Notorious astrology doctors' 400-year-old case notes transcribed and released online

phys.org | 5/18/2019 | Staff
Fubu_chik (Posted by) Level 3
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Simon Forman and his protégé Richard Napier were infamous in early 17th-century England for their apparent ability to diagnose and even cure all kinds of ailments – from bewitchment to the "bloody flux" – by consulting the planets and stars.

However, for historians who tried to study the notes of 80,000 cases these astrologer-physicians left behind, another notch was added to their notoriety: the perennial doctor's trait of illegible handwriting.

End - Decade - Spent - History - Sets

Now, to mark the end of a decade spent digitising one of history's largest surviving sets of medical records, a team of Cambridge researchers have picked their 500 favourite cases and rendered them readable – if not entirely comprehensible – for modern audiences.

Meet John Wilkingson, hair lost to the "French disease" and "thrust with a rapier in his privy parts," or Joan Broadbrok, who "thinks her children to be rats & mice," and Edward Cleaver, whose ill thoughts ("kisse myne arse") may stem from the witchery of a puppy-suckling neighbour.

Animals - Visitations - Dreams - Marriages - Accounts

Ranging from lost animals to angelic visitations, bad dreams to bad marriages, and accounts of delirium, depression, and lovesickness, the transcribed cases are a trap door into the complete casebooks: an arcane archive of magic and medicine that has puzzled and fascinated scholars of history and the occult for centuries.

The transcriptions will be online today: casebooks.wordpress.com/ . The complete casebooks edition can be found at: www.casebooks.lib.cam.ac.uk , which houses digitisations of all 80,000 cases worth of original notes in the hand of both astrologers. After centuries contained within 66 calf-bound volumes in Oxford's Bodleian Library, these extraordinary archives can now be searched and browsed online by anyone.

Transcriptions - Tip - Thousands - Pages - Scrawl

"Our transcriptions are the very tip of the iceberg: thousands of pages of cryptic scrawl full of astral symbols, recipes for strange elixirs, and details from the lives of lords and cooksmaids suffering with everything from dog...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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