IMC 2005: Sessions

Session 814: Medicine and the Life Cycle

Tuesday 12 July 2005, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Melitta Weiss Adamson, Department of Modern Languages & Literatures, University of Western Ontario
Paper 814-aWaters of Birth, Waters of Death: Signs of Pregnancy and Mortality in Middle English Uroscopies
(Language: English)
M. Teresa Tavormina, Department of English, Michigan State University
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English, Medicine, Women's Studies
Paper 814-bThe Impact of Medieval Medicine on Gender, Youth, and Age in Theory and Practice
(Language: English)
Gerhard K. Helmstaedter, Institut für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main
Index terms: Medicine, Science
Paper 814-cLas edades en el Tractatus de crisi et de diebus creticis de Bernardo de Gordonio
(Language: Español)
Alberto Alonso Guardo, Departamento de Filología Clásica, Filosofía y Letras, Universidad de Valladolid
Index terms: Language and Literature - Latin, Medicine, Mentalities

Abstract paper a) One of the most common genres of Middle English medical texts is the prose uroscopy treatise. Many uroscopies present general catalogues of urinological features signifying various illnesses, but at least two specialized subgenres exist within the hundreds of ME uroscopy texts. These two subgenres focus on critical points in the life cycle: birth and death, as reflected in uroscopic signs of pregnancy and impending mortality respectively. This paper discusses the content of these two types of uroscopy treatise, their textual relationships with other uroscopies, and the implications they may carry concerning medical perspectives on these two ends of life’s arc.

Paper b) We owe Avicenna (d. 1037) in his Canon Medicinae, a chapter on the complexions in relevance to gender and age. This system is also reflected in the virtues of medicinal drugs predominantly herbal. There are pertinent therapeutic recommendations in Medieval medicinal textbooks from the Macer floridus (mss after 1100) its vernacular arrangement in manuscripts of the Älterer Deutscher Macer (mss in first half of the 13th C. and after) up to the early herbals (e.g. Schoeffer’s Gart der Gesuntheit Mainz 1485). We find indications for women diseases, afflictions of males in old age and by injuries in daily life and combat and for young children. And there are appropriate dosage rules especially for hypnotic and laxative drugs.

Paper c) The aim of this paper is to study the stages of human life in the Tractatus de crisi et de diebus creticis, a medieval medical text written by one of the biggest masters in the well-known medicine school of Montpellier, Bernard de Gordon, in its golden age (1250-1350).