The Tacuinum Sanitatis

The Tacuinum Sanitatis is an illuminated health handbook of the late middle ages (14th century).  There are 5 copies that survive in complete form,  in Vienna, Rome, Paris, Rouen and Liege.

The Tacuinum Sanitatis is concerned with six aspects of health:  air; food and drink; activity and rest; the balance of sleep and wakefulness; elimination and retention of humors; and the regulation of joy, anger, fear and distress.  According to the handbook, the proper balance of these six aspects is required for good health.

The handbooks were profusely illustrated with images of foods and plants, describing not only the beneficial and harmful properties of each item, but how to neutralize any dangers.

The Medieval Health Handbook, published by George Braziller in 1976, includes facsimile reproductions of images from some of the extant manuscripts.  It is part of the Art Library’s collection, one of the many facsimiles of medieval manuscripts in our collection.  Stop by and take a look next time you’re near Schneider Hall.  If you can’t stop by, take a look at a few of the pages in the power point file, below.  Find out how olive oil, sugar, pasta, sage and other foods and plants might be useful to you — or dangerous.

Medieval Health PP

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