Regimen of Health


Heinrich von Laufenberg (circa 1390–1460) was a cleric from the southwest German town of Freiburg, a prolific writer of prose and verse in both German and Latin, who is best known for his religious lyrics. His Regimen Sanitatis (Regimen of health) of 1429 is a medical-astronomical compendium of guidance to healthful living that stretches to more than 6,000 lines of metrical German. The work presents the reader with practical rules for healthy living concerning such matters as a balanced diet, phlebotomy (bloodletting, then a common treatment to prevent or cure illness), and ways to prevent the plague. The text reflects the contemporary scientific view that planetary configurations affect an individual’s well-being. Folio 23v (image 50) of the manuscript, for example, shows an illustration depicting the sections of the human body that it was believed should not be medicated while the moon is in a certain sign of the zodiac. This splendid codex with its beautiful layout and 71 colored drawings and initials offers a representative example of a mid-15th-century scientific manuscript intended for practical use by wealthy citizens or by religious orders.

Last updated: January 8, 2018