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The several compilers of Bald's Leechbook

  • Richard Scott Nokes (a1)

The critical history of the Old English charms is replete with examples of scholars claiming that the charms are pagan remnants with a thread-bare Christian garment covering ancient pre-Christian rituals. Other scholars, more interested in combing the charms for magical elements, have viewed them as even more primitive than a pre-Christian religion and have instead treated them as Germanic magic. The first two of three texts found in London, British Library, Royal 12. D. XVII, more commonly known as Bald's Leechbook, certainly do not fit this description. In this manuscript, we find medical referencebooks produced by a team of compilers, perhaps as part of the intellectual renaissance sponsored by King Alfred. Evidence in the manuscript also suggests that the Anglo-Saxons had considerable access to Latin sources of medical learning and also had a well-developed native medical knowledge.

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Anglo-Saxon England
  • ISSN: 0263-6751
  • EISSN: 1474-0532
  • URL: /core/journals/anglo-saxon-england
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