Abridged Version of “De arte phisicali de cirurgia”, “Fistula in ano”, Including an Obstetrical Treatise


Manuscript X 188 in the National Library of Sweden dates to around 1425–35 and contains two works by John Arderne (active 1307–70), an abridged version of De arte phisicali et de cirurgia (Of the physical arts and surgery) and Fistula in ano. Also included is a tract on obstetrics by another author, Muscio. De arte phisicali et de cirurgia is a textbook on medicine and surgery; Fistula in ano deals with rectal disorders. The manuscript is written in two long columns on a parchment roll that is 542 centimeters long by 36 centimeters wide and illustrated with a number of small and larger images. The small images, in the margins, portray people afflicted with various ailments. The standing figures between the columns illustrate the different systems of the human body. There is also an image of a woman in childbirth as well as 15 drawings of the fetus. On the back of the roll is an image of an operation on the digestive tract. Also visible are four anatomical figures depicted from the back in cut-away views. The images of surgical tools used for operations are found on both sides of the roll. The Stockholm roll possibly was commissioned by Phillippa, the English princess who, in 1406, married the Swedish king Eric of Pomerania. John Arderne was her grandfather’s physician.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

De arte phisicali et de cirurgia ; Fistula in ano; Obstetrical treatise

Type of Item

Physical Description

Roll of 12 pieces of parchment ; 542.5 x 36 centimeters


  • Shelfmark: X 118

Last updated: October 17, 2017