Perfecting prevention : the medical writings of Maino de Maineri (d.c. 1368)
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This thesis provides evidence of the centrality of prevention to learned medicine as well as wider social interest in and demand for this type of advice in the fourteenth century. It is based on the four major medical writings of Maino de Maineri (d. c. 1368), physician to King Robert the Bruce, master of the University of Paris and physician to the Visconti rulers of Milan. These writings, the ‘Regimen sanitatis’ (1331), the ‘Compendium regimen sanitatis’ (c. 1336), the ‘Liber medicinalibus’ (1360) and the ‘Libellus de preservatione ab epydimia’ (also 1360), for the most part untranscribed and untranslated, are largely biased towards preventive medicine. The thesis opens with a detailed biographical account of Maino's life and his writings as a whole, which provides vital context for the study. Then the material contained within his four major works is organised around four thematic chapters. The first deals with the ideas which underpinned Maino's medical writings: his conceptions of health, his use of authorities, and the way he structured and adapted his knowledge for his various audiences (academic, religious, courtly), perfecting the delivery of his advice. The second describes the physician's role as dietician, advising his readers and patients on how to modify their lifestyles in order to remain healthy. In particular this chapter focuses on food and drink, perhaps Maino's specialist field. Chapter 3 moves to consider the relationship between body and soul in Maino's writings, examining sex in particular, viewed as a reproductive act, a mode of excretion and as a moral problem. Maino's concern for morality and the health of the soul was exceptional. Finally, the fourth chapter looks at the external threats posed to the healthy body by poison and plague. In particular, Maino's career offers a rare chance to assess the effect of the plague on medical theory and practice. By examining the attitudes expressed in his pre- and post-1348 writings, a revised assessment of its impact on medical theory and practice can be made. Three appendices conclude the study: a survey of the Latin manuscripts of Maino's medical and astrological writings, a transcription of his ‘Compendium regimen sanitatis’ and a summary of the recipes included in his ‘Regimen sanitatis’. It is made clear that Maino and his patrons viewed the role of physician as much more than doctoring to the sick, a view echoed throughout in other contemporary sources. The good physician sought to preserve and conserve the health of his household, acting as dietician, moralist and guardian to his clients. Through the creation of his writings, Maino sought to reflect and perfect these roles, to ensure the centrality of prevention within medical education and so to future generations of practitioners.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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