Lorscher Arzneibuch - Staatsbibliothek Bamberg Msc.Med.1

Staatsbibliothek Bamberg


The Lorsch Arzneibuch is the oldest book on monastic medicine which has been preserved from the mediaeval West. It was created at the beginning of the ninth century in the Benedictine Abbey Lorsch in Southern Hesse. The manuscript is a unique witness for the reappraisal of ancient medicine during the period of the Carolingian Renaissance. For the first time, the knowledge of ancient pagan medicine is connected with Christian tenets of belief. Since then, the treatment of the sick was no longer regarded as an inadmissible human intervention into God's salvation plan, but as an act of due Christian charity. On 150 pages, the Lorsch Arzneibuch collects diverse Latin writings on medicinal theory and practice, thus serving both as a reference work and as an introductory textbook. The main part of the manuscript comprises 482 recipes for medicinal products. Later additions and marginal notes in Old High German attest to its continuous use during the ninth and tenth centuries. The book also contains the only known (partial) catalogue of an imperial library of the early Middle Ages, noted down by Leo of Vercelli (d. 1026), teacher and confidant of Emperor Otto III. After the early death of Otto III in 1002, the manuscript became the property of Emperor Henry II, who donated it to the Cathedral Library of the bishopric of Bamberg, which he had founded in 1007. During the secularisation of 1802/03, the codex was transferred to the Kurfürstliche Bibliothek (Electoral Library) Bamberg, today's Staatsbibliothek (State Library) Bamberg. In 2013, the manuscript was accepted by the international committee of the UNESCO programme "Memory of the World" for inclusion in the register of world document heritage. // Datum: 2017

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