On Cardiac Drugs – Edition by Magdalena Janosikova

Edition by: Magdalena Janosikova

Development by: Marjorie Burghart & Elisa Nury

The Manuscript

“On Cardiac Drugs” is a brief medical treatise in sixteen chapters in two parts, penned by Avicenna (Ibn Sina, 981–1037). It circulated in an Arabic original, as well as in its Latin and Hebrew translations. As the title suggests, the writing preoccupied with the heart. Avicenna considered it “the source of emotional states such as happiness, grief, fear, and anger” and discussed their management. The writing thus enjoyed the second wave of popularity in fifteenth and sixteenth century Europe, on account of the rising importance of emotions in preserving patient’s health.

The Edition

This edition analyses an excerpt from a sixteenth century Hebrew manuscript. The copyist, Eliezer Eilburg (fl. mid-sixteenth century), claims to be the author of the writing, calling it “The Golden Apple.” According to his account, it should have been based on Avicenna’s famous “Canon.” In fact, Eilburg copied out the first part of “On Cardiac Drugs.” The edition thus compares Eilburg’s text to two other Hebrew manuscripts to determine how closely he followed the text in circulation. I have chosen two fifteenth century manuscripts: one preserving Hebrew translation from Arabic (Munich, Ms Heb. 87) and another with Hebrew translation from Latin (possibly the translation of Arnaldus de Villa Nova; Munich, Ms Heb. 373). The text follows the Hebrew translation from Latin.

The digital edition has been prepared by using the method of parallel segmentation, which enables the texts to be displayed in columns. Thanks to Marjorie Burghart, all three texts compared can be displayed as a running text to provide a different reading experience. I am greatly indebted to the whole team, especially Marjorie Burghart and Elisa Nury, for tackling all the issues, which arose while working with a non-Latin text.

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