Practical medicine

  1. Regimen sanitatis ad regem Aragonum (“Health regiment for the King of Aragon”, 1305-1308): This is a living regimen to conserve the health of King Jaume II, which is adapted to the king’s individual constitution and physical and everyday conditions; in fact it includes a chapter on the haemorrhoids from which he suffered. It includes hygiene advice on the factors that affect health, such as where the court should be set up, exercise, bathing, eating, drinking, sound and emotions. Even though the regimen is clearly focused on one person, thanks to its simple, clear and concise style it is intelligible to laypeople as well and became one of Arnau’s most popular and widely disseminated texts, as shown by the numerous manuscripts found around Europe and its translations into Catalan and Hebrew. The first translation, into Catalan, was entrusted by Queen Blanca to the surgeon Berenguer de Sarriera in 1310. We know of the existence of four medieval translations into Hebrew and a modern one into Spanish by Jerónimo de Mondragón (1610).  
  2. Regimen Almariae (“Regiment of Almería”) o Regimen castra sequentium (“Regiment of those who follow the encampments”) is a brief leaflet which might be the first treatise from the Middle Ages that provides hygiene and health advice for campaigning armies. It was written in 1310 on the occasion of Jaume II’s crusade to Almería, but written en route to this city and delivered once the siege was over. 
  3. Practica summaria (“Summary practice”) is a brief compendium of treatments for 31 frequent illnesses, 20 organised according to the conventional order from the head to the feet, and 11 by fevers and other disorders not localised in a specific part of the body. Written in a very concise way with a simple, direct style, despite its modest ambition, this is probably the most complete work conserved which helps us to understand how Arnau practised medical. It might have been translated into Catalan during the author’s lifetime. Some of the manuscripts that make up this work have a dedication to the prior of Sant Baudilus of Nîmes, while others are addressed – less credibly – to Clement V.
  4. Pars operativa o De parte operativa (“Operative part”) is a medical practice compendium of as a companion to the theoretical Speculum medicinae. It was meant to be general and was organised from head to feet, but it was left incomplete upon the author’s death. The only thing to reach us is the introduction, which offers a reflection on the nature of medicine and the relationship between a sign and illness, and the first part, which is devoted to mental ailments. Remaining faithful to Galen orthodoxy, psychological ailments are attributed to organic alterations.
  5. El Regimen podagrae (“Treatment of gout”) is one of the first examples of the genre of consilium or specific treatment targeted at a given person, in this case a person suffering from gout. Among the many dietetic and pharmacological measures, there are some astrological indications for bleeding and other remedies based on natural magic.

 

Casa de banys Illustration: The health regimens regulated wealthy patients’ lifestyle, not only in aspects like food but also in bathing, sex and the pleasures that could have positive effects on their mood, such as music and social activity. Bath house according to a miniature. Facta et dicta memorabilia de Valerius Maximus (f. 244), c. 1470, Staatsbibliothek, Berlín-Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Depot Breslau 2). Source: WTF Art History.
Campus d'excel·lència internacional U A B