The Prose Salernitan Questions: Edited from a Bodleian Manuscript (Auct. F.3.10)

The Prose Salernitan Questions here edited from a Bodleian manuscript (Auct. F. 3.10) together with ten other closely related collections, constitute a species of encyclopaedia of scientific and medical knowledge, including sex and gynaecology, dating from about the last quarter of the twelfth century. Coming before the advent of the new Aristotle and the spate of translations from the Arabic, it represents that older learning largely derived from classical Latin and Greek sources, which for a long time formed a significant part of the newer learning of the thirteenth century and later. The concise question and answer form used, with only traces of disputation, gives us a clear insight into how this learning was used in the schools and how it spread, mainly from Salerno, throughout the Latin West. Up till now information on the exact nature and method of diffusion of this older learning has been sadly lacking. These texts help to fill a large gap in our knowledge of the scholastic background of the twelfth century, and they form a rich mine of source material for the writings of later thinkers and encyclopaedists up to the seventeenth century.