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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.

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:

Both of these editions, from which our translations were prepared, have problems. In general, the 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 ed. 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. Anna Kirkwood Graham’s translations are based on the 1497 ed.; Brandon Conley and Madi Pehringer’s 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 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 substanes 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.