Toward a Typology of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Healing Texts
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The subject of my paper is the late Byzantine and post-Byzantine iatrosophion. The first iatrosophia developed in the environment of the hospitals of the Byzantine Empire where they served as handbooks for the daily medical practice containing recipes and therapeutic advice. Later iatrosophia texts originating from the times of the Ottoman Empire, hence from post-Byzantine times, were mainly written in Greek Orthodox monasteries. I will discuss three texts that exemplify the above types of iatrosophia. One, ascribed to the monk Meletios, is the sort of reference text of later Byzantium which appeared in hospitals and was consulted by physicians and healing professionals working there. A Cretan iatrosophion (dated to c. 1800) typifies the healing manual that practical healers of the post-Byzantium used. The recipes of the monk Gimnasios (died 1937), which were recorded by Greek journalists of the 1930s, show a botanist whose knowledge of thousands of plants allowed him to heal people who had no access to professional care.
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