The life and legend of Giles of Santarem, Dominican friar and physician (d.1265) : a perspective on medieval Portugal
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"One of the aims of this thesis is to establish the medical background of Giles of Santarem; it does not attempt a full survey of medicine in medieval Portugal. In order to do this it has been necessary to bring together a wide variety of primary and secondary sources which are essential to the reconstruction of Giles' intellectual milieu. In so doing, it is hoped that this will provide an introduction to the relatively neglected topic of medieval Portuguese medicine. Until the 1980s, references to Giles of Santarem were either found in medical studies Such as those described above, or in works of Dominican history. Since then the Dominican perspective has been strengthened, but largely as a result of the publication of editions of sixteenth-century Dominican vitae. First of all in 1981-2, Aires Nascimento produced an edition of the ‘Vita beati Gilii Sanctarenensis’ of Baltazar de Sao Joao. This was followed in 1995 by the critical edition of the ‘De conversione miranda D. Aegidii Lusitani’ of André de Resende by Virginia Soares Pereira. The former editor is a medievalist with a firm interest in social and intellectual history, but he makes no indepth study of the text; the latter is primarily interested in the early-modern context of the author and makes only a cursory study of the medieval basis of the vita. These texts are probably the most important sources for the life of Giles of Santarem and considerable effort is taken to establish the reliability of such late sources and examine the complex process of legend-building that they reveal. Other recent work on Giles of Santarem has largely been carried out by local historians, particularly of Santarem and Vouzela, Giles' traditional place of birth. The most significant, and scholarly, of these is the aforementioned exhibition catalogue ‘S. Frei Gile a sua Época’. This very recent interest suggests that there has been a realization that Giles of Santarem had far more importance in medieval Portugal than has hitherto been accorded him. His life, as will be shown, opens a window onto many vistas: early Dominican settlement, genealogy, education, medical treatment, dissemination of texts, the politics of the civil war, hagiography, and historiography... Historians need to realize that the study of medieval Iberia makes little sense without an appreciation of all the Iberian kingdoms. Portugal may have been in extremis mundi in the Middle Ages, but it was certainly very much part of the medieval world and needs to be studied, both for its own contribution to European history and for the influence the wider world had on the development of its society and institutions. The following in-depth study of the life and legend of Giles of Santarem seeks to provide a key to this approach." -- from the Introduction
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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