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spondents, who consulted ber because her advice in difficult problems was considered so raluable.
In spite of all this time-taking correspondence, she found leisure to write a series of books, most of them on mystical subjeets, but two of them on medical subjects. The first is called “ Liber Simplicis Medicina," and the second ** Laber Compositæ Medicinæ.” These books were written in order to provide information mainly for the nuns who had charge of the infirmaries of the monasteries of the Benedictines. Almost constantly someone in the large communities, which always contained aged religious, was ailing, and then, besides, there were other calls on the time and the skill of the sister infirmarians. There were no hotels at that time, and no hospitals, except in the large cities. There were always guest houses in connection with monasteries and corrents, in whúcb travellers were permitted to pass the night, and given what they needed to eat. There are many people who have had experiences of monastie hospitality eren in our own time. Sometimes travellers fell ill. Not infrequently the reason for travelling was to find health in some distant and fabulously health-giving resort, or at the hands of some wonder-working physician. Such high hopes are nearly always set at a distance. This of itself must have given not a little additional need for knowledge of medicine to the infirmarians of contents and monasteries. There were around many of the monasteries, moreover, large estates; often they had been cleared and made valuable by the work of preceding generations of monks, and on these estates peasants came to live. Workingmen and workingwomen from neighboring districts came to help at harvest time, and, after a chance meeting, were married and settled down on a little plot of ground provided for them near the monastery. As these communities grew up, they looked to the monasteries and convents for aid of all kinds, and turned to them particularly in times of illness. The need for definite instruction in medicine on the part of a great many of the monks and nuns can be readily understood, and it was this need that Hildegarde tried to meet in her books. The first of her books that we have mentioned, the “ Liber Simplicis Medicinæ,” attracted attention rather early in the Renaissance, and was deemed worthy of print. It was edited at the beginning of the sixteenth century by Dr. Schott at Strasburg, under the title, “ Physica S. Hildegardis.” Another manuscript of this part was found in the library of Wolfenbuttel, in 1858, by Dr. Jessen. This gave him an interest in Hildegarde's contributions to medicine, and, in 1859, he noted in the library at Copenhagen a manuscript with the title “ Hildegardi Curæ et Causæ." On examination, he was sure that it was the “Liber Compositæ Medicinæ " of the saint. The first work consists of nine books, treating of plants, elements, trees, stones, fishes, birds, quadrupeds, reptiles, and metals, and is printed in Migne's “ Patrologia,” under the title “ Subtilitatum Diversarum Naturarum Libri Novem.” The second, in five books, treats of the general diseases of created things, of the human body and its ailments, of the wine wmums, and trainen u diseases.
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Dr. Valimie Liviista ter hom Bistoire des Pemes Vétening * Suedit presented for the doctorate in medicine at the University of Paris in 1900, subsequently awarded a special prize by the French Academy, reviews Hildegarde's work critically from the medical standpoint. She says that the saint distinguishes a double mode of action of different substances, one chemical, the other physical, or what we would very probably call magnetic. She discusses all the ailments of the various organs, the brain, the eyes, the teeth, the heart, the spleen, the stomach, the liver. She has special chapters on redness and paleness of the face, on asthma, on cough, on fetid breath, on bilious indigestion, on gout. Besides, she has other chapters on nervous affections, on icterus, on fevers, on intestinal worms, on infections due to swamp exhalations, on dysentery, and a number of forms of pulmonary diseases. Nearly all of our methods of diagnosis are to be found, hinted at at least, in her book. She discusses the redness of the blood as a sign of health, the characteristics of various excrementitious material as signs of disease, the degrees of fever, and the changes in the pulse. Of course, it was changes in the humors of the body that constituted the main causes for disease in her opinion, but it is well to remind ourselves that our frequent discussion of auto-intoxication in recent years is a distinct return to this.
Some of Hildegarde's anticipations of modern ideas are, indeed, surprising enough. For instance, in talking about the stars and describing their course through the firmament, she makes use of a comparison that is rather startling. She says: “ Just as the blood moves in the veins which causes them to vibrate und pulsate, so the stars mone im the firmament and send out sparks as it were of līgit Eke the vibrations of the reins.* This is, of course, not an anticipation of the discovery of the circulation of the blood, but it shows HOM close were men's ideas to some such thought five centuries before Harrers discovery For Hildegarde the brain was the regulator of all the vital qualities, the centre of life. She connects the nerves in their passage from the brain and the spinal cord through the body with manifestations of life. She has a series of
chapters with regard to psychology normal and morbidShe talks about frenzy, insanity, despair, dread, obsession, anger, idiocy, and innocency. She says very strongly in one place that “ when headache and migraine and vertigo attack a patient simultaneously they render a man foolish and upset his reason. This makes many people think that he is possessed of a demon, but that is not true.” These are the exact words of the saint as quoted in Mlle. Lipinska 's thesis.
It is no wonder that Mlle. Lipinska thinks St. Hildegarde the most important medical writer of her time. Puenss, the editor of the edition of Hildegarde published in Migne's * Patrology,” says: * Among all the saintly religions who have practised medicine or written about it in the Middle Ages, the most important is without any doubt St. Hildegarde. ..." With regard to her book he says: -- All those who wish to write the history of the medical and natural sciences must read this work in which this religious woman, evidently well grounded in all that was known at that time in the