“Praise be to Christ [that] this is the end of the work!”

Laus Christos, f. 105r, Constantinus Africanus, Viaticum, ca. 1220-1244, Z10 76


Medieval scribes were likely just as glad as we are when a large piece of work is completed.  These four lines celebrate the scribe’s completion of a volume containing Constantinus Africanus’ Viaticum and Nicolaus Salernitanus’ Antidotarium, followed by two short texts regarding doses and synonyms for antidotes, which is comprised of 105 folia (pages).  Even today, writing out 105 pages (front and back) in legible, uniform script seems a daunting task.

The Antidotarium Nicolai was written in the 12th century by Nicolaus Salernitanus.  It is a collection of pharmacopoeial remedies in alphabetical order, the first pharmacopoeia written.  It is likely that Nicolaus, a medical school teacher, derived his material from a collective oral tradition which had been put together in Salerno between 1160 and 1200.  The medical school at Salerno was founded in the 9th century and was one of the earliest of its kind in Western Europe.

To learn more about Constantinus and his Viaticum, check out our first #MedievalMonday post here.