The Greater Luminary


This volume contains Luminare Maius (The greater luminary), and an antidotarium (book of antidotes), by Joannes Jacobus de Manliis (1490). It is based on the works of the Nestorian Persian physician Yūḥannā Ibn Māsawayh (circa 777–857), known in the Latin West as Mesue, and “other distinguished physicians.” Also included is an edition of Pandectarum Medicinae (Encyclopedia of medicaments) by Matteo Silvatico (also known by his Latinized name, Mattheus Sylvaticus, circa 1280–circa 1342), which consists of an alphabetized list of medications, primarily of herbal origin. Sylvaticus relied and expanded on the work of Simon of Genoa (flourished end of 13th century), who provided a lexicon of Latin, Greek, and Arabic medical terms in his dictionary, Clavis Sanationis. Sylvaticus also drew on the works of earlier Greco-Roman authorities, such as Dioscorides, Galen, and Paul of Aegina (circa seventh century). Other important sources were scientists in the Islamic world, such as the Persian physicians Ibn Sīnā (known as Avicenna in the Latin West, circa 980–1037) and Rāzī (Rhazes in the Latin West, circa 865–circa 925), and the Andalusian scientist Ibn Rushd (Averroes in the Latin West, 1126–98). For each of the 702 entries in this work, Sylvaticus provides the Arabic and Greek names, in addition to information about the medicinal properties of the material or plant in question. As in his Clavis Sanationis, for each letter of the Latin alphabet, a short introduction provides notes on transliteration from the Greek and Arabic into Latin. This edition was commissioned by Octavianus Scotus of Modena and produced in Venice in 1498 by the printer Bonetus Locatellus (active 1486–1523). It is not the earliest extant printing of this work. Other early printings include those from Naples (1474), Vicenza (1480), and Venice (1480, 1492, and 1499). Sandwiched between Luminare Maius and the Pandectarum Medicinae is a short work, Lumen Apothecarium, also by Manliis, which consists primarily of a table of contents for Luminare Maius.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Bonetus Locatellus, for Octavianus Scotus, Venice

Title in Original Language

Luminare maius cinthius ut totum radiis illuminat orbem Illuminat latebras sic medicina tuas. Lumen apothecariorum cum nonnullis expositionibus noviter impressum

Type of Item

Physical Description

253 pages : illustrations ; 30 centimeters

Last updated: June 17, 2014