Materia medica from Aleppo

I’ve already referred to this article on the Voynich mailing list.

Floréal Sanagustin, ‘Note su un recueil ancien de recettes médicinales’, Bulletin d’études orientales, T. 36 (1984), pp. 161-201.

If you have access through JSTOR it’s at

URL: .

In French. Commentary includes history of the spice trade through Aleppo including reference to the fifteenth century,the Venetians and Genoese fonduks (fondaco) etc.


Between writing this present post and the date it is due to be published, a member of the mailing list who saw my comment there has put the document up through ‘Sky’.  Thanks, William.

This makes the summary below redundant, but here as intended…

Half the article consists of the recipes in the handbook, the ingredients being given in French, Latin and original Arabic. The Latin terms are sometimes provided in a footnote.

I had thought to reprint this article’s glossary of materia medica, and examples of  the format for pharmaceutical recipes – which includes the original layout, measures and quantities – grist to the decipherers’ mill.

Calculating how much of the article that would take, though, I see it’s over the permitted 10% ‘fair dealing’, so please excuse my giving just the reference.

Apart from having a good account of Aleppo’s history as a hub of east-west trade in materia medica and related things, the main part of the article is that list and very easy to read even if you happen not to read French.

Come to think of it:

If someone just happened to make their own English translation of  that article, and then felt inspired to give me permission to reproduce some of it here, that wouldn’t breach the original author’s copyright.

Just a thought.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s