Theorica Pantegni . Facsimile and Transcription of the Helsinki manuscript (Codex EÖ.II.14)
Constantine the African (2011-06-16)
Constantine the African
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
The Theorica Pantegni is a medieval medical textbook written in Latin. The author was Constantine the African (Constantinus Africanus), a monk of Tunisian origin. He compiled the work in the latter half of the eleventh century at the Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino in Italy. - Manuscript Eö.II.14, containing the Theorica Pantegni published here, belongs today to the National Library of Finland. It can be dated to the third quarter of the twelfth century, which makes it one of the earliest surviving exemplars of the Theorica Pantegni: over seventy manuscripts of the work survive, of which about fifteen can be dated to the twelfth century. Manuscript Eö.II.14 is written in black ink on 210 parchment leaves (recto and verso), amounting to 420 pages, in pre-Gothic script. - The present text is a transcription of Ms Eö.II.14. The goal is to provide the reader with an accessible text that is faithful to the original.
The Theorica Pantegni constitutes the first part of the Liber Pantegni, which is the first comprehensive medical textbook written in Latin. The Liber Pantegni in turn was a translation and modification of Arabic medical texts. Theorica Pantegni deals with the anatomy and physiology of the human body and goes through the structure of the different organs and their tasks, bodily functions, external factors affecting health such as food, climate, and so on, diseases and their causes, and prognostics. Its underlying theoretical basis is humoral pathology, which goes back to ancient Greek medicine: The human body is composed of the four elements (air, water, fire, earth) and four humours (blood, phlegm, yellow or red bile, black bile), corresponding to four qualities (hot, cold, dry, moist). The characteristics of an individual were defined by the complexion. The complexion differs in each person, and several internal and external fac-tors may affect it. Health was considered to be dependent on the balance of the humours revealed in the complexion, whereas illnesses resulted from dis-turbances in this balance. The maintenance of health and the treatment of illnesses were based on the idea of keeping or restoring the balance of the complexion and the body.