University of Arizona

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Health, Food, Happiness, and Medicine in the Late Middle Ages

The Glorious Tacuinum Sanitatis

Presented by Albrecht Classen, University Distinguished Professor and Undergraduate Advisor in the Department of German Studies. Classen has a broad range of research interests covering the history of medieval and early modern German and European literature and culture from about 800 to 1800. He has published more than 90 scholarly books, critical editions, translations, and textbooks.

One of the most splendidly illustrated late medieval manuscripts, the Tacuinum Sanitatis, was a thirteenth-century Latin translation of an eleventh-century Arabic treatise that dealt with many different aspects of a healthy life style. The treatise enjoyed a considerable popularity because it provided significant insight into numerous medical, dietary, and social issues that formed the basis of a satisfactory life, such a balanced health practice according to the humoral theory. With the Tacuinum we have solid evidence of how much medieval Arabic and Latin-European cultures engaged with each other, the latter being more on the receiving end.

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