Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: G600011

A Mediaeval Handbook of Gynaecology [...]

Author: [unknown]

Background details and bibliographic information

File Description

Winifred Wulff

Electronic edition compiled and proof-read by Beatrix Färber

Funded by School of History, University College, Cork

1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Extent of text: 27300 words


CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork
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Distributed by CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.
Text ID Number: G600011

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Available with prior consent of the CELT project for purposes of academic research and teaching only.


Wulff designated the sections of the Latin and Irish edition(s) by numbers and alphabetic letters for easier cross-reference with each other. As the Irish translation is not complete in any of the three manuscripts she used, it had to be reconstructed by her. However, some of these letters are also used as manuscript sigla by her; and this should be borne in mind.

CELT is indebted to Professors Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha and Monica H. Green for their support and assistance in compiling the text and ancillary materials, and to Monica H. Green for making available such materials to CELT.


    MS sources for Irish translations of 'A mediaeval handbook of gynaecology and midwifery'
  1. Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 F 19. This is described by Wulff as 'a scrapbook of Irish medical tracts from Latin sources' and 'written on beautiful vellum, richly illuminated, with good ink which has scarcely faded, except a few pages which were probably exposed to the weather. The capitals are rubricated. Some are green, which is most unusual in Irish MSS. The scribe's name and the translator's name are lost. The date given is 1352, which, if correct, would establish it as the oldest Irish medical manuscript.' It was at one time in the possession of the Ó Céirín family of Co. Clare. Digital scans of this manuscript are available on the ISOS Project, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, see: The foliation given by Wulff differs from that now used in the RIA catalogue and on ISOS: Wulff starts at 24v; the same page is numbered 7v in the RIA catalogue, 25 becomes 8, and so on.
  2. Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 M 36 (not 24 M 36 as stated by her). I am grateful to Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha for this correction.
  3. Dublin, Trinity College Library, MS E 4.1 (1436) 101ra–106a. Digital scans of this manuscript are available on the ISOS Project, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, see:
    Digital images of Irish text
  1. The text is available in pdf. format at the Celtic Digital Initiative at the Department of Early and Medieval Irish at UCC (
    Printed sources for Latin text
  1. Trotulae curandarum Aegritudinum Mulierum, ante, in et post partum liber unicus, nusquam antea editus, ed. Georg Kraut (Strasbourg: Joannes Schottus, 1544). (The earliest Latin edition of the 'Trotula'. As Monica H. Green has pointed out, Kraut thoroughly restructured the text, removing what he considered redundancies and inconsistencies; the twelve subsequent editions reprinted his text with only minor changes. Cf. Green, The Trotula, xi–xiii & footnote p. 205.)
  2. Medici antiqui omnes, qui latinis literis diversorum morborum genera & remedia persecuti sunt, undique conquisiti, & uno uolumine comprehensi, ut eorum, qui se medicinae studio dediderunt, commodo consulatur. Index in omnes plenissimus. Aldus, Venetiis, MDXLVII (1547).
  3. Latin edition of Trotula 1586, ascribed to Eros. (Erotis medici liberti Iuliae quem aliqui Trotulam inepte nominant (..) in: Gynaeciorum sive de mulierum affectibus, Commentarii Graecorum, Latinorum, Barbarorum (...) Basilae per Conradum Waldkirch, MDXXCVI. (This contains the Latin edition used by Wulff.)
  1. Elizabeth Mason-Hohl (trans.), The Diseases of Women by Trotula of Salerno: A Translation of Passionibus mulierum curandorum (Hollywood/California: Ward Ritchie Press 1940) (based on the 1547 Venice edition; now superseded by Green's edition).
  2. Clodomiro Mancini (trans.), Il De mulieribum passionibus di Trocta salernitana, Scientia Veterum 31 (Genoa 1962) (Italian).
  3. Pina Cavallo Boggi (ed), Matilde Nubié and Adriana Tocco (trans.), Trotula de Ruggiero: Sulle malattie delle donne (Turin: La Rose 1979). Revised edition of same, ed. by Cavallo Boggi and trans. by Piero Cantalupo (Palermo: La Luna 1994) (Italian).
  4. Monica H. Green (ed), The Trotula: a medieval compendium of women's medicine (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania 2001), 70–191. (Her edition and translation is based on 29 copies, considered by her a 'standardized ensemble' representing the most popular version of the Trotula texts which date back to the middle of the thirteenth century.)
    Select bibliography
  1. Oswald Cockayne (ed. & trans.), Leechdoms, wortcunning and starcraft of early England; being a collection of documents, for the most part never before printed, illustrating the history of science in this country before the Norman Conquest. 3 vols. (Rerum Britannicarum Medii Aevi Scriptores, 35). 1864–1866.
  2. E. Nicaise, La grande chirurgie de Guy de Chauliac, chirurgien, maistre en médecine de l'université de Montpellier, composée en l'an 1363 (...) avec des notes, une introduction sur le moyen âge, sur la vie et les oeuvres de Guy de Chauliac, un glossaire et une table alphabétique. (Paris 1890).
  3. J. Cameron, The Gaelic Names of Plants in: Celtic Monthly (Glasgow 1900).
  4. Paul Diepgen, Geschichte der Medizin. II Mittelalter. (Berlin and Leipzig 1914).
  5. Charles Singer, M. D., A review of the Medical Literature of the Dark Ages with a New Text of about 1110, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine 10/5 (March 1917).
  6. Karl Sudhoff, Beiträge zur Geschichte der Chirurgie im Mittelalter. Part II (Leipzig 1918).
  7. M. Moloney, Luibh-Sheanchus -- Irish Ethno-botany (Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son 1919).
  8. James J. Walsh, Medieval medicine (London: Black 1920).
  9. Dr. Hermann Rudolf Spitzner, Die salernitanische Gynäkologie and Geburtshilfe unter dem Namen der Trotula (Univ.-Dissertation, Leipzig 1921).
  10. Karl Sudhoff, Geschichte der Medizin (Berlin 1922).
  11. Charles Singer & Dorothea Singer, The Origin of the Medical School of Salerno, the First University. An Attempted Reconstruction. In: Essays on the History of Medicine, presented to Professor Sudhoff, and edited by Charles Singer and Henry E. Sigerist (Zürich 1924).
  12. Charles Singer & Dorothea Singer, The School of Salerno, in: History 10/39 (October 1925).
  13. Max Neuburger, History of Medicine, translated by Ernest Playfair, M.B., M.R.C.P. Vol. II. (Oxford 1925).
  14. Theodor Meyer-Steineg und [Karl] Sudhoff, Geschichte der Medizin im Überblick (Jena 1931). Available at
  15. John D. Comrie, History of Scottish medicine (London, published for the Wellcome historical medical museum by Baillière, Tindall & Cox 1932).
  16. Ernst Darmstaedter, 'Die Sator-Arepo-Formel und ihre Erklärung', Isis 18 (1932) 322–29.
  17. H. P. Bayon, 'Trotula and the Ladies of Salerno', Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine 33 (1939–40) 471–75.
  18. H. E. Sigerist, A History of Medicine, 2 vols. (London 1951–1961).
  19. Augusto Beccaria, I codici di medicina del periodo presalernitano (secoli IX, X, e XI), (Roma 1956).
  20. C. H. Talbot, Medicine in Medieval England (London/New York 1967).
  21. Francis Shaw, S. J., 'Irish medical men and philosophers', in: Seven Centuries of Irish Learning, 1000–1700, ed. by Brian Ó Cuív (Cork: Mercier Press 1971) 94.
  22. Vern Bullough, 'Medieval medical and scientifc views of Women', Viator 4 (1973) 485–501.
  23. Edward Grant (ed), A source book in medieval science (Cambridge, Massachussetts: Harvard University Press 1974).
  24. Susan Mosher Stuard, 'Dame Trot', in: Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 1 (1975) 537–542.
  25. Dietlinde Goltz, Mittelalterliche Pharmazie und Medizin (Stuttgart 1976).
  26. Beryl Rowland, 'Exhuming Trotula, Sapiens Matrona of Salerno', in: Florilegium 1 (1979) 42–57.
  27. Ian Maclean, The Renaissance Notion of Woman: A Study in the Fortunes of Scholasticism and Medical Science in European Intellectual Life (Cambridge 1980).
  28. J. Fleetwood, The History of Medicine in Ireland (Dublin: Skellig Press 1983).
  29. Nessa Ní Shéaghda, 'Translations and Adaptations in Irish' (Statutory Lecture 1984, School of Celtic Studies), Dublin, Institute for Advanced Studies 1984.
  30. John F. Benton, 'Trotula, Women's Problems and the Professionalization of Medicine in the Middle Ages,' Bulletin of the History of Medicine 59 (1985) 30–53.
  31. Peter Brain, Galen on bloodletting: A study of the origins, development and validity of his opinions, with a translation of three works (Cambridge 1986).
  32. Richard-Ernst Bader, Sator arepo: Magie in der Volksmedizin, Medizinhistorisches Journal 22 (1987) 115–134.
  33. Marilyn Deegan and D. G. Scragg (eds), Medicine in early medieval England (Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies, University of Manchester 1989).
  34. Nancy G. Siraisi, Medieval and Early Renaissance Medicine (London: Univ. of Chicago Press 1990).
  35. Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha, 'Irish medical manuscripts', Irish Pharmacy Journal 69/5 (May 1991) 201–2.
  36. Owsei Temkin (ed & trans), Soranus' Gynaecology: translated with an introduction by Owsei Temkin; with the assistance of Nicholson J. Eastman, Ludwig Edelstein, and Alan F. Guttmacher (Baltimore 1991).
  37. Sheila Campbell, Bert Hall, David Klausner (eds), Health, disease and healing in medieval culture (London: Macmillan 1992).
  38. Hilary Marland (ed), The Art of Midwifery: early Modern Midwives in Europe (London 1993).
  39. W. F. Daems, Nomina simplicium medicinarum ex synonymariis Medii Aevi collecta: Semantische Untersuchungen zum Fachwortschatz hoch- und spätmittelalterlicher Drogenkunde (Leiden: Brill 1993).
  40. Andrea Cuna, Per una bibliografia della Scuola medica Salernitana (secoli XI–XIII) (Milano 1993).
  41. Joan Cadden, Meanings of Sex Difference in the Middle Ages: Medicine, Science, and Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1993).
  42. Ann Ellis Hanson and Monica H. Green, 'Soranus of Ephesus: Methodicorum princeps', in: Hildegard Temporini and Wolfgang Haase (eds), Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt: Geschichte und Kultur Roms im Spiegel der neueren Forschung, Teilband 2 of Band 37.2 (Berlin/New York: de Gruyter 1994) 968–1075.
  43. Margaret R. Schleissner (ed), Manuscript sources of medieval medicine: a book of essays (New York: Garland 1995).
  44. Lawrence I. Conrad, Michael Neve, Vivian Nutton, Roy Porter, Andrew Wear (eds), The Western medical tradition: 800 BC to AD 1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1995).
  45. Monica H. Green, 'The Development of the Trotula, in: Revue d'Histoire des Textes 26 (1996) 119–203 (repr. in Green, Women's Healthcare).
  46. Britta-Juliane Kruse, Verborgene Heilkünste: Geschichte der Frauenmedizin im Spätmittelalter (Berlin 1996).
  47. Monica H. Green, 'A Handlist of the Latin and Vernacular Manuscripts of the So-Called Trotula Texts. Part 1: The Latin Manuscripts', Scriptorium 50 (1996) 137–75.
  48. Monica H. Green, 'A Handlist of the Latin and Vernacular Manuscripts of the So-Called Trotula Texts. Part 2: The Vernacular Translations and Latin Re-Writings', Scriptorium 51 (1997) 80–104.
  49. Tony Hunt, Anglo-Norman Medicine. 2 vols. (Cambridge 1994–97).
  50. Gerrit Bos, Ibn al-Jazzár on sexual diseases and their treatment, Sir Henry Wellcome Asian Series (London: Kegan Paul, 1997.)
  51. Mirko D. Grmek (ed), Western Medical Thought from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. (Cambridge, Massachusetts 1999).
  52. Jerry Stannard, Herbs and Herbalism in the Middle Ages and Renaissance; edited by Katherine E. Stannard and Richard Kay (Aldershot 1999.)
  53. Jerry Stannard, Pristina medicamenta: ancient and medieval botany; edited by Katherine E. Stannard and Richard Kay (Aldershot 1999).
  54. D. R. Langslow, Medical Latin in the Roman Empire, (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2000).
  55. Fergus Kelly, 'Medicine and Early Irish Law', in: J. B. Lyons (ed), Two thousand years of Irish medicine (Dublin 1999) 15–19. Reprinted in Irish Journal of Medical Science vol. 170 no. 1 (January–March 2001) 73–6.
  56. Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha, 'Medical writing in Irish', in: J. B. Lyons (ed), Two thousand years of Irish medicine (Dublin 1999) 21–26. Published also in Irish Journal of Medical Science 169/3 (July-September 2000) 217–20 (available online at
  57. Hanns Bächtold-Stäubli & Eduard Hoffmann-Krayer, Handwörterbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens. Photomechanical reprint of first edition (1927–42) in 10 vols (Augsburg: Weltbild 2000) vol 3, p. 1523.
  58. Monica H. Green, Women's healthcare in the Medieval West (Ashgate 2000).
  59. Mark Grant, Galen of Food and Diet (London 2000).
  60. Monica H. Green (ed), The Trotula: a medieval compendium of women's medicine (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania 2001).
  61. Review: Vivian Nutton, The Trotula: a medieval compendium of women's medicine, Medical History 2003 January; 47(1): 136–137.
  62. Helen M. Dingwall: A History of Scottish Medicine: Themes and Influences. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press 2003.
  63. Lea T. Olsan, 'Charms and prayers in medieval medical theory and practice', Social History of Medicine, 16/3 (2003). Oxford: Oxford University Press 2003. (A link to this article is available online on
  64. Owen Powell, Galen: On the Properties of Foodstuffs (Cambridge 2003).
  65. Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha, 'Winifred Wulff (1895–1946): beatha agus saothar', in: Léachtaí Cholm Cille 35 (Maigh Nuad [Maynooth]: An Sagart 2005) 191–250.
  66. Monica H. Green, Reconstructing the Oeuvre of Trota of Salerno', in: La Scuola medica Salernitana: Gli autori e i testi, ed. Danielle Jacquart and Agostino Paravicini Bagliani, Edizione Nazionale 'La Scuola medica Salernitana', 1 (Florence 2007) 183–233.
  67. Niall Mac Coitir, Irish Wild Plants: Myths, Legend and Folklore. Original watercolours by Grania Langrishe (Cork: The Collins Press 2006).
  68. Monica H. Green, Making women's medicine masculine: the rise of male authority in pre-modern gynaecology (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2008).
  69. R. J. Hankinson (ed), The Cambridge Companion to Galen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2008).
  70. Monica H. Green, A Bibliography on Medieval Women, Gender and Medicine, 82pp; published in 2010 in pdf.format, available online from
  71. Monica H. Green, Who/What is "Trotula"?, written in 2008, and kindly made available to CELT on
    The edition used in the digital edition
  1. Winifred Wulff, A mediaeval handbook of gynaecology and midwifery preceded by a section on the grades and on the treatment of wounds and some good counsel to the physician himself finishing with a discussion on the treatment of scabies in Irish Texts, Ed. J. Fraser and Paul Grosjean and J. G. O'Keeffe. , London , Sheed and Ward, 31 Paternoster Row (1934) fasciculus 5 page viii–xxvii; 1; p 1; even pp. 12–84


Project Description

CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling Declaration

The present text represents Wulff's Introduction on pages viii–xxvii and the Irish text on p. 1 and even pp. 12–84 of the edition. (The text on wounds on pages 2–11 is available in a separate file.) Wulff's glossary provided on pages 86–98 is omitted. The Latin text on odd pages 13–85 is available in a separate file, L600011. Footnotes are retained and integrated into the apparatus, except where they do not provide substantial information. Wulff's translation of the section on Grades is added in a footnote.

Editorial Declaration


Text has been checked and proofread twice. All corrections and supplied text are tagged. Corrections to the text made by the editor to the original text are marked corr sic resp="". The apparatus has been constructed from the variants selected by the editor. A fresh collation with the manuscripts was not undertaken for this edition.


The electronic text represents the edited text, to which some normalization, marked sup resp="BF", was applied. Missing silent f was restored, apostrophs were added to such forms as d', 'ga, 'na, na'n. In words with a vowel or s in anlaut, h- and t- were hyphenated off. In the manuscripts, long vowels are indicated only rarely and were left unmarked. Forms of do-ni and do-ci were hyphenated; maillere/maillire was segmented. In the manuscripts, long vowels are indicated only rarely and were left unmarked. Text supplied by the editor is marked sup resp="WW". Where mentioned in the edition, the source for the supplied text is indicated. The hardcopy uses italics to denote expansions; in the digital text ex tags are used instead.


Direct speech is rendered q.


Hyphenation was introduced. Soft hyphens are silently removed. Words containing a hard or soft hyphen crossing a page-break or line-break have been placed on the line on which they start.


div0=the whole text; div1=the part; div2=the section; div3=the subsection. Paragraphs are numbered in line with the printed edition, reflecting manuscript usage; page-breaks are marked pb n=""; milestones are marked mls unit="MS ... fo" n="".

Standard Values

Dates are standardized in the ISO form yyyy-mm-dd.


Editorial additions in author's notes, such as 'etc.', 'om.', are in round brackets. Medical and botanical terms, many of which are Latin loanwords (or Latin in the disguise of Irish spelling) have been tagged. In the HTML file, the apothecary symbols for scruple, ounce, dram, the Maltese cross, and recipe are displayed using the font Lucida Sans Unicode, which you will require on your PC for viewing.

Canonical References

This text uses the DIV1 element to represent the text.

Profile Description

Created: The Latin source is extant in a large number of manuscripts the first of which were written in the 11th century; the translation is dated 1352.

Use of language

Language: [GA] The text and footnotes are in (Early) Modern Irish.
Language: [EN] The front matter is in English.
Language: [DE] Some quotes are in German.
Language: [LA] Some terms and phrases are in Latin or Greco-Latin.
Language: [GR] Some terms are in Greek.
Language: [FR] One term is in French.

List of hands

H1 [main (F)] dated to 1352

H62 [par. 62 (=M)] unknown

Revision History