Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 0391-3341 / 2210-5875
Published by: Brill Academic Publishers (10.1163)
Total articles ≅ 6,218
Archived in

Latest articles in this journal

Barbara Di Gennaro Splendore
Published: 23 June 2021
Nuncius, Volume 36, pp 431-470;

A survey of early modern texts whose titles include the terms theriac and mithridate reveals over 500 publications printed across Europe between 1497 and 1800. These texts present a distinct sequence of medical genres: most of the early theriac-related texts were medical treatises for medical practitioners written by physicians and scholars. Later, apothecaries issued theriac-related publications for lay audiences. Theriac underwent a slow transition from being the object of scientific study to a common drug consumed by patients across the social spectrum. I argue that such theriac-related apothecary publications were fundamental components in the commodification of theriac. My analysis of these publications—especially formulas, virtues, and celebrations—shows that apothecaries reinterpreted and disseminated scholarly medical knowledge, thereby granting lasting visibility to theriac and mithridate.
Sandra Cavallo
Published: 23 June 2021
Nuncius, Volume 36, pp 264-303;

The essay considers the explosion of medical advice publications in the vernacular thatcharacterises the first two centuries of printing, and in particular their chronology and the different textual genres that made up this literature in early modern Italy. It shows that, in spite of the almost exclusive focus on recipe books in recent scholarship, the composition of this literature was much more varied and regimens of health, food regimens, books about the medicinal properties of naturalia, and compendia of medical information of various kinds (diagnostic, preventative and therapeutic) matched and sometimes exceeded the fortune of recipe books. It then goes on to ask what made some vernacular medical advice books particularly appealing to a wide non-professional and non-Latinate audience,while apparently similar publications attracted little interest. To this end it pays unprecedented attention to the full range of elements that determined the appeal of a book: its physical and typographical features, its contents and implicit functions, its author, patron, publisher and geographical reach.
Sabrina Minuzzi
Published: 23 June 2021
Nuncius, Volume 36, pp 199-263;

By drawing on a comprehensive bibliographic census (ISTC) this article offers a mapping of printed medical-scientific production in 15th-century Europe, with an eye to the manuscript tradition, the authorship status, and the use of Latin and vernaculars in a century of transition that was not merely linguistic. It identifies in some titles from the practical medicine category—namely books on materia medica, regimina sanitatis booklets and short medical poems—the crucial contribution of proto-typography to the wider dissemination of medical knowledge. In regard to some long-lived titles (Regimina Sanitatis Salernitana; Il perché by Girolamo Manfredi; Cibaldone), this paper explores the evolution of their material forms in the early modern centuries in the direction of a more enjoyable style that was far from being only professional, while new methodological research paths are suggested. The sheer variety of actual readers is focused in the case of printed herbals and of the Cibaldone. The popularity of such genres is ultimately couched within the lively context of household medicine in the early modern era.
Tessa Storey
Published: 23 June 2021
Nuncius, Volume 36, pp 325-355;

Regimens advising on the management of the non-naturals constituted a significant proportion of the vernacular medical texts in sixteenth and seventeenth century Europe. Scholars however are divided as to the extent to which such medical advice was familiar to the majority of the population. This article shows that cheap Italian 8vo song pamphlets, sung in the streets and sold by cantastorie and peddlers, provide evidence for the widespread circulation of preventive medical advice. Street singers were not deliberately transmitting medical knowledge but assumed it was already common knowledge, a shared discourse with which they could entertain their publics. The article concludes with a brief exploration of whether similar texts communicated medical ideas in France and England.
Elma Brenner
Published: 23 June 2021
Nuncius, Volume 36, pp 304-324;

This article focuses on the physician Thomas Le Forestier’s French vernacular plague tract published in Rouen in 1495, to explore how medical advice on epidemic illness was consumed and disseminated in Normandy and further afield in the later fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. While plague was an urgent issue facing all people at this time, and the publication of this text in the vernacular ostensibly made its advice more accessible than material in Latin, the article finds that it was probably read above all by physicians or other medical practitioners, including those from a monastic or ecclesiastical context, rather than by a more diverse range of readers. These medical readers sometimes assembled personalised Sammelbände (volumes in which separately produced printed and/or manuscript works were bound together), gathering together a range of health-related texts that could be read alongside each other. Although the extant copies of Le Forestier’s tract do not appear to have travelled beyond France, continental plague printings in Latin were annotated by English readers, indicating the transnational dissemination of such material in the scholarly language shared across Europe.
Back to Top Top