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On the Circa instans: Dr. Iolanda Ventura of the University of Bologna is currently working on a critical edition of the text in Italian.

Ventura, Iolanda. Il Circa instans attribuito a Platearius: Transmissione Manoscritta, Redazioni, Criteri di Costruzione di un’Edizione Critica. In Revue d’histoire des textes t. X, 2015. Pp. 249-362.

Ventura, Iolanda. La “Scuola Medica Salernitana” e la sua produzione scritta: risultati e questioni aperte intorno ai “maestri salernitani” in La Medicina nel Basso Medioevo: Tradizioni e Conflitti. Spoleto: Fondazione Centro Italiano di Studi Sull’Alto Medioevo, 2019. P. 213.


Earlier editions of Circa Instans:

The manuscript tradition of Circa instans is very complicated; it exists in many exemplars, some more complete and some less, and in many different languages. The Middle English version, for instance, ed. from Cambridge, CUL MS Ee.1.13 by Edurne Garrido-Anes and published in 2020 by Universitatsverlag Winter, presents a very much abbreviated text in comparison with the early printed editions on line.

Anna Graham chose to work with the incunable ed. printed by Octavian Scot in 1497 (details below), on the principle that the earliest editions would best reflect the state of the manuscript tradition of the era. In general, this 1497 ed. is more complete, but it is not easy for all readers to access, because it contains innumerable abbreviations and the typography of an incunable. There are a number of 16th c. eds., which serve as a check on the 1497 ed., but are sometimes less accurate than the earlier edition. Dr. Graham used the 1582 edition below to compare against the 1497 ed., but it seldom differed from the incunable and was never preferable where it was.

Hans Wolfel’s later attempt reads more like a draft than a finished product, although since it is modern, it can be used readily by someone untrained in medieval Latin abbreviations. The manuscript from which he worked was unfortunately lost during the Second World War, so it is impossible to compare his edition against the original. The contributions of Brandon Conley (entry on Cyclamen) and Madi Pehringer (drafts of the first several folios) are based chiefly on the 1939 ed.

Practica Joannis Serapionis dicta breviarium … Liber de simplici medicina, dictus circa instans. Practica platearii. (Venice: Octavian Scot, 1497). f. 186r: the opening of Circa instans. Translated from the Arabic by Gerardus de Sabloneto and Simon a. Cordo. GW M41687

Digital version available at

Dispensarium Nicolai Praepositi ad aromatarios infinitis pene mendis … Cui accedit Platearius vulgo circa instans … (Paris: Nicolas Bonfonius, 1582).

Digital version available at Table of contents; title page illustrated above

Wolfel, Hans. Das Arzneidrogenbuch Circa instans in einer Fassung des XIII. Jahrhunderts aus der Universitätsbibliothek Erlangen : Text und Kommentar als Beitrag zur Pflanzen- und Drogenkunde des Mitterlalters : Inaugural-Dissertation zur Erlangung des Doktorgrades… . Berlin: Preilipper, 1939.

Garrido-Anes, Edurne. A Middle English Version of the Circa Instans. Universitätsverlag WINTER Heidelberg, 2020. The Middle English version of the Circa instans is significantly different from the Latin. It is much less detailed, has fewer entries, and differs in its identification of the substances themselves.

On Grades in Humoral Theory (De gradibus) and on humors generally:

Arikha, Noga. Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours. New York: Harper, 2007.

Thorndike, Lynn. Three Texts on Degrees of Medicine (De gradibus), in Bulletin of the History of Medicine Vol. 38, No. 6 (November-December, 1964), pp. 533-537.

 On Botanical and Medicinal Vocabulary:

 Everett, Nicholas. The Alphabet of Galen. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012.

Hunt, Tony. Plant Names of Medieval England. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1989.

Latham, R.E. Revised Medieval Latin Word-List. London: Oxford University Press, 1965.

Motherby, G. A New Medical Dictionary; or General Repository of Physic. London, printed for J. Johnson. Facsimile ed. by Gale.

Mowat, J.L.G. Alphita: A Medico-Botanical Glossary from the Bodleian Manuscript, Selden B. 35. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1887. Facs. ed. by Kessinger Press, n.d.

Norri, Juhani. Dictionary of Medical Vocabulary in English, 1375-1550. London: Routledge, 2016.

Souter, Alexander. A Glossary of Later Latin to 600 A.D. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997.