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VMs: Spa architecture and inspirational sources
Question of the day: was the inspiration for the balneological scene in f84r
the result of direct observation, a scene from a printed book, a manuscript
or simply the imagination of the VMS author?
One wonders about the Alhambresque vaults in f84r - do they reflect an
architecture of some kind, or are they only an ornamental extension of the
tissue-like drawings that fill previous pages of the manuscript? Is f84r
based in a scene from an actual spa?
Noted in The New York Academy of Medicine Special Collections'
Malloch Room Newsletter 2:
> The first work on balneology to appear in print was a treatise on the waters
> of Porretta by Gentilis De Fulgineo, first published in Venice in 1473. This
> tract appears in a collection of works entitled De Balneis..., (Venice, 1553.)
> It includes the writings of more than seventy authorities on balneology, such
> as Avicenna, Savonarola, Petrus de Abano and Celsus. Another classic work on
> mineral waters is Andrea Bacci's De Thermis Libri Septem, (Venice, 1571).
> Other important works from this period include Sommario De L'Osservationi De
> L'Acque de La Porretta by Giovanni Zecchio, (Bologna, 1576,) Balneis Et Eorum
> Usu... by Hugo Fridaevallius, (Douai, 1565,) and the first Latin edition of
> Tomas Jordan's De Aquis Medicatias Moraviae..., (Frankfurt, 1586.)
That "collection of works" was probably a compendium by Tomaso Giunta
(Editor) "De balneis omnia quae extant apud Graecos, Latinos, et Arabas ...
in quo aquarum ac thermarum omnium, quae in toto ferË orbe terrarum sunt,
metallorum item, & reliquorum mineralium nature, vires atque usus
exquisitisime explicantur. Venice, heirs of Lucantonio Giunta, 1553 ".
'De Balneis' is eloquently described on the Hünersdorff Rare Books website:
> The most complete collection of early texts on balneology charting the history
> of the subject and containing precise descriptions of over 200 spas. The
> individual contributions, of which some had never been published before and
> many appear not to have been reprinted, are presented in full or in extract as
> appropriate. Some 70 authors are cited ranging from classical antiquity
> (Aristotle, Avicenna, Hippocrates, Galen) to the Renaissance (Giralomo
> Cardano, Michael Savonarola, Conrad Gesner, Leonhardt Fuchs, Joachim
> Camerarius). Gesner's work on German and Swiss thermal springs is here first
> published. We are thus offered a unique picture of 16th century knowledge of
> what was then a very popular pastime. Balneo-therapy was a fashionable means
> of treating medical conditions, and there existed in Germany alone some 70
> health spas. The striking full-page woodcuts include a plan of a natural bath
> at Pozzuoli, a representation of a waterwheel-driven pump used to raise water
> at the baths of Fideris in the Pratigau Valley of eastern Switzerland, and a
> fine view of the spa of PlombiËres-les-Bains in the Vosges, complete with tiny
> figures, some on crutches, bathing and taking the waters. The work was edited
> by Tomaso Giunta, the publisher's successor.
"Il Tractatus de Balneis" of Ugolino da Montecatini was presented in 1417,
which describes the most important thermal baths in Tuscany and its
surroundings (Bagni di Montecatini, di Lucca, di Pisa, di Volterra, di
Siena, di Romagna, di Porretta, di Ascoli, di Padova, di Viterbo). But I
have no evidence that this was ever published in that date, or that it was a
Another unpublished predecessor is Pietro da Eboli's Poem on the Medical
Benefits of Different Spa Waters "De Balneis Puteoli" from the XIIIth
Has anyone in the list done any serious research on early balneological