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Animals in medical experiments in the Middle Ages

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This work-in-progress paper discusses the medical uses of animals in three medieval ‘books of experiments’ from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries: The Book of Experiments, The Secrets of Galen and The Book of Sixty Animals. Animal preparations were a fundamental part of medical and magical practice in the Middle Ages and I wish to ascertain which animals were believed to have particular efficacious properties, and what explanations for their powers were given or can be inferred. I will also examine the relationship between the early medieval tradition regarding the properties of animals and changes due to the availability of new texts.

This talk is part of the Cabinet of Natural History series.

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