Praxis medicinalis. Universorum morborum humani corporis, tam internorum quam externorum, curandi viam ac methodum, summa cum doctrina et certa experientia præscribens: hac ultima editione [...]
Near the end of the 16th century, Arnaldo da Villanova returns to vogue. He was an eminent medieval scholar whose works evidently still possessed great attraction, even though experimental science was on the way to undoing the old descriptive medical and natural conceptions. The Praxis medicinalis, in various books, is a true treatise on medicine and toxicology. Particularly surprising is the substantial chapter dedicated to poisons. This work usually appears as the second part of the Tractatus, a summa of the works written by the great medieval thinker, from the smaller works written in epistolary form to the Aragonese king to the more substantial works in which concepts relative to medicine are illustrated in accordance with the preferred canons of the Salerno school. The work begins with an exposition of the visions that one has in dreams and with a short treatise against sorcerers. The Thesaurus thesaurorum follows in 32 chapters. This is, to all practical purposes, a treatise on alchemy that deals with, among other things, the philosophers’ stone and its process of extraction, an argument that seems to have retained a certain fascination judging by the later annotations added brevi manu a latere. The Novum lumen again takes up the argument in 9 chapters. There then follows the Sigilla, a treatise on medical astrology, one for each sign with all of the derivative proprieties, an epistle on pearls, another one on alchemy, then the De iudiciis infirmitatum, a treatise on astrology in 11 chapters, the Cathena aurea and the Testamentum. Next follows the weighty Pratica Aurea Medicinalis, or De Regimen sanitatis, in 46 chapters, a treatise on medicine, physiology and dietetics in which all of the parts of the body are illustrated with the rules for maintaining them in health. In chapters 12-16, the book speaks of vegetables, fruit, herbs and greens, roots and mushrooms. Other contributions that follow are the De conservatione sanitatis, the De conservatione iuventutis et retardatione secectutis, Medicines regales sive Descriptiones receptum, De regimen castra sequentium and then the Commentum in Regimen Salernitanum, a critical treatise on the rules of the Regimen salernitanum. At the end of this book one reads: Hoc opus potatur quod flos medicinae vocatur. Explicit reginmen sanitatis, compositum a D. Arnaldo Villanovano, omnium medicorum viventium gemma. Other contributions are the De parte operativa, De phlebotomia, De cautelis medicorum, the Medicationi parabolae (20 aphorisms for the physician), and then the Doctrina secunda (41 aphorisms), the Doctrina tertia and quarta, the Regulae curationis and the Regulae generales, the Doctrina aphorismorum and the Tabulae.