value of bathing in the context of late Roman society more than justified the efforts and expense put into preserving bathing establishments and the associated culture. 

The book contributes a unique perspective to understanding the changes and transformations undergone by the bathing culture of the day, and illustrates the important role played by this culture in contributing to the transitional character of the late antique period. In his examination of the attitudes of medical professionals and laymen alike, and the focus on its recuperative utility, Zytka provides an innovative and detailed approach to bathing.

Table of Contents

  • List of Figures
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • 1: Baths and Roman society
  • 2: Baths, bathing and religion
  • 3: Bathing in medicine
  • 4: Final conclusions
  • Appendix
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Michal Zytka, having obtained his MA at Lódz University, Poland, continued his research career at Cardiff University where he completed his doctoral thesis. Following a period of freelance editorial and translation work, he is now also pursuing a career in the Civil Service. He is a co-translator and the English language editor of Cereals of Antiquity and early Byzantine times: Wheat and Barley in medical sources (second to seventh century AD), published in the Byzantine Lodziensia series, Lódz 2014, and of the forthcoming The Bulgarian State in 927–969: The Epoch of Tsar Peter I.

More infos on the editor’s website

New book – Old Age in Early Medieval England A Cultural History by Thijs Porck ed. by Boydell and Brewer

First full-length study of the notion and concept of old age in early medieval England.

How did Anglo-Saxons reflect on the experience of growing old? Was it really a golden age for the elderly, as has been suggested? This first full survey of the Anglo-Saxon cultural conceptualisation of old age, as manifested and reflected in the texts and artwork of the inhabitants of early medieval England, presents a more nuanced and complicated picture. The author argues that although senescence was associated with the potential for wisdom and pious living, the Anglo-Saxons also anticipated various social, psychological and physical repercussions of growing old. Their attitude towards elderly men and women – whether they were saints, warriors or kings – was equally ambivalent.
Multidisciplinary in approach, this book makes use of a wide variety of sources, ranging from the visual arts to hagiography, homiletic literature and heroic poetry. Individual chapters deal with early medieval definitions of the life cycle; the merits and drawbacks of old age as represented in Anglo-Saxon homilies and wisdom poetry; the hagiographic topos of elderly saints; the portrayal of grey-haired warriors in heroic literature; Beowulf as a mirror for elderly kings; and the cultural roles attributed to old women.

Table of contents:

Definitions of old age
Merits of old age
Drawbacks of old age
frode fyrnwitan: Old saints in Anglo-Saxon hagiography
hare hilderincas: Old warriors in Anglo-Saxon England
ealde eðelweardas: Beowulf as a mirror of elderly kings
gamole geomeowlan: Old women in Anglo-Saxon England

THIJS PORCK is Assistant Professor of Medieval English, Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society, Leiden University. 

An e-book version of this title is available (9781787444690), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.

Keywords: Anglo-Saxon StudiesMedieval HistoryMedieval Literature

More info on the editor’s website

Madness, Medicine and Miracle in Twelfth-Century England – Claire Trenery – Routledge

This book explores how madness was defined and diagnosed as a condition of the mind in the Middle Ages and what effects it was thought to have on the bodies, minds and souls of sufferers.

Madness is examined through narratives of miraculous punishment and healing that were recorded at the shrines of saints. This study focuses on the twelfth century, which has been identified as a ‘Medieval Renaissance’: a time of cultural and intellectual change that saw, among other things, the circulation of new medical treatises that brought with them a wealth of new ideas about illness and health. With the expanding authority of the Roman Church and the tightening of papal control over canonisation procedures in this period, historians have claimed that there was a ‘rationalisation’ of the miraculous. In miracle records, illnesses were explained using newly-accessible humoral theories rather than attributed to divine and demonic forces, as they had been previously.

The first book-length study of madness in medieval religion and medicine to be published since 1992, this book challenges these claims and reveals something of the limitations of the so-called ‘medicalisation’ of the miraculous. Throughout the twelfth century, demons continue to lurk in miracle records relating to one condition in particular: madness. Five case studies of miracle collections compiled between 1070 and 1220 reveal that hagiographical representations of madness were heavily influenced by the individual circumstances of their recording and yet were shaped as much by hagiographical patterns that had been developing throughout the twelfth century as they were by new medical and theological standards.

List of tables


  1. Protection and punishment in the miracles of Saint Edmund the Martyr at Bury
  2. Managing the mad: violence, cruelty and restraint in the miracles of William of Norwich
  3. Medical madness? Diagnosing the mad in the miracles of Saint Thomas Becket
  4. Demonic disturbances in the miracles of Saint Bartholomew in London
  5. Balance and health: restoring sanity in the miracles of Saint Hugh of Lincoln


Claire Trenery completed her PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London in 2017. She specialises in the history of madness and medicine, focusing on the twelfth century and the cultural and intellectual climate that accompanied the development of Scholastic learning in Western Europe. She has published articles on medieval madness, with particular attention to the impact of madness on the bodies, minds and souls of sufferers.

Infos from the editor website