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Re: Ludovico Albertini - author of the VMS?

    > [Nich Pelling] Ludovico Albertini or Lucio Bellenti? 
    > What were their non-Latinised names? 

Those names are plain Italian (Tuscan), not Latin; and fairly common
ones, in fact, for that time and place --- except "Bellenti", which,
although I don't recall seeing it before, still looks and sounds like
a native Italian family name.

It is true that Italians have the habit of Italianizing (rather than
Latinizing) foreign names, either by sound or by meaning --- as in
"Ruggiero Baccone", "Giovanni di Sacrobosco" (John of
Holywood), "Niccolò Copernico" (Mikolaj Kopernik), or "Giovanni Acuto"
(John Hawkwood). However, such names rarely have the "i" (plural)
ending of "Albertini" and "Bellenti", which implicitly means "from the
..... family".

    > Anyway, back to the VMS: if the herbal images are anything
    > to go by, she seems to have been an empiric herbalist
    > rather than a theoretical one
Here are some tidbits found in the net, with my translation from
Italian into English, sort of. Note the use of sunflower in one
of her recipes!

    The experiments of Catherine Sforza
    by Patrizia Catellani

      In her tormented life, unstable and even full of excesses,
      her faith in the pharmaceutical art and its practice were a
      fixed point.
      Her unbounded curiosity for the sciences and alchemy led
      her to perform endless experiments, which she based on the
      works of Ludovico Albertini, a herbalist from Forlì.
      Macchiavelli tells how she, at twenty-five, [was] besieged
      in the castle, while her six children were taken hostage.
      To show that she would not submit to that threat, she
      raised her skirt showing her genitals, and said "I can make
      more of them!"
      With the same determination Catherine workid in search for
      remedies which would cure all diseases. She collected the
      formulas from her experiments in a manuscript, written in
      common Italian, which, after her death, passed on to her
      son Giovanni de' Medici, that of the Black Bands.

      The manuscript comprises 454 recipes of which 358 are about
      medicine, 30 about chemistry, and 66 about cosmetics.
      In 1525 count Antonio Cuppano from Montefalco made a copy
      of the manuscript, presently in private hands, which
      reached us with the title "Experiments of the Most
      Excellent Lady Catherine from Forlì mother of the Most
      Illustrious Lord Giovanni of Medici" ["Experimenti de la
      Exellentissima Signora Caterina da Furlj matre de lo
      Illuxtrissimo Signor Giovanni de Medici"]

      This recipe book may be the most complete document known on
      the medicine and cosmetic art of the XV century.
      In many recipes we find mention of drugs still used today
      in herbal medicine, such as Mary's thistle [? cardo
      mariano]; one finds even important inventions, such as that
      of surgical anesthesia, possibly the most important in the
      whole book:
         "To make a person sleep in such fashion that you will 
         be able to operate in surgery anything you wish and 
         he will not feel you and it is proven [et est probatum]"

      The composite that Catherine describes, at the end of the
      1400's, is very similar to that of an anesthetic, based on
      oppium, juice from green [or bitter] blackberries, leaves
      of mandrake, of ivy, and of other plants, which is found in
      a 9th century manuscript kept by the Montecassino Monastery
      and also in a surgery handbook published at Bologna in

      In the manuscript one finds also recipes which leave in us
      quite a few question marks, such as the one to cure every
      kind of fever (said to have been tried even by Cosimo de'
      Medici), based on wolf droppings dried in the sun, ground
      to powder and given to the patient to drink in beef broth.

      As for cosmetics, reading Catherine's experiments, one
      would think that aesthetic problems of five hundred years
      ago are basically the same as of today! Thus we find
      formulations to darken the skin, lose weight, lift up
      sagging flesh, remove body hair, and even to color hair and
      made it curly.

      Da: "Experimenti de la           From: "Experiments of the Most  
      Exellentissima Signora           Excellent Lady Catherine from   
      Caterina da Furlj matre de lo    Forlì mother of the Most        
      Illuxtrissimo Signor Giovanni    Illustrious Lord Giovanni of    
      de Medici"                       Medici"                         
      [[Selected recipes follow. Note: the Italian file seems to have 
      many OCR-like errors --stolfi]]

        Viso, mani e pelle              Face, hands, and skin                
        Aqua a fare la faccia           Water to make the face most          
        bianchissima et bella et        white and beautiful and              
        lucente et colorita:            shining and colorful:                
        piglia chiara de ove et         take egg white and get it            
        falla distillar in alambicco    distilled in a still and             
        et con quella aqua lava la      with said water wash the             
        faccia che è perfectissiina     face which is most perfect           
        a far bella et leva tutti li    to make beautiful and                
        segni et cicatrici.             removes all marks and scars.         
        Contro la rosseza de viso       Against the redness of face          
        per causa sole et crepature:    by cause of sun and cracks           
        piglia cerusica [una biacca,    take cerusite [PbCO3, a white               
        usata nell'antichità come       pigment used in ancient              
        belletto -- nda] et aqua de     times as face powder --ed.]          
        rosa et oleo violato ed         and rose water and violet            
        incorpora insieme et mestica    oil and incorporate together         
        bene poi ogniti la faccia et    and blend well then anoint           
        è perfectissimma.               the face and it is most              
        A levar le lentigine:           To remove freckles:                  
        piglia galbano et               take galbanum 
        mestica et fallo a modo de      and grind and make it into           
        unguento et quando vai a        anointment and when you go           
        dormire ognete la faccia et     to sleep apply to the face           
        la matina lavate con aqua       and in the morning wash with         
        chiara.                         clear water.                         
        Aqua a caciar via le macchie    Water to get rid of face             
        de volto:                       stains:                              
        piglia radice de serpentaria    take root from snakeroot         
        [pianta dalle cui radici si     [plant from whose roots one             
        ricava un olio usato in         extracts a medicinal oil]        
        medicina] et tritela et         and chop it and cook it in          
        cocila in vino poi cola e       wine then strain and wash            
        lavati la faccia col' essa      your face with it until           
        per fin che serai libero.       you will be free.           
        L'abbronzatura della pelle      The darkening of skin                  
        Aqua a caciar el color          Water to get rid of pale             
        palido de viso a fare           face color [[and]] make              
        colorito:                       color:                               
        piglia radice di mira el        take root of look at the sun         
        sole [girasole] et radila et    [sunflower] and grate it             
        metila in bono vino che farà    and put it in good          
        bonissimo colore et bello.      wine which it will make most          
                                        good color and beautiful.            
        A fare la carne humana negra    To make the human flesh              
        benissimo:                      black very well:                     
        piglia scorze de noce           take skins of fresh nuts,            
        fresche, meloni selvatici et    wild melons and pound                
        pista insieme et lassa stare    together and let it stand a          
        un di o doi poi metti in        day or two then put in a             
        alambicco et stilla et con      still and distill and with           
        quella aqua bagnia dove voli    that water dab where desired         
        che farà negro benissimo.       which it will make black             
                                        very well.                           
        Le ricette per le mani          The recipes for the hands            
        A guarir le mano crepate:       To heal crackly hands:               
        piglia succo de ortiga et un    take juice of ivy and a bit          
        poco de sale et mestica         of salt and mix together             
        insieme bene et ognete le       well and apply to the hands          
        mano dove sonno crepate.        where they are crackly.              
        A fare le mano bianche:         To make hands white:                 
        piglia foglie et radice de      take leaves and root of ivy          
        ortiga et fa buire in aqua      and make boil in water and           
        et cummi quel aqua lavate le    with that water wash the             
        mano et divemteranno bianche    hands and they will become           
        et morbide.                     white and soft.                      
        Per guarire porri e calli:      To cure warts and calluses:          
        [la seguente ricetta è a        [The following recipe is             
        base di cenere e acqua          based on ash and boiling             
        bollente, una miscela           water, a mixture called              
        chiamata lissa o ranno,         lye[?] once used for home            
        usata un tempo per fare il      laundry.]                            
        bucato in casa]                                                      
        piglia lissa forte, mezzo       take strong lye, half a              
        bichiero, in el quale poni      glass, in which place wheat          
        grani de fromento et lassali    grains and let them stand            
        stare per un di, poi pista      for a day, then crush said           
        la ditta grana a la quale       grains to which you add              
        agiongi polvere di              hennodactilorum powder and           
        hennodactilorum et mestica      mix like ointment and of             
        ad modo de unguento et de       this place a little on warts         
        questo poni un poco sopra       and calluses amd you will            
        porri et calli et guarirai      heal without pain.                   
        senza dolore                                                         
        Per ringiovanire                To become younger                    
        Aqua celeste che fa             Celestial water which makes          
        regiovanire la persona, et      a person younger, and turns          
        de morto fa vivo:               dead into alive:                     
        pilglia garofani, noce          take cloves, nutmeg,                 
        moscata, zenzero, pepe          mustard, long pepper, round          
        lungo, pepe rotondo, grani      pepper, juniper berries,             
        di ginepro, scorza di           citron [?] peel, leaves of           
        cetrangoli, foglie di           salvia, of basil, of                 
        salvia, di basilico, di         rosemary, of fine marjoran           
        rosmarino, di maggiorana        and of mint, elder flowers,          
        fine et di menta, fior di       white and red roses, [and            
        sambuco, rose bianche et        20 other ingredients,                
        rosse [e altri 20               including dried figs,                
        ingredienti, compresi fichi     raisins and honey] that              
        secchi uva passa e miele]       everything be well ground up         
        Che ogni cosa sia ben           or pieces place in acqua            
        polverizzata o pezzi metti      vitae [acqua vitae or            
        in aqua vite [anche             wine spirit is often used         
        l'acquavite o grappa è          in Catherine's recipes].             
        spesso consigliata nelle        Place in a well closed               
        ricette di Caterina]. Metti     bottle and leave it for two          
        in una bottiglia ben chiusa     days then put in a still and         
        et lasciala doi giorni poi      distill five times, with             
        metti nel fornello col'         slow fire, there will come           
        alambicco et distilla cinque    out a water most rare and            
        volte, con fuoco lento,         precious.                            
        uscirà un'aqua rarissinma e                                          
        Per curare gli occhi            To heal the eyes                     
        A fare aqua de oclui            To make water for eyes most          
        perfectissima:                  perfect:                             
        piglia aqua vida [acquavite]    take acqua vitae [wine               
        aqua rosada aqua de imuta       spirits] rose water ?                
        aqua de finochi zucaro fino     [imuta] water fennel water           
        et mestica omni cosa insieme    fine sugar and mix every             
        et poi metti una goccia ne      thing together and then put          
        lo occhio.                      a drop in the eye.                   
        Dimagrire e rassodare           Losing weight and toning up
        Per la demenution del corpo:    For diminution of body:              
        piglia triaca fina              take fine triaca [[a popular
        destemperata cum vino,          but expensive medieval 
        confetionata cum zucaro         cure-it-all, with 63
        rosato, che sia bolita et       ingredients including opium
        piglia in doi o tre matine      and viper's meat]] 
        mezo bichiero per volta.        distempered with wine,               
                                        comfited with rose sugar,            
                                        that be boiled and take for          
                                        two or three mornings half a         
                                        glass at a time.                     
        A fare le mammelle piccole      To make breasts small and            
        et dure alle donne:             hard in women                        
        piglia zusvese, una scudella    take ? [zusvese], one cup of         
        de succo, et dello aceto        juice, and white vinegar as          
        bianco più forte come puoi      strong as you can and                
        et componi lo succo con lo      compound the juice with the          
        aceto, poi bagnia pezze di      vinegar, then imbibe pieces          
        canavaccio in ditta aqua et     of cloth in said water and           
        poni sopra el petto et poni     put on the breast and put            
        doi tazzette di vetrio sopra    two little cups of glass             
        pezze che vadano sopra          that are placed over the             
        tecte, lega con una fascia      teats, wrap with a long              
        longa, più stretto che poi,     bandage, as tight as you             
        et cusì farai piccole dure      can, and so you will make            
        et el petto bello, mentre       them small and firm and the          
        fai questo la domina sia        breast beautiful, while you          
        casta.                          do this the woman be chaste.         
        Per la depilazione del corpo    For depilation of the body           
        A far cader lo pelo che non     To make hair fall so that it         
        torni mai:                      won't ever come back:                
        piglia calcina viva,            take quicklime, orpiment          
        orpimento, alume de rocca et    [As2S3], rock alum and grind                 
        spolverizza tutto benissimo     everything very well then            
        poi impasta dove voli che       apply as a poultice where            
        caschino et lassa stai tanto    you want them to fall and            
        che dichii doi pater nostri     let it stand for as long as          
        poi lava.                       it takes to say two                  
                                        Pater-Nosters then wash.             
        Bocca, denti e capelli          Mouth, teeth, and hair               
        A far li denti belli:           To make teek beautiful:              
        piglia cornetti di capretti     take young goats' horns and            
        et pesta et fanne polvere et    crush them and make powder           
        fa bollire in vino bianco       of them and make boil in             
        finquanto che consumi tutto     white wine until all wine is         
        il vino et rimane polvere et    consumed and powder remains          
        con quella fregati i denti e    and with it rub your teeth           
        le gengive.                     and gums.                            
        A far li denti bianchi:         To make teeth white:                 
        piglia un marmo bianco,         take a white marble, white           
        corallo bianco, osso di         coral, cuttlefish bone, rock         
        seppia, salgemma, incenso et    salt, incense and mastic.            
        mastice. Polverizza bene et     Ground well to powder and            
        metti detta polvere in un       put said powder in a small           
        sacchetto di tela piccolo,      canvas bag, rub teeth then           
        frega i denti poi lava con      wash with good wine and then         
        buon vino et poi frega con      rub with a piece of scarlet          
        una pezza di panno              cloth.                               
        A fare odorare la bocca et      To make mouth and breath             
        el fiato:                       smell good:                          
        piglia scorsa de cedro, noce    take cedar bark, nutmeg,             
        moscata, garofoni et salvia.    cloves and salvia. Make              
        Fa polvere, incorpora con       powder, build up with wine           
        vino et fanne pallottole et     and make balls and take them         
        pigliane prima di el cibo et    before meal and after meal.          
        de poi del cibo.                

Hope it helps. All the best,