Bk 1.xxvii.22 Orthography (cont)


I’ve taken the excuse of Isidore’s ‘quotidiae’ to list references for the medieval medical terms and to mention Alexander of Tralles who wrote a tract on ‘Quotidian fever’

For Isidore’s medical information, the basic text is still Sharpe’s:

  •  William Sharpe, Isidore of Seville: The Medical Writings. An English Translation with an Introduction and Commentary by William D. Sharpe and Isidore of Seville, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 54, No. 2 (1964), pp. 1-75.  JSTOR


Medico-Pharmacological terms in medieval texts:

  • F. R. Ransom Campbell, The language of medicine : a manual giving the origin, etymology, pronunciation, and meaning of the technical terms found in medical literature (1888).  It is a textbook for science students to learn correct Latin and Greek scientific roots and compounds. Explained with grammar, etymologies and practice examples for students.  The internet archive has two copies, one being much superior to the other [HERE}.
  • John Scarborough, ed., Symposium on Byzantine Medicine. (Dumbarton Oaks Papers no. 38, (1985)
  • D.R. Langslow, Etymology and history: For a study of medical language in Indo-European (OUP, 2004)
  • ____________, Medical Latin in the Roman Empire, (OUP, 2000) – a review by Eleanor Dickey for the Bryn Mawr Classical Review is at academia.edu.
  • ____________, ‘Langues réduites au lexique’? The languages of Latin technical prose’, Proceedings of the British Academy, (OUP 2005).
  • ____________, The Text and Transmission of the Latin Version of the Therapeutica of Alexander of Tralles,  Journal of Roman Studies Monograph, (2005).
  • ____________, The Latin Alexander Trallianus: The Text and Transmission of a Late Latin Medical Book, London: Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies (2006).


In addition to [Alexander’s Therapeutics] … other genuine works survive. …[one being]  ‘On Fevers’ dedicated to his friend Kosmas.. The works circulated widely and were well received as early as the early seventh century, when they are already being cited by Paul of Aegina. A first translation of Alexander’s works into Latin is estimated to date to around AD 700; translations into Arabic and Hebrew followed. Alexander must also have written other works that have not survived…  (Sources in footnotes to Bouras-Vallianatos 2016. ).

Alexander of Tralles on Quotidian Fever

Alexander’s Περὶ ἀμφημερινοῦ  ( ‘On Quotidian Fever’) is absent from the ‘Latin Alexander’ manuscripts. So too his  Περὶ πυρετῶν. Neither seems to have a modern English translation.

  • Valerie Knight, ‘Simon [of Genoa] and the Tradition of the Latin Alexander of Tralles’, in Barbara Zipser (ed.,) Simon of Genoa’s Medical Lexicon.  (Thanks to the University of Manchester,this valuable paper can be downloaded (HERE)Knight expresses her debt to Langslow (2006) – whose book is not available online but is still in print.

If Alexander’s life or work is mentioned by a modern writers, the following four will be referenced:

  1. Puschmann 1878-9, 1.75-87;
  2. Scarborough 1997, 51-60;
  3. Guardasole 2006, 557-70;
  4. and Langslow 2006, 1-4.

See also: 

  • Carmelia Opsomer, Index de la pharmacopée du Ier au Xe siècle (Hildesheim: Georg 01ms, 1989; 2 vols., 824pp. [continuous pagination].Drugs in the major Latin texts of pharmacy are all included. This is a most important reference for any modern study of medieval medical and herbal texts.
  • Petros Bouras-Vallianatos, ‘Modelled on Archigenes theiotatos: Alexander of Tralles and his Use of Natural Remedies (physika)’, Mnemosyne 69 (2016) 382-396. can be downloaded as pdf through academia.edu
  • Bouras-Vallianatos has a further paper –  ‘Clinical Experience in Late Antiquity: Alexander of Tralles and the Therapy of Epilepsy’, Med Hist. 2014 Jul; 58(3): 337–353 which can be read through pub.med [HERE].


The ornaments – all from BNF  Paris Lat. MS 9332 f.140r,  the oldest known copy of the ‘Latin Alexander’ manuscripts. Dated to the 9thC.


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