Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: G600021

An Irish Version of Gualterus de Dosibus

Author: Walter de Agilon/Galterius Agilinus

Background details and bibliographic information

File Description

Shawn Sheahan

Translated into Irish by Cormac Mac Duinnshléibhe

Electronic edition compiled and proofed by Beatrix Färber

Funded by School of History, University College, Cork

1. First draft.

Extent of text: 19950 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: G600021

Availability [RESTRICTED]

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

Copyright for this edition lies with the estate of Shawn Sheahan.


*The original title is 'An Irish version of Gaulterus de Dosibus'. This contains a typo, 'Gaulterus', and has been corrected in the electronic edition to 'Gualterus'.* I am very grateful to Mrs Maureen Crowley, Leap, Co. Cork, a niece of Shawn Sheahan, who donated a copy of the book, for her kind permission to publish this material in electronic form on CELT, and to Professor Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha who made it possible. The book can be considered a rare book: a search on Copac shows that within The UK and Northern Ireland it is listed in only seven libraries. (Irish Libraries apart from TCD have not joined COPAC.) My sincere thanks are also due to to Dr Mirko Hanke, Academic Librarian of the Leopoldina in Halle, Germany, for sending me the introduction of Paul Diepgen's Gualteri Agilonis Summa medicinalis (Leipzig 1911). I have not been able to locate a printed Latin edition of the De Dosibus; however for digital images of the Latin manuscript Sheahan consulted, see below under 'Manuscript sources for De dosibus medicinarum', no. 12. The work is regarded as mainly derivative. (See Introduction).

Biographical Note: ‘Shawn Sheahan was born in Ashford, County Limerick, Ireland, on January 21, 1901. Having at the age of fourteen completed his course in the national school he devoted six years to helping on his father's farm; a year to farming among the Gaelic speakers of Ballyferriter, where he became conversant in his native tongue; and a year in Musgrave's School, Newcastlewest, County Limerick, and Ring Gaelic College, County Waterford. Afterwards he became a pharmacist's apprentice for a period of three years. In January, 1927, he came to Washington, D. C, where, in October of that year, he passed the Board of Pharmacy Examination. In September he entered George Washington University as a part-time special student from which he graduated in June, 1934. The following September he entered the Catholic University of America, where he pursued courses in Philology under doctors Geary, Lane, and Fry.’

Green, Trotula, 67, translates the weights and measures given in the Antidotarium Nicolai (see van den Berg, p. 191) as follows ‘A scruple is the weight of twenty grains. Two scruples equal forty grains, and three scruples equal sixty grains. Three scruples collected equal one dram. (...) Eight drams make one ounce. And 108 drams make one pound.’


    MS sources for Irish translations of 'De Dosibus Medicinarum'
  1. British Library, London, Harley 546, ff1–11. (For details see Standish Hayes O'Grady, Catalogue of the Irish Manuscripts in the British Library, reprint, 2 vols (Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1992), 171–177. It is complete. A colophon is added naming Cormac Mac Duinnshléibhe as the translator who put the summary into Irish for Dermot mac Donall O'Lyne, in Cloyne (Co. Cork), in 1459. For sample pages see
  2. Trinity College Library, 1326 (H. 3. 7.), ff 1–15b5. It is complete. For details see ISOS Project. Digital images of this manuscript are available on the ISOS Project, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, see:
  3. Trinity College Library, 1436 (E 4.1.) pp 296–310a. It is complete. For details see ISOS Project. Digital images of this manuscript are available on the ISOS Project, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, see:
  4. Trinity College Library, 1436 (H 2 12), no. 13. It is incomplete. For details see ISOS Project. Digital images of this manuscript are available on the ISOS Project, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, see:
  5. Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 445 (24 B 3) (17–28).It is incomplete. For details see ISOS Project. Digital images of this manuscript are available on the ISOS Project, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, see:
    Manuscript sources for De dosibus medicinarum [incipit: Medicinarum quedam sunt simplices.] See
  1. Cambridge, King's College 21 [sec. XIII–XIV (1272–1327)], f. 88.
  2. Dublin, Marsh's Library Z.4.4.4 [sec. XIV first half], ff. 185ra–192ra.
  3. El Escorial, Real Biblioteca de San Lorenzo de El Escorial p.II.5, ff. 74–79.
  4. Firenze, Biblioteca Riccardiana 878, ff. 5ra–8vb.
  5. Kraków, Biblioteka Jagiellonska 778 [ca. 1425], ff. 59r–64r.
  6. Kraków, Biblioteka Jagiellonska 823 [post XIV med.], ff. 98r–101r.
  7. Leipzig, Universitätsbibliothek 1166 [sec. XIV first half], ff. 78v–87r.
  8. Leipzig, Universitätsbibliothek 1227 [a. 1474], ff. 168r–172r;.
  9. London, British Library, Harley 3371 [sec. XV ex.]
  10. London, Wellcome Library (olim Wellcome Historical Medical Library) 559 [sec. XV med.], f. 9.
  11. München, Universitätsbibliothek, 2576 [a. 1383].
  12. München, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 325. USED BY SHEAHAN. Provenance Northern Italy. It contains the De Dosibus on ff 79r to 83ra, 238r to 246v. Digital images are available at the Digitalisierungszentrum of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München (Munich)
  13. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, lat. 14026 [sec. XIV], ff. 89v–90v.
  14. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, lat. 16191 [sec. XIV], ff. 202–207.
  15. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, lat. 6957 [a. 1429], ff. 100v–108.
  16. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, lat. 6964 [a. 1305 Montpellier], ff. 93v–96.
  17. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, lat. 7051 [sec. XIV], ff. 56–62v.
  18. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal 1025 [sec. XIV], ff. 141–144v.
    General background and works by Walter of Agilon (Gualterus Aguilonis
  1. Bartholomew Parr, The London Medical Dictionary (Philadelphia 1819).
  2. Francesco Puccinotti, Storia della Medicina (Livorno 1855).
  3. Salvatore De Renzi, Collectio Salernitana, 5 vols, (Naples 1852–1859).
  4. Robley Dunglison, Medical Lexicon: A Dictionary of Medical Science (London 1860).
  5. Julius Pfeffer, Das Compendium urinarum des Gualterus Agulinus. Inaugurtal-Dissertation (Berlin 1891) [Nach einer Handschrift der Amploniana].
  6. Paul Diepgen (ed) , Gualteri Agilonis Summa medicinalis: nach den Münchener Codices lat. Nr. 325 und 13124 erstmalig ediert mit einer vergleichenden Betrachtung älterer medizinischer Kompendien des Mittelaters (Leipzig: Barth 1911).
  7. Heinrich Schipperges, Die frühen Übersetzer der arabischen Medizin in chronologischer Sicht. Sudhoffs Archiv f. d. Geschichte der Medizin 39 (1955) 53–93.
  8. Heinrich Schipperges, Zur Rezeption und Assimilation arabischer Medizin im frühen Toledo. Sudhoffs Archiv f. d. Geschichte der Medizin 39 (1955) 261–283.
  9. Heinrich Schipperges, Die Assimilation der arabischen Medizin durch das lateinische Mittelalter. Wiesbaden 1964 (= Sudhoffs Archiv, Beiheft 3).
  10. Danielle Jacquart and Agostino Paravicini Bagliani (eds), La Collectio Salernitana di Salvatore De Renzi. (Florence 2008).
  11. Peter Wyse Jackson, Ireland's Generous Nature. (Missouri 2014).
  12. Gian Carlo Garfagnini, Claudio Leonardi, Michael Lapidge (eds), C.A.L.M.A.: Compendium Auctorum Latinorum Medii Aevi: 500–1500. 5 vols. (Florence 2000–2017.)
    A selection of secondary literature (suggestions are welcome)
  1. Lynn Thorndike and Francis C. Benjamin (eds), The Herbal of Rufinus (Chicago 1946).
  2. 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).
  3. Dietlinde Goltz, Studien zur Geschichte der Mineralnamen in Pharmazie, Chemie und Medizin von den Anfängen bis Paracelsus (Wiesbaden 1972).
  4. L. García-Ballester, J. A. Paniagua, M. R. McVaugh (eds), Arnaldi de Villanova Opera medica omnia, Volume 2; Volume 5 (Barcelona 1975).
  5. Dietlinde Goltz, Mittelalterliche Pharmazie und Medizin. Dargestellt an Geschichte und Inhalt des Antidotarium Nicolai. Mit einer Druckfassung von 1491 (Stuttgart 1976).
  6. Nessa Ní Shéaghda, 'Translations and Adaptations in Irish' (Statutory Lecture 1984, School of Celtic Studies), (Dublin: Institute for Advanced Studies 1984).
  7. Tony Hunt, Plant names of Medieval England (Cambridge 1989).
  8. A. Bauer, 'Gualtherus Agulinus'. In: Lexikon des Mittelalters, IV, 1989, column 1760.
  9. Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha, 'Irish medical manuscripts', Irish Pharmacy Journal 69/5 (May 1991) 201–2.
  10. Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha, 'Irish Pharmaceutical Texts', Irish Pharmacy Journal, 69 (1991), 274f.
  11. W. F. Daems, Nomina simplicium medicinarum ex synonimariis Medii Aevi collecta. Semantische Untersuchungen zum Fachwortschatz hoch- und spätmittelalterlicher Drogenkunde (Leiden 1993).
  12. Michael Rogers McVaugh, Medicine before the Plague: Practitioners and Their Patients in the Crown of Aragon: 1285–1345, Cambridge Studies in the History of Medicine (Cambridge 1993).
  13. Michael Rogers McVaugh, 'Medical Knowledge at the Time of Frederick II', in: Le scienze alla corte di Federico II. Sciences at the Court of Frederick II = Micrologus. Natura, scienze e società medievali. Nature, Sciences and Medieval Societies. Rivista della Società Internazionale per lo Studio del Medio Evo Latino Firenze 2 (1994) 3–17.
  14. Margaret R. Schleissner (ed), Manuscript sources of medieval medicine: a book of essays (New York: Garland 1995).
  15. Mirko D. Grmek, Bernardino Fantini (eds), Western Medical Thought from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. [Translated from the Italian by Anthony Shuugar.] (Cambridge, Massachussetts: Harvard University Press 1999).
  16. Jerry Stannard, Herbs and Herbalism in the Middle Ages and Renaissance; edited by Katherine E. Stannard and Richard Kay. (Aldershot 1999).
  17. Jerry Stannard, Pristina medicamenta: ancient and medieval botany; edited by Katherine E. Stannard and Richard Kay. (Aldershot 1999).
  18. D. R. Langslow, Medical Latin in the Roman Empire, (Oxford 2000).
  19. 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) 73–76.
  20. Monica H. Green (ed) and trans, The Trotula: a medieval compendium of women's medicine (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania 2001). See especially the Appendix on Compound medicines, pp 193–204.
  21. 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.
  22. Christopher J. Duffin, 'Lapis Judaicus or the Jews' stone: the folklore of fossil echinoid spines', Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 117:3 (2006) 265–275.
  23. Peter E. Pormann and Emilie Savage-Smith, Medieval Islamic Medicine (Washington D.C. 2007).
  24. Wolfram Schmitt, Medizinische Lebenskunst: Gesundheitslehre und Gesundheitsregimen im Mittelalter (Berlin 2013).
  25. Peter Wyse Jackson , Ireland's generous nature: the past and present uses of wild plants in Ireland (St. Louis, Missouri 2013).
  26. NB: A short text by Iohannes Ibn Mesue is in parts very similar to this. See Traducciòn catalana anònima Ms. Paris, BN, Español 508, ff. 57a–61a, inc. 'Practica segons Johan Eben Mesue' (available at
  27. Juhani Norri, Dictionary of Medical Vocabulary in English, 1375–1550: Body Parts, Sicknesses, Instruments, and Medicinal Preparations (Oxford 2016).
  28. John D. Comrie, History of Scottish medicine (London, published for the Wellcome historical medical museum by Baillière, Tindall & Cox 1932). Available at:
    Internet resources
  1. Dictionary of the Irish Language, mainly compiled from Old and Middle Irish materials: eDIL. See
  2. Francisco Cortés Gabaudan, Jesús Ureña Bracero, Diccionario médico-biológico, histórico y etimológico. 2004. Universidad de Salamanca. See
  3. MIRABILEWEB: Archivio Digitale della cultura medievale (Digital Archive for Medieval Culture)
  4. LOGEION, A Dictionary incorporating several dictionaries of Greek and Latin at the University of Chicago
  5. Alcuin Infothek der Scholastik: a database about scholastic authors, their works and reception. Intended as a research tool and hosted at the University of Regensburg (in German)
  6. The Jesuatti Book of Remedies, or, Libro de i Secretti con Ricetti. Compiled by Friar Giovanni Andrea of the Order of the Jesuati Friars of Saint Jerome in Lucca, Italy in 1562. Translated and with notes by Stata Norton. Electronic edition published by the Center for Digital Scholarship, University of Kansas Libraries, 2010. Available at ttp://;brand=jesuatti;route=jesuatti;.
  7. Johan Yperman (c. 1260– c. 1331), a Flemish surgeon and the first medical writer in Dutch, wrote a 'Cirurgie' that was edited in 1912 by E.C. van Leersum. Pages 234ff. of this edition contain an explanatory glossary. The work is digitally available at the Digitale Bibliotheek voor de Nederlandse Letteren ( see
  8. The Digitale Bibliotheek voor de Nederlandse Letteren ( also has an edition of the Antidotarium Nicolai (including a Middle Dutch version) online. This was edited from Mss 15624-15642 from Brussels, Kon. Bibl. by W.S. van den Berg (Leiden 1917); see
  9. Dioscórides Interactivo: the Salamanca Dioscorides (De materia medica), Unversidad de Salamanca. Estudios y Traducción del Dioscórides, Manuscrito de Salamanca. Traducción: Antonio López Eire y Francisco Cortés Gabaudan. Con estudios de Bertha Gutiérrez Rodilla y Maria Concepción Vázquez de Benito. Editor y coordinador Alejandro Esteller. Available at
    The edition used in the digital edition
  1. An Irish Version of Gualterus de Dosibus. Shawn Sheahan (ed), First edition [1 volume; 185 pages. Preface 9–13; Signs 15 (i.e. variants common to a particular group of manuscripts); Abbreviations 17–19; Specimen pages of the MSS 21–25; Corrections 26; Introduction 27–44, Irish text with facing English translation 46–119, Variants and Notes on Text 121–145; Glossary 147–180; Bibliography 181–183.] Catholic University of America Washington, D. C. (1938)


Project Description

CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling Declaration

The present text represents even pages 46–118 of the book. Endnotes are in general not retained. The English translation is available in a separate file, T600021.

Editorial Declaration


Text has been checked and proofread twice. All corrections and supplied text are tagged. Note: the variant readings have not been provided since their manner of recording, explained by 27 different signs by the editor (15) is rather cumbersome in the edition. Therefore, what is presented here is a reconstruction of the Irish text by the editor, a textus conflatus, including all manuscripts. As the editor remarked (27), the original translation by Cormac Mac Duinnshléibhe is not extant. A number of explanatory footnotes have been added at CELT.


The electronic text represents the edited text. Where Latin text is cited, it is often misspelled in the manuscript (this occurs rather often in Irish medical tracts) and has been left to stand. Text supplied by the CELT editor is marked sup resp="BF". Long vowels marked in the manuscripts (of which there are 106 instances recorded) are shown as such. The hardcopy does not show expansions or macrons for unmarked long vowels. Latin text at the start of the section is printed in italics in the hardcopy. Spellings such as i n-a, ar n-a, do'n, o'n, o n-a, do na, etc have been rendered ina, arna, don, on, dona, ona.


Quotations from written works are rendered q. The citations refer to manuscripts and in the main, have not been identified.


Soft hyphens are silently removed. Words containing a hard or soft hyphen crossing a page-break have been placed on the line on which they start. Instances of nasalisation have been hyphenated off.


div0=the whole document; div1=the editor's paragraph. Paragraphs are numbered in line with the printed edition, page-breaks are marked pb n="".


Names of persons and titles of works are tagged. So are many terms from medicine, pharmacy and anatomy. Words from Latin and Greek have been tagged as such.

Canonical References

This text uses the DIV1 element to represent the paragraph.

Profile Description

Created: The Latin original was written c. 1240–1250; the Irish translation by 1459.

Use of language

Language: [GA] The text is in Early Modern Irish.
Language: [EN] The introduction is in English.
Language: [LA] Some words and phrases are in Latin.
Language: [GR] Some words are in Greek.

Revision History