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Prescriptions, Lists, Letters And Their Analysis

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Chapter Summary

Anyone wishing to study and assess realistically the medical aspects of Mediterranean society in the Middle Ages has no other choice but to check authentic, practical knowledge, like that which can be extracted from the prescriptions, lists of materia medica (M.M.), and medical letters found in the Cairo Genizah. The prescription stage is usually missing from historical records for various reasons: in some cases the physician made up the formula himself so no prescription existed, but in most cases there was presumably no reason to keep the prescriptions, and they were torn up or thrown away. This chapter discusses mainly three groups of documents according their contribution to the medieval medicine, understanding its practice, and the uses of medicinal substances: the groups are prescriptions, M.M. lists, and medical letters. Other outcomes from the study of these documents will be considered here as well.

Keywords:Cairo Genizah; materia medica (M.M.) lists; medical letters; medicinal substances; medieval medicine; physician; prescription



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