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VMs: Re: Spa architecture and inspirational sources
> It seems that descriptions of individual
> spas and instructions for bathing were originally two different genres
> of writing belonging to geography and medicine (a strict partition
> between different arts and sciences was typical of purely mediaeval
Indeed! but one can still find the ocassional exception to that partition
principle, as is the case of Lorenz Fries and his treaty on balneology.
Fries meets at least some of the profile requirements: he was an Alsacian
physican who (1) finished medical studies in Germany, France, and Italy (in
Vienna, Montpellier, Pavia and Piacenza); (2) was very familiar with the
work of Claudius Ptolemy (remember that unusual Xth Century zodiac?); (3)
was well versed in astrology and (4) the author of an early balneology
treaty describing the methods of treatment by internal and external use of
mineral waters, having visited spas in Baden and Pfeffers in Switzerland,
Plombiers in France, and Wildbad, Baden-Baden, Guppingen, Ems, Geberwil and
others in Germany. Furthermore, (5) his dateline qualifies:1490-1531, he had
(6) great veneration for Arabic medicine and (7) had an interest in
pregnancy and childbirth from a medical point of view.
Granted, so many fit the picture just as well, and we may end up sounding
like those Ripperologists and their endless troupe of potential candidates,
but the odds are that the VMS author, famous or obscure, must have left some
additional marks that are quietly somewhere, waiting to be discovered...
At first I saw the woodcuttings in his internal medicine works and thought,
ok, Fries is definitely NOT the VMS author - but now I read that he may
have not done the woodcuttings himself but had someone else (Apian, Camers,
Alantse) do them for him.
Maybe they have a copy of his book at the Wellcome? Nothing graphic of it is
available online, as far as I know.
I'm also waiting for a reply from Richard Palmer, a specialist in Italian
Renaissance Spas (would you believe there is such a thing?).
With the progressive digitalisation of the manuscript and incunabula
collections everywhere, the systematic chase for Voynichean art fingerprints
has become something of a new sport - and a fun one, at that!
All the best,