Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Wellcome Library Field Trip

The Latin Therapists ventured outside Cambridge for the first time this year, for our termly field trip on 9th May.  We took a trip to London to visit the Wellcome Collection.

Debby telling us about MS.46.
We were welcomed, and enthusiastically and knowledgeably guided, by the Wellcome's medieval manuscript specialist Dr Elma Brenner (herself formerly a member of the Latin Therapy Group).  We got to see 8 medical and astronomical manuscripts.

MS.405, a 15th-century leech-book
We started by gathering around to examine a rare 11th-century Anglo-Saxon medical manuscript (MS.46).  We moved on to look at a single leaf from a 15th-century folding almanac (Elma has blogged about another almanac in the Wellcome Collection here).  And we pored over a tiny 15th-century leech-book, whose author vented his frustrations by demanding liquid payment in two languages!
Nunc scripsi totum pro christo / da michi potum. now haw y vryt alle ghyf me / drynk of gode ale
We broke into smaller groups to look at the other manuscripts, which included some fascinating astronomical texts.  I found the tree of species in MS.306 (see below) rather intriguing!

Tree of species from MS.306

Many thanks to Elma and her colleagues for hosting us, and to Natalie for providing tea, cake and a glimpse of her cabinet of curiosities afterwards!

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