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IMC 2019: Sessions

Session 120: Bodies and Souls: Image, Text, Materiality

Monday 1 July 2019, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Andrea Mancini, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Paper 120-a'Geswinc, geswel ond wyrmas': Understanding Cancer in Anglo-Saxon England
(Language: English)
Berber Bossenbroek, Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Universiteit Leiden
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Medicine
Paper 120-bKind Death: Greeting the Soul in 14th-Century Venice
(Language: English)
Sarah Schell, School of Arts & Sciences, American University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Index terms: Art History - Painting, Lay Piety, Social History
Paper 120-cMaterialità del corpo nella medicina medievale araba
(Language: Italiano)
Sara Lenzi, Departamento de Filosofía Teórica e Historia de la Filosofía, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Index terms: Islamic and Arabic Studies, Medicine, Philosophy

Paper -a:
While the Anglo-Saxon medical text corpus has received increasing scholarly attention over the past few decades, no in-depth study of the Anglo-Saxon understanding of the diseases that are known today under the umbrella term 'cancer' has yet been conducted. The Anglo-Saxon text corpus contains a substantial number of texts that deal with the diagnosis and treatment of various cancers. This paper examines what materials were available to the Anglo-Saxon læce [leech] when encountering cancer. Using both literary and medical texts as sources, my paper will explore the understanding the Anglo-Saxons had of different types of cancer, what remedies they used, and how effective these remedies can be said to have been in light of today's medical knowledge.

Paper -b:
The figure of Death made an appearance in many literary and visual genres in the 14th century, often in images of gruesome decay, restless corpses, and vain skeletons. These scenes of Death present a combative and predatory figure. In contrast, in a small 14th-century Venetian panel, Death appears in a role usually occupied by the saints: Death as intercessor, presenting a soul to the merciful Madonna. The presentation of a Death-figure in this manner raises questions about the role and function of intercessory figures, and presents a visual challenge to the traditional combative characterization of Death. Was there a place for a 'Kind Death' in 14th-century visual tradition and religious thought?

Paper -c:
Il corpo, nella sua materialità, fu qualcosa di imprescindibile anche per quei filosofi, saggi, medici, che in epoca medievale, tendevano a cercare e dare risposte prevalentemente di carattere metafisico. In alcuni campi più che in altri, pensiamo alla medicina, tralasciare il corpo sarebbe equivalso a lasciare da parte la disciplina stessa. Ne sono dimostrazione gli studi, necessariamente in gran parte empirici (pensiamo all'oftalmologia o l'urologia), le pratiche concrete e l'uso di utensili ad hoc, di molti medici arabi. Inoltre la separazione voluta da Averroè, tra fisiologia e anatomia, conferì a quest'ultima, autonomia e dignità rendendo il corpo umano una vera e propria RES.