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By Malcolm Laurence Cameron

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Jeauneau, 'Pour le dossier d'Israel Scot', Archives d'kistoire doctrinale et litteraire du moyen age 52 (1985), 7 - 7 1 , at 20-2. About half of the remaining medical material in the manuscript has been printed as 'Das Cambridger Antidotarium' in Sigerist, Studien und Texte, pp. 160-7. 11 The medical material in this manuscript is printed in Singer, 'A Review', pp. 107—60. 33 Anglo-Saxon Medicine arrangement of their borrowed materials. The Anglo-Saxons also had a native medicine, best exemplified in Leechbook III, less sophisticated than that taken from Latin sources, more prone to depend on charms and other magical treatments, but nevertheless showing that this native medicine belonged to a tradition which is still transmitted in folk and herbal medicine and was competent to treat illnesses within the limitations of its period and place.

Although almost nothing of English composition has survived earlier than the reign of Alfred the Great, by that time Old English texts were being produced which prescribed not only native ingredients but others which could be obtained in England only by trade. Let us now see what some of these Anglo-Saxon medical texts were. 19 5". Bonifatii et Lullti Epistolae, ed. M. ' The translation is from Bald's Leechbook, ed. Wright, p. 30. 29 5 Medical texts of the Anglo-Saxons Of the surviving medical texts demonstrably compiled by Anglo-Saxons in Old English and in Latin, the Old English ones are on the whole earlier and more voluminous than those in Latin, and for the most part are more useful for an understanding of Anglo-Saxon medical practices and beliefs.

These remedies all give a picture of accidents requiring medical intervention; one can envisage a fight in which a man was stabbed in the belly, a blow which broke the skull, a scrimmage in which a shoulder was wrenched out of joint and encounters with biting animals. One is saddened by the futility of the remedies. Did the man with the 'folded' skull ever recover, especially after being pounded with a sledgehammer? Of what help was a salve for a dislocated shoulder? Did the fellow with the bashed-in skull survive the removal of the pieces of bone?

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