Herbal Research Seminar

I just thought I would advertise this event, as it is obvious interest to the Voynich. It is in London on 14th October (with apologies to those far away!)

Seminar on Trade, Discovery and Influences in the History of Herbal Medicine

Website: http://events.history.ac.uk/event/show/14243

Note that the deadline for registration is very soon – 14th September at 9am!

Details of the day:

Trade, Discovery and Influences in the History of Herbal Medicine
The aim of this day is to bring together researchers to explore issues related to trade and commerce of medicinal plants in the history of herbal medicine. Trade in medicinal plants has always been part of human culture. Historiography has tended to divide medicinal cultures into discrete traditions, but may obscure the extent to which they interacted through trade in medicinal products, learning medical skills in the process? What were issues of correct identification, of the quality and preservation of material, of over-harvesting or habitat degradation? A primary driver of early modern Western exploration to distant cultures was to gain direct access to precious herbal commodities. What impact did these exotic medicines have on herbal medicine practice?

4 Comments

  1. You may want to take a look at the botanical manuscripts of Hildegard von Bingen (1098 -1179) of Germany from the 12th century. She is considered the mother of German botanical science. Hildegard was a famous composer, artist, writer, abbess, and physician who founded her own monastery of Rupertsberg on the Rhine River. She had access to and translated numerous medical manuscripts that were in Arabic and probably Greek and Latin as well. She published several medical and botanical texts. Hildegard was the first person in western history to have her name published on a piece of Western music. She was a seer (visionary) and has recently been sainted. Hildegard also wrote in a secret language called the “Lingua Ignota”. I checked, sorry it is not related to Voynich from what I can tell. Still it is interesting that early botanists like Hildegard, wrote in secret languages. No doubt this was to protect themselves from accusations of heresy from the Catholic Church. She was brought before a religious court, tried and exonerated from any charges of heresy. This is because Hildegard was also a skilled diplomat, who told the exulted court judges that she was “merely a weak woman, and a vessel for God’s work”. I have not had a chance to read her book on botanical medicines. It is beautifully illuminated, and may shed some light on Medieval plants, what they were used for then, and what they were called during her lifetime in Germany. She lived about two hundred years before the Voynich MS was penned, so it could be relevant. Enjoy.

  2. I’m sorry that the range has been limited to plants used in western medicine. Botanical materials in general shed much light on cultural connections – vide the eggplant’s translation from its home in India, by Nestorians of Mesopotamia, into China; there several varieties developed there in cultivation, and all three are later seen illustrated in fifteenth-century Latin copies of the Tacuinum sanitatis. The movement of hemp (not only C. sativa) and knowledge of its various uses, is another proof of east-to-west movement and conscious dissemination. Ah well, maybe next time. 🙂

  3. Derek Vogt

    Several months ago, I found out about a Voynich-specific gathering in York and planned on going if it was open to the public… until I realized it wasn’t the York in Pennsylvania. 😀

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