Friday Lunch: Medieval Herbals: Tradition and Innovation
Fri 19 Jan, 1pm - No.11 Gordon Street
with Dr Emily N Savage
The history of the herbal extends back thousands of years. An herbal is a book that describes plants and their variety of uses, from medicinal, to culinary, to magical. Some herbals were illustrated to aid identification, and many of their contents are easily recognizable even today. But herbals contained more than just seemingly practical information about the natural properties of plants; they also included recipes for tinctures, tables for astrological predictions, and mythical lore. Moreover, much of the wisdom they preserved was based on texts composed by Classical or Arab authors, and copied down with little regard to changes in geography or climate. Who used these books, and why? Dr Savage's talk will offer a brief introduction to the long history of the herbal tradition, focusing on the medieval corpus of manuscripts, and question its legacy in the modern period.
Donation suggested: £2.
Photo credit: British Library
British Library MS Egerton 747 (f. 16v), detail.