1st Edition

The Medicina Plinii
Latin Text, Translation, and Commentary

ISBN 9781138934825
Published October 7, 2019 by Routledge
312 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

This book presents the first ever English translation of the Medicina Plinii, one of the most influential books of applied medicine and self-medication in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

The work, which predates AD 400, was created as a quick reference work for travellers, and became and remained highly influential, as witnessed by frequent references to it and by various later adaptations. Only the rise of scientific medicine and pharmacology led to its demise and confinement in a small corner of specialist studies. It presents more than 1,150 healing methods and recipes mainly adapted from the encyclopedic Natural History of Pliny the Elder, arranged from the patient’s head to foot in order that readers could quickly find treatments for their diseases. The Medicina Plinii is of dual interest to present-day scholarship: The book is a monument for the practical application of classical knowledge which has recently found lively interest in the history of science and medicine. At the same time the Medicina Plinii provides a fascinating insight into the realities of the world of Late Antiquity, and into the anxieties of the people living in the vast Roman empire.

This book will be of particular interest to scholars and advanced students in the History of Science and Medicine, along with a wider audience interested in medicine, and in life in the Roman world.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction  2. The Medicina Plinii: Text and Translation  3. Commentary

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Yvette Hunt is Honorary Research Fellow within the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry at The University of Queensland. She completed her PhD there in 2013. Among her research interests are ancient medicine and toxicology and their reception in the medieval period, ancient magic, and public entertainment in the Roman period along with the policies which regulated it. In the field of ancient medicine, Yvette has previously published a paper addressing the reception of Dioscorides: "Bang for his buck: Dioscorides as a gift of the tenth-century Byzantine court", in Byzantine Culture in Translation, (edited by Amelia Brown and Bronwen Neil).


"Yvette Hunt presents the first complete English translation of this important text, supported by an extensive commentary on terms and themes in every one of the chapters. The volume also includes a detailed index of diseases and conditions, medicinal ingredients and compound remedies, as well as medical tools and methods, as they are found in both the Latin and English texts and in the commentary... Modern readers will find in her translation a fascinating and valuable window onto healing, trade, and medical culture in the Roman world, and her commentary is a treasure trove of textual comparisons for scholars of premodern medicine." - Bryn Mawr Classical Review