Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179AD) is one of the most relevant figures of the Middle Ages. She wrote two medical books, Physica (Natural history) and Causae et curae (Causes and remedies). Our aim was to provide a comprehensive account of Hildegard of Bingen's conception of epilepsy, of the remedies proposed to treat it, and of the medical and physiological theories behind their use. We searched Hildegard of Bingen's entire body of writings to identify any possible reference to epilepsy or epileptic seizures. We reported the identified passages referring to epilepsy and discussed their content in light of medieval medical and physiological theories. Most references to epilepsy were found in Physica and Causae et curae. The suggested remedies against epilepsy range from herbal preparations to animal remedies and jewel therapy. Hildegard's conception of epilepsy gives the impression of an original revisitation of the traditional theory of humors, and carries strong moral connotations. Hildegard of Bingen's conception of epilepsy appears strongly rooted in medieval thinking and less in physiological theories. However, it differs in many respects to the traditional medieval beliefs and is a further proof of her unique personality. As living testimony of the past, Hildegard's writings enable us to shed a fascinating light on the beliefs concerning epilepsy in the middle ages.

Epilepsy in Hildegard of Bingen's writings: A comprehensive overview

Bragazzi, Nicola Luigi;Martini, Mariano
2018

Abstract

Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179AD) is one of the most relevant figures of the Middle Ages. She wrote two medical books, Physica (Natural history) and Causae et curae (Causes and remedies). Our aim was to provide a comprehensive account of Hildegard of Bingen's conception of epilepsy, of the remedies proposed to treat it, and of the medical and physiological theories behind their use. We searched Hildegard of Bingen's entire body of writings to identify any possible reference to epilepsy or epileptic seizures. We reported the identified passages referring to epilepsy and discussed their content in light of medieval medical and physiological theories. Most references to epilepsy were found in Physica and Causae et curae. The suggested remedies against epilepsy range from herbal preparations to animal remedies and jewel therapy. Hildegard's conception of epilepsy gives the impression of an original revisitation of the traditional theory of humors, and carries strong moral connotations. Hildegard of Bingen's conception of epilepsy appears strongly rooted in medieval thinking and less in physiological theories. However, it differs in many respects to the traditional medieval beliefs and is a further proof of her unique personality. As living testimony of the past, Hildegard's writings enable us to shed a fascinating light on the beliefs concerning epilepsy in the middle ages.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11567/889226
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