A classical Latinist has thrown up his hands in despair over an inscription in the ‘Manfredus’ herbal.
Would anyone care to improve on this partial translation, which apparently contains a number of non-classical terms which could not be translated:
The “heretical” medicine is that of the Nestorian physician, Hunayn ibn Ishâq (809-887), otherwise known as one of the Mesue dynasty, generations of which served as physicians to the Caliphs of Baghdad. Translation of his work into Latin is traditionally credited to Constantine, called ‘The African’, who first brought these works to the court in Palermo (not Salerno). Constantine arrived as a layman and merchant, whose interest in bringing modern medicine to mainland Europe first led him to bring a collection of medical texts to the court of Palermo, where his translations were begun. He soon passed to the mainland, became a monk, and ended his days in Montecassino.
So much for Constantine. The thing is that the Nestorian’s name, rendered in Arabic, makes it seem as if Hunayn were might have been a Christianised Jew: John, son of Isaac, a name which Constantine translated as Johannitus, which means the same. One can see how parts of his work might be considered heretical: he speaks of a person as having three spirits, where the Latin theologians recognised only one ‘spirit’ as soul within any person. One doubts also whether the population of the Sicilian kingdom, a majority of which were of Greek, Arab, north African, Berber and Jewish descent would have greatly appreciated that theory found in Johannitus’ Isagogue, by which all eye-colours save blue, and all hair-colours save yellow are said to be a product of disease, or more exactly of humoral imbalance.
I’ll explain how the presentation of that sentence, and the accompanying image tell us that wherever the “Manfredus” herbal comes from, this treatise was abjured.
However, in translation the opening sentence reads:
Medicine is divided into two parts, namely, theory and practice. And of these, theory is further divided into three, that is to say the consideration of things that are natural, and of things that are non-natural (whence comes knowledge of health, disease, and the neutral state), and when these natural things depart from the course of nature – that is, when the four humours depart from the course of nature; and from what cause or symptoms disease may arise.
Which I think pretty much clinches the “who wrote this” bit of the question, don’t you?
Now, since the Isagogue is regularly said to be a foundation text of the Salerno school – at the very least as its second-hand excerpts within the Articella, which collection was presented as “Greek” medicine – so here we see that the “four” traditions of the Salerno school were actually five – the Nestorian subjected to censorship as early as the time of the Manfredus manuscript. How do I know from this picture that he was “censored”? Perhaps you can work it out. (here’s the link, if Gallica permits hot-links.
 Faith Wallis, Medieval Medicine: A Reader, University of Toronto Press, 2010. pp.139ff.