Latin Dioscorides

Chig. F. VII. 158 - Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)

Alternate Titles:

Dioscórides Latino, Lateinischer Dioskurides

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Codiology

Alternate Titles

Dioscórides Latino
Lateinischer Dioskurides

Type
Extent / Format

488 pages / 28.3 x 19.8 cm

Origin
Date
Around 1400
Style
Genre
Language
Artist / School

Author: Pedacius Dioscorides Anazarbeus

Illustrations

600 plants, 90 minerals and 30 animal products, with a drawing of each one and a note of its therapeutic properties

Former owners

Cardinal Fabio Chigi (Pope Alexander VII)

Short description

The Latin Dioscorides is an outstanding specimen of the famous Dioscorides manuscripts. Based on the ancient text De materia medica by the Greek physician Pedanios Dioscorides Anazerbeus, it presents a comprehensive overview of medicinal plants and other natural remedies, their effects, and their application. The Latin Dioscorides, the possession of Pope Alexander VII and stored today in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, probably originated ca. 1400. It enchants with its gorgeous, colorful full-page depictions of the medicinal plants presented and offers a fascinating glimpse into the medicine and botany of antiquity.

Facsimile editions available

Description

Latin Dioscorides

The Latin Dioscorides is an outstanding specimen of the famous Dioscorides manuscripts. Based on the ancient text De materia medica by the Greek physician Pedanios Dioscorides Anazerbeus, it presents a comprehensive overview of medicinal plants and other natural remedies, their effects, and their application. The Latin Dioscorides, the possession of Pope Alexander VII and stored today in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, probably originated ca. 1400. It enchants with its gorgeous, colorful full-page depictions of the medicinal plants presented and offers a fascinating glimpse into the medicine and botany of antiquity.

One of the Most Influential Works of Medicine and Pharmacy in History

The fundamental text of pharmacopeias is referred to as the Dioscorides, which was of great significance from the 2nd century through the Middle Ages. This medicinal-botanical text was referred to in the Greek-, Latin-, and Arab-speaking worlds by those interested in informing themselves about natural remedies. The text’s name comes from the Greek physician Pedanios Dioscorides Anazarbeus. Having served as a military doctor for the Romans, he became famous due to his magnum opus with the title De materia medica. In this pharmacology, Pedanios Dioscorides Anazarbeus assembles information about 600 plants, 90 minerals, and 30 animal products, which are helpful for the healing and treatment of a wide range of illnesses and ailments.

Systematized Medical Knowledge in Gorgeous Pictures

Each of these medicinal herbs, plants, and various other remedies are presented in an illustration in the Latin Dioscurides. The gorgeous, full-page, terrifically colored, and naturally designed depictions are accompanied by a respective text, in which the therapeutic effect are described. In addition to trees, herbs, vegetables, and other plants, it presents minerals and animals, e.g. reptiles, insects, and birds are listed and presented. The outstanding quality of the drawings, both in their technical execution as well as in their gorgeous coloration, make the Latin Dioscurides unique among the Dioscorides manuscripts.

A Manuscript from the Papal Library

The manuscript probably originated in Italy ca. 1400. In the 16th century, ten pages with an alphabetical table of contents of the remedies presented were finally appended to it. The manuscript follows the example of the famous Vienna Discorides, which was gifted in the year 512 to Anicia Juliana, a late-antique Roman noble, and is stored today in Vienna. The magnificent manuscript of the Latin Dioscorides found itself in the possession of Cardinal Fabio Chigi, the later Pope Alexander VII (1655-1667), who was famous for his impressive private library.

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