Tractado muy provechoso del anatomia, y phlebotomia de venas y arterias y del anatomia de los nervios, con un tractado de ventosas y otro de sanguijuelas con unas reglas generales para saber los dias aptos para las sangrias
The Exceptionally Helpful and Practical Treatise on Anatomy, the Bleeding of Veins and Arteries, the Anatomy of the Nerves, with a Treatise on Suction Cups and Leeches, as well as Rules for the Calculation of Days Suitable for Bloodletting – this extremely comprehensive title is carried by one of the most important medical treatises to be composed in medieval Spain. The work is ascribed to the physician Dr. Francisco Molina, who is himself identified with the Catalonian title “obrecica.” This astounding manuscript represents an unbelievably precious rarity among the numerous codices of the Middle Ages. It is one of the first medicinal handbooks worldwide that was composed in a language accessible to laymen. The scientific descriptions were elucidated by pin sharp sketches.
The Medical World in the Middle Ages
The informative manuscript is organized into five books, which are already presented in the title. Dr. Molina, the author of the masterpieces, justified the usefulness of his manuscript with the following words: "It is my and all of our desire to avoid pointless bloodshed and to curb misuse, as is practiced by some barbers today; to counter serious aberrations, with which uneducated barbers treat ignorant people; they treat them nowadays for the sake of increasing their own prestige and to show that they can do something, conducting themselves as though they could heal the human body, but destroying them completely through their faulty treatment, also for those who want to behave and learn differently in order to serve their patients – for all of these I have written this treatise, in which I elucidate bloodletting, as it was taught to me by doctors and scholars.”
A Rare Book Treasure
The book, which was composed “for the welfare of the sick, for the barbers, the surgeons, and for all who cut parts of the body”, possesses a special place in the history of literature. It was manufactured in an extremely exclusive print shop and only three original editions of the precious work were printed in this workshop. Each of the three editions contains the following dedication on the first page: “The Vicar General of Alcal de Henares, Diocese of Toledo, and the scholar Pedro de Lagasca have given their consent.” This dedication makes it clear just how far the influence of the instructive handbook reached and elucidates its irreplaceable status in the medicine of the Middle Ages. For us, the codex represents a charming source concerning familiar medical practices in bygone times.