Originally dedicated to Emperor Frederick II: the oldest copy of Pietro da Ebolis' lost treatise concerning the healing properties of hot springs

De Balneis Puteolanis

Naples (Italy) — ca. 1250

De Balneis Puteolanis

De Balneis Puteolanis

Naples (Italy) — ca. 1250

  1. This work describes 35 natural hot springs around Pozzouli on the Gulf of Naples and their medicinal curative effects

  2. It is the oldest specimen of the now-lost original by Pietro da Eboli (active 1196-1220) and probably originated ca. 1250

  3. The work was originally dedicated to Emperor Frederick II (1194-1250), who bathed regularly in hot springs himself

De Balneis Puteolanis

De Balneis Puteolanis

Sauna at Agnano

Saunas are valued today for their health benefits and having a good sweat in the heat of a sauna is also supposed to help with inflammation and has other health benefits. Here we see a man exiting the sauna to receive some water from a river, which has frogs and snakes swimming around it. Inside the sauna, a group of nude men is assembled around an iron cauldron, which is probably filled with heated rocks that the water from the river will be poured on.

De Balneis Puteolanis

Alternative Titles:
  • De Balneis Puteoli
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The famous work by Pietro da Eboli about the therapeutic effects of the bath of Pozzouli in a luxury codex: the oldest surviving copy of the now lost original by the Italian poet is stored today in the Biblioteca Angelica in Rome. The scientifically-entertaining didactic poem De Balneis Puteolanis is illustrated with 18 full-page miniatures that give a unique testimonial to the south Italian illumination of the Duecento.

De Balneis Puteolanis

In the years 1211-21, Pietro da Eboli composed his magnum opus, both scientific and literary, with the title De Balneis Puteolanis. In doing so, he hit the nerve of his time and created a work that was widely disseminated thereafter. Thus, the work was widespread in numerous manuscripts up to the 15th century and was further disseminated upon appearing in numerous print editions thereafter. The luxurious manuscript from the Biblioteca Angelica in Rome is considered to be one of the oldest specimens of the now-lost original. Its style indicates that is was made in Naples in the 1250’s.

A Medically Entertaining Treatise

The treatise or didactic poem On the Baths of Pozzouli by Pietro da Eboli is an exciting and valuable testimonial to the beginnings of scientific medicine. The text is a description of 35 springs around Pozzouli on the Gulf of Naples and their medicinal curative effects and attests to the therapeutic importance of the healing baths, which have been used since antiquity as thermal baths and healing springs for medical use. In doing so, Pietro da Eboli stands in the tradition of famous ancient doctors such as Galen, Avicenna, or Hippocrates. De Balneis Puteolanis is dedicated to the Sol MundiEmperor Frederick II – who was himself a regular user and believer in the therapeutic powers of hot springs. Therefore, the work by Pietro da Eboli is simultaneously considered to be a reminder of therapeutic baths in 13th century Italy and a testimonial to the enthusiasm for scholarship and cultivated beauty at the imperial court.

A Luxury Manuscript with Useful Content

The precious manuscript of the Biblioteca Angelica in Rome with the shelf mark Ms. 1474 presents this work in a gorgeous setting: 18 full-page, large-format miniature pages – consistent with the 18 epigrams of the didactic poem – accompany the text. The high-quality miniatures originate from a single miniaturist and are presented in bright frames and on a gold background. These small works of art make the manuscript a significant testimonial to the south Italian illumination of the Duecento: Byzantine elements are integrated here in the realistic depictions, Roman architecture merged with oriental domed roofs and the depiction of the human body is clearly and wholly classically influence.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
De Balneis Puteoli
Date
ca. 1250
Style
Gothic
Language
Illustrations
18 full-page illuminations
Content
Poem, description of the thermal baths of the Phlegraean fields
De Balneis Puteolanis

De Balneis Puteolanis

Bathing in a Cave

Of the 35 hot springs around Pozzouli on the Gulf of Naples detailed by Pietro da Eboli, some were located in caves, such as the Balneum Culmae (pictured here). This scene shows a cave full of people enjoying the hot, healing waters bubbling up from deep in the ground – such fissures in the earth’s crust can often be found in caves, which would be usable year round.

The large number of healing thermal baths in southern Italy created a large medieval tourist industry with local rivalries arising to compete for this lucrative business. Perhaps the figures rowing by on a boat outside of the cave are tourists. Aside from the gold leaf walls of the cave, which have flaked and peeled off, the rest of the miniature is in excellent condition.

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „De Balneis Puteolanis“

De Balneis Puteolanis
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
De Balneis Puteolanis – Ms. 1474 – Biblioteca Angelica (Rome, Italy)
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De Balneis Puteolanis

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato – Rome, 2000
Limited Edition
1200 copies
Commentary
1 volume by Silvia Maddalo
Language: Italian
Price Category: €€
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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