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

CFP – The Senses in Medieval and Renaissance Europe: Hearing and Auditory Perception – Trinity College Dublin 24-25 April 2020


The Senses in Medieval and Renaissance Europe: Hearing and Auditory Perception

Trinity College Dublin

24-25 April 2020

Proposals for papers are invited for a conference on The Senses in Medieval and Renaissance Europe: Hearing and Auditory Perception, which aims to provide an international and interdisciplinary forum for researchers with an interest in the history of the senses in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.


Keynote Speaker:

Professor David Hendy, University of Sussex

Echoes on the Air: How Modern Media Evoke and Dramatize
the Sounds of the Distant Past

The history of the senses is a rapidly expanding field of research. Pioneered in Early Modern and Modern Studies, it is now attracting attention also from Medieval and Renaissance specialists. Preoccupation with the human senses and with divine control over them is evident in a range of narrative texts, scientific treatises, creative literature, as well as the visual arts and music from the pre-modern period. This conference – the second in a series devoted to the five senses – aims to contribute to this expansion by bringing together leading researchers to exchange ideas and approaches.

The conference organisers have signed a five-book contract with Brepols which is based on the theme: ‘The Senses in Medieval and Renaissance Europe’. The proceedings of our 2016 conference, ‘Sight and Visual Perception’, held in University College Dublin, edited by Ann Buckley and Edward Coleman, are due for publication in 2020.

We invite proposals from the full range of disciplines including (but not limited to) history, archaeology, musicology, art history, architecture, literary studies, acoustics, astronomy, physics, medicine. Contributions from established and early-career scholars as well as postgraduates are all equally welcome.

Suggested topics include (but are not limited to):

  • humanly organised sound
  • music (social and religious ritual; art, leisure)
  • musica et scientia
  • sound and social meaning
  • sound and the emotions
  • sound and healing
  • sound and the body
  • soundscapes
  • sound and nature
  • sound and the regulation of time
  • sound and religious experience
  • deafness and its consequences
  • hearing and medicine
  • exploring the physics of sound in the middle ages and renaissance

Titles and abstracts (maximum 300 words) together with a short biography, institutional affiliation (where relevant), and contact details should be sent to by 1 December 2019. Proposals for panels are also encouraged.

Registration fee €40 (Students and other concessions: €25)

Click here to download Conference Poster.



Welcome Pack

Organizing Committee:
Dr Ann Buckley (Trinity College Dublin)
Dr Edward Coleman (University College Dublin)
Dr Carrie Griffin (University of Limerick)
Dr Emer Purcell (National University of Ireland)

Forum for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Ireland (FMRSI)

Facebook: Twitter: @FMRSI

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

CFP – Afflicted Bodies, Affected Societies: Disease and Wellness in Historical Perspective – 5th Annual Symposium, Department of History, Seton Hall University

The year 2018 marks the centennial of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, one of the deadliest outbreaks of disease in recorded history. To acknowledge the social impact of illness on humanity, the History Department at Seton Hall University will host a two-day symposium on disease and wellness in historical perspective. Some of the questions we seek to investigate over the course of this symposium are as follows: How have notions of illness and wellness changed over time? In what ways have medical progress and discovery been shaped by wars and natural disasters? How did regimes of hygiene fashion social hierarchies or imperial policy? What have been the social, political, and economic consequences of the diseased body and/or mind in various societies? How do civilizations conceptualize disease and miracles within faith practices? How do public health and issues of social justice intersect?

Some additional topics for research papers include the following:

  • Medicine, war, and natural disasters
  • Medical progress, discovery, and vaccines
  • Colonial diseases and medicines
  • Traditional practices and practitioners
  • Professionalization of medicine
  • Cultural representations of health care
  • Saints, shamans, and spiritual dimensions of health
  • Gender dynamics of health
  • Disease and persecution
  • Drugs and addiction
  • Trauma and mental health

The symposium will be held on Thursday and Friday, 7-8 February. A keynote address by Alan Kraut, Professor of History at the American University, will open the symposium on Thursday, 7 February. The second day of the symposium will consist of panels and a roundtable discussion. The symposium will be held at the South Orange, New Jersey campus of Seton Hall University, about a half hour outside of New York City.

We welcome proposals from scholars from all fields interested in the historical implications of disease and wellness including history, literary studies, anthropology, and religion, from the ancient to modern period. Advanced graduate students, early career scholars, and senior researchers are encouraged to apply. Please send a single document containing 1) a title and an abstract of up to 250 words and 2) a short (one-paragraph) biography, to by Monday, 19 November, 2018.

Seton Hall will provide two-nights of accommodations for all invited participants coming from outside the New York City/Northern New Jersey area, as well as meals for all invited panelists. Travel funding may also be available on a case-by-case basis.

Contact Info:
Please feel free to contact Anne Giblin Gedacht at, or Golbarg Rekabtalaei at, with any questions. For more information about History at Seton Hall, please visit our website,

CFP – Experiences of Dis/ability from the Late Middle Ages to the Mid-Twentieth Century 22 – 23 August 2019, Tampere University, Finland

Keynote speakers: David Lederer, Maynooth University; Donna Trembinski, St. Francis Xavier University; David Turner, Swansea University

In recent decades, dis/ability history has become an important field in its own right, standing at the crossroads of the social history of medicine, the history of minorities and the history of everyday life. Conceptions of and attitudes to physical and mental wellbeing and to difference are and have always been key elements in any human society, while the lived experience of dis/ability has varied across societies and time periods, but also depending on the person’s socioeconomic status, age, gender, and the nature of the impairment. Experiences of disability, whether personal or communal, have long continuities in the past, but they have also changed dramatically with the development of medical science and institutionalized care.

This conference aims to concentrate on the experiences of those with physical or mental impairments and chronic illnesses, with special reference to the period between the late Middle Ages and the mid-twentieth century. We understand dis/ability in a broad sense, covering a wide range of physical, mental and intellectual impairments and chronic illnesses. How, then, were various dis/abilities lived and experienced, how did communities shape these experiences, and what similarities and changes can we detect over the course of time? An important viewpoint is also that of methodology: how can a modern scholar approach the experience of those living in the past?

We thus invite papers that explore the ways in which ‘disabilities’ have been lived and experienced, in all stages of life, and by people of different social status and background. The conference aims to promote dialogue between disability historians across national and chronological borders and we welcome papers presenting new research and work in progress.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • How to approach the experience of dis/ability (sources, methodology)?
  • Different categories of dis/ability experience, or what counts as experience of disability?
  • How have society, religion and practices of care and cure defined the experience of disability?
  • Lived religion and dis/ability
  • Medicalization, institutionalization and everyday life
  • The impact of gender, age and social status on the experience of dis/ability
  • Lived welfare and everyday experiences of people with disabilities, e.g. living at home, in a workhouse or mental institution, the impact of various welfare systems.

To submit a proposal, please send title and abstract of 200 words, with your contact information and affiliation by February 15, 2019, at

Conference website:

Participation is free of charge, and includes lunches and coffees for speakers.

The conference is organized by the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences (HEX, at the University of Tampere and the group “Lived Religion” and has received funding from The Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation ( and HEX. For more information, please write to the organizers ( and