Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Cod. 2396

Vienna Tacuinum Sanitatis Facsimile Edition

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Codex Vindobonensis 2396 is defined by scholars as a Tacuinum Sanitatis, a book on the theme of health in tabular form. These kind of books drew their inspiration from the 'Taqwin As-Sihha,' a medical handbook penned by Arab physician Ibn Bôtlan in mid-eleventh century Baghdad. The original Arabic text was subsequently translated into Latin: the translation was likely commissioned by King Manfred of Sicily (1258-1266).

294 Exceptional Illuminations

This Tacuinum Sanitatis is possibly the most complete and accurately crafted collection of medical cures from the central Middle Ages. Meant for domestic use, each one of its eighty-two pages includes four depictions that flank and explain the corresponding text. In the Tacuinum, the reader can find both curious healing methods (some of which are still valid nowadays), but also particularly entertaining quotations.

The Medieval Composition of Matter

According to Classical tradition, mainly found in the works of Aristotle and Plato, matter is made up of four elements, which physics nowadays term 'aggregation states.' The theory of the four elements (earth, water, air, and fire) later transitioned into the 'theory of the four humours': according to it, an illness was thought to be the consequence of a turmoil in the body's fluids. Therefore, healing methods like the ones found in the Tacuinum Sanitatis aimed at restoring the 'humoral balance' in the body.

Astoundingly Modern

For the modern readers, the Tacuinum Sanitatis is still incredibly efficacious. In it, they can find a wealth of information regarding the best ways for leading a healthy life which seems to have been written only a few years ago. Tough the works of the old "meysters" have long fallen into oblivion, the Tacuinum is a mirror to continuity between the medieval world and modern times.

We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Vienna Tacuinum Sanitatis": Das Tacuinum Sanitatis facsimile edition, published by Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA), 1984

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Manuscript book description compiled by the publisher.
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Das Tacuinum Sanitatis

Graz: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA), 1984

  • Commentary (German) by Rössl, Joachim; Konrad, Heinrich; Hermann, Julius H.
  • Limited Edition: 980 copies
  • Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document, Vienna Tacuinum Sanitatis: the facsimile attempts to replicate the look-and-feel and physical features of the original document; pages are trimmed according to the original format; the binding might not be consistent with the current document binding.

The commentary volume (in German, 184 pp.) features a codicological description, a medicohistorical introduction, and a translation of the text. The facsimile edition also includes a short English summary containing a brief introduction to the original manuscript and a table of contents.

Facsimile and commentary volume in a solid slip case.



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