Corpus: Representing the Body in Medieval Manuscripts
The Middle Ages was period of transition in the history of medicine. Through the study of medieval manuscripts, we can see how anatomical researchers re-examined the medical texts of antiquity, such as those of Galen and Hippocrates. From the eleventh century, there was surge in the retrieval and re-editing of late-antique texts and the translation of new Arabic and Greek texts into Latin. By the end of the fifteenth century, human dissection had become normalised in the medical curriculum. It was in the midst of redefining the relationship between theoretical and practical medicine, classical and medieval knowledge, and the role of texts and dissection in understanding the inner workings of human anatomy, that the following images of the medical body were produced. From them, we can detect a range of influences: Islamic images, antique and early-medieval manuscripts, and, in some cases, new observations.
By looking at how the body was depicted in medieval manuscripts, Corpus explores ideas central to medieval understandings of medicine and what we can learn from medieval images and their relationship to the texts that accompany them.
If you'd like to explore this topic further, a bibliography can be downloaded from the 'Simple Systems' unit.