Interrupting this program.. Alain Touwaide

Alan Alain Touwaide has put up through three sections of his from a recent publication:

A. Classen (ed.), Handbook of Medieval Studies. Terms, Methods, Trends, 3 vols. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2010.


The sections are:

“Botany” op.cit., vol. 1, pp. 145-181.

“Pharmacy”  op.cit., vol. 2, pp. 1056-1090.


“Pharmaceutical literature” op.cit., vol. 3, pp. 1979-2000.

If you don’t know Touwaide’s work, forgive me if I say “you should”.

The subject is the development of Latin European medicine, pharmacy and herbals, so the texts are pretty much limited to the Latin, Greek and Arabic works, as one would expect. The greatest number of works referenced are in German, but others are in English, French, Italian and Spanish.

The three might have been published especially for the needs of Voynich research, especially for those arguing the “all European content” position.  The ‘pharmacy’ chapter even has a section on the history of pharmaceutical jars, and detailed bibliog. references to various auction catalogues and histories of the same.




typo ‘Alan’ corrected 6th April 2016



  1. On the influence of Ayurvedic sources on early medical knowledge in Islam – particularly that emanating from translations made in Baghdad – see Oliver Kahl, The Sanskrit, Syriac and Persian Sources in the Comprehensive Book of Rhazes.

    The issue of Sanskrit texts and their translation (into Arabic, usually via Pahlevi) is treated in the ‘Introduction’.

    Kahl notes (p.10) that “the old translators and/or patrons were aiming at a more or less full scope transfer from Sanskrit to Arabic of all major pharmaceutical texts that existed in India at the time”.

    There is also mention of the fact that in the process of translation the originals’ metrical structure was lost.


  2. I realise that I forgot to mention another text of importance, not only for its content but the introduction and bibliography.

    Efraim Lev, Leigh Chipman, Medical Prescriptions in the Cambridge Genizah Collections: Practical Medicine and Pharmacology in Medieval Egypt. Cambridge Genizah Studies, Brill 2012.

    I expect that books such as these are likely to prove of far more practical assistance to those working on the written part of the Voynich manuscript than any of the “official Voynich herbal” lists.


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