Peter of Spain, Questiones super libro De Animalibus Aristotelis

Medicine in the Medieval Mediterranean

Book 5
Routledge
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This book presents an edition of the Questiones super libro De Animalibus Aristotelis, a work by one of the greatest philosophers and physicians of the 13th century, Peter of Spain (later Pope John XXI, 1205-1277). He took as the basis for his work the translation from the Arabic made in Toledo around 1220 by Michael Scotus which included three important Aristotelian treatises. Preceding the critical edition, Dr Navarro offers an introduction to the person and works of Peter of Spain, the intellectual context of the 13th century characterized by Scholasticism and an Aristotelian Renaissance, and a short analysis of the linguistics and form of the Questiones. She also analyses the sources on which Peter drew, Greco-Latin, Arabo-Jewish and, of course, late antique and medieval treatises, showing that the text was not exclusively zoological in nature, but discusses important medical and philosophical topics, illustrating his extensive knowledge of both the Aristotelian corpus and 13th-century medicine. The text (divided into XIX books) is not a mere commentary about animals, but rather, as the title shows, a collection of questions in the Salernitan manner, the use of which was considered most appropriate for analysis and communication in the medieval scientific community to which Peter of Spain belonged. Alongside methodological and zoological problems, Peter of Spain discusses important questions disputed among the scholars of the period, including the location, hierarchy, motion, function and parts of the principal organs, the five senses, and many other medical issues such as reproduction, illnesses, or growth. Finally Dr Navarro includes a glossary that contains proper names (mainly those of the authorities and sources quoted by Petrus Hispanus), animal names (and their parts and substances), and the names of plants, metals, and the like.
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About the author

Francisca Navarro Sanchez, Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona, Spain
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Additional Information

Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
May 15, 2017
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Pages
468
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ISBN
9781317081548
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / Medieval
Philosophy / History & Surveys / Medieval
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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This book is the first study to consider the extraordinary manuscript now known as the Carrara Herbal (British Library, Egerton 2020) within the complex network of medical, artistic and intellectual traditions from which it emerged. The manuscript contains an illustrated, vernacular copy of the thirteenth-century pharmacopeia by Ibn Sarābī, an Arabic-speaking Christian physician working in al-Andalus known in the West as Serapion the Younger. By 1290, Serapion’s treatise was available in Latin translation and circulated widely in medical schools across the Italian peninsula.

Commissioned in the late fourteenth century by the prince of Padua, Francesco II ‘il Novello’ da Carrara (r. 1390–1405), the Carrara Herbal attests to the growing presence of Arabic medicine both inside and outside of the University. Its contents speak to the Carrara family’s historic role as patrons and protectors of the Studium, yet its form – a luxury book in Paduan dialect adorned with family heraldry and stylistically diverse representations of plants – locates it in court culture. In particular, the manuscript’s form connects Serapion’s treatise to patterns of book collection and rhetorics of self-making encouraged by humanists and practiced by Francesco’s ancestors.

Beginning with Petrarch (1304–74) and continuing with Pier Paolo Vergerio (ca. 1369–1444), humanists held privileged positions in the Carrara court, and humanist culture vied with the University’s successes for leading roles in Carrara self-promotion. With the other illustrated books in the prince’s collection, the Herbal negotiated these traditional arenas of family patronage and brought them into confluence, promoting Francesco as an ideal ‘physician prince’ capable of ensuring the moral and physical health of Padua. Considered in this way, the Carrara Herbal is the product of an intersection between the Pan-Mediterranean transmission of medical knowledge and the rise of humanism in the Italian courts, an intersection typically attributed to the later Renaissance.

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