Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Hayden D.
Studia Hibernica
Attribution and Authority in a Medieval Irish Medical Compendium
Optional Fields
© 2019 Liverpool University Press. All rights reserved. This contribution will examine some aspects of an unpublished Irish medical compendium that consists mainly of herbal prescriptions for various ailments, broadly arranged in the a capite ad calcem order typical of medical treatises from both the early and later medieval periods. The collection in question is remarkable for the fact that it includes several recipes cast in verse form, as well as a number of charms, the latter of which have received the bulk of the very limited scholarly attention that has thus far been devoted to the text. An equally noteworthy aspect of this compendium is that it contains a relative paucity of references to the standard medical authorities of the university curriculum, a feature that sets it apart from many other medieval Irish translations of, or commentaries on, Latin medical texts. Particularly striking is the fact that, of the comparatively small number of references to medical authorities that do occur in the compendium, the majority invoke the Irish healer Dían Cécht and other figures of the mythological race known as the Túatha Dé Danann, whose activities are well attested in a range of other medieval Irish textual sources. The following discussion aims to shed light not only on the nature of this compendium as a whole but also on that of vernacular Irish medical writing more widely, by examining the use and context of authoritative citations within the work.
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