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  • Wound man image.

    Wound man Part 1: origins

    12/08/2016

    The ‘wound man’ is an enigmatic and troubling figure from the world of medieval and early modern medical manuscripts.     Staring impassively out of the page, he bears a multitude of graphic wounds. His skin is covered in bleeding… Continue reading

  • John Dee's crystal.

    John Dee’s crystal

    19/07/2016

    John Dee (1527–1609) is a man who continues to fascinate us today. As discussed in a previous post, Dee was involved in a large and varied number of activities. He advised Queen Elizabeth I on astrological and scientific matters, published… Continue reading

  • Image of childbirth in early printed book

    Bawling babies and their baths in early modern England

    21/06/2016

    Galenic and Hippocratic medical traditions did not see all bodies as the same. Indeed, recent work by Hannah Newton has shown that early modern physicians treated and perceived children as ‘physiologically distinct’ from adults. Children, including infants, were moist, warm… Continue reading

  • Woodcut of swimming.

    Health and well-being: Early Medicine’s new theme

    07/06/2016

    The preservation of health and prevention of illness were major preoccupations in the ancient, medieval and early modern worlds. Since medical intervention to combat sickness could be both expensive and dangerous, it was preferable to take steps to avoid becoming… Continue reading

  • Astrological image from incunabulum.

    Incunabula and medicine: a workshop

    12/05/2016

    On Friday 20 May 2016 the Wellcome Library will host a one-day workshop on incunabula and medicine. This event will reflect broadly on the relationship between the earliest printed books and medicine. Topics will include: medical illustration in incunabula; the… Continue reading

  • Shakespearean ‘simples’

    11/05/2016

    Dr Richard Aspin searched our 17th century recipe books to find out more about the herbal medicine found in Shakespeare’s plays. This is the last of our series of Shakespeare related blog posts. Locally harvested wild herbs were the foundation… Continue reading

  • Tree in medieval manuscript.

    Spotlight: a medieval tree of knowledge

    20/04/2016

    Like modern-day students, medieval people used diagrams and images to reinforce learning and memorisation. In long and complex philosophical manuscripts, occasionally an image was used to break the monotony of reading. The tree diagram considered here was part of a… Continue reading

  • Painting of John Dee.

    ‘Doctor’ Dee: John Dee and medical practice

    08/04/2016

    John Dee (1527–1609) was a true Renaissance polymath. He pursued many different branches of learning, including medicine. The current Royal College of Physicians (RCP) exhibition, ‘Scholar, courtier, magician: the lost library of John Dee’, explores Dee’s life and legacy through… Continue reading

  • Plastic surgery 1597 image.

    Beauty and the hospital: call for papers

    23/03/2016

    Paper proposals are invited for the eleventh conference of the International Network for the History of Hospitals, which will take place in Malta, 6–8 April 2017, hosted by the Mediterranean Institute at the University of Malta, and the University of… Continue reading

  • Fragment from 1562 almanac.

    The origins of the English almanac

    11/03/2016

    Almanacs have a long association with medicine. Potted health advice lent itself to inclusion in the sort of cheap booklets for a mass market that proliferated under the name ‘Almanack’ from the 16th century onwards. But what exactly is an… Continue reading