Theatrum Sanitatis

Theatrum Sanitatis – M. Moleiro Editor – Ms. 4182 – Biblioteca Casanatense (Rome, Italy)

Italy β€” 14th century

Created to improve hygiene standards among the nobility: more than 200 large miniatures illustrating the famous text by the physician Ibn Butlan in an illuminated manuscript from Lombardy

  1. This medieval medical manuscript from Lombardy was furnished with 208 miniatures

  2. It is a Latin translation of the fundamental medical text from the 11th century by Ibn Butlan (1038–75)

  3. The treatise was meant to spread medical knowledge and thus improved hygiene standards among the nobility

Theatrum Sanitatis

Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €€
(1,000€ - 3,000€)
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Theatrum Sanitatis

The Theatrum Sanitatis originates from 14th century Italy. It is a manuscript about the medicine of the Middle Ages and is illustrated with 208 outstanding miniatures. The manuscript is based on the medical insights of the Arabian doctor Ibn Butlan and was translated into Latin and furnished with its splendid picture cycle in Lombardy.

Theatrum Sanitatis

In the 14th and 15th centuries, medicine was based primarily on experimental results and not on religious superstition, as before. The treatise Theatrum Sanitas was composed in order to spread and make known prudent hygienic norms among the princes and powers that be of the Middle Ages. The Latin manuscript is based on the medical insights of the Arabian doctor Iban Butlan from the 11th century. The manuscript is adorned with 208 high-quality, artistically appealing illustrations.

The Medicine of Ibn Butlan

Ibn Butlan was a famous Christian doctor who lived and worked in Baghdad. His findings purported that the health of a person is dependent on six elements. Counted among them are diet, the surrounding outside world, movement and rest, bodily fluids and excretions as well as the various emotional states of a person. Illnesses originated, according to his opinion, from a disturbance of these areas. With the help of outstanding miniatures, Butlan’s insights are clarified in the Latin codex and advice for the maintenance of health and for recovering from illness is presented.

Informative and Esthetic Book Decoration

The luxurious picture cycle of the codex was produced in Lombardy. The high-quality pictures reflect the traditional painting of the great book artist Giovanni de Grassi. They show the most varied aspects of medieval medicine in boundless fantasy. The scenes, which are concerned with health and the healing of illnesses, are mostly imbedded in everyday scenes from life in the Middle Ages. So the fabulous pictures take their beholder along on a journey into the world of times long past.


Size / Format
214 pages / 32.8 Γ— 22.0 cm
14th century
208 paintings
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Theatrum Sanitatis – M. Moleiro Editor – Ms. 4182 – Biblioteca Casanatense (Rome, Italy)
M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 1998
Limited Edition: 987 copies
Detail Picture

Theatrum Sanitatis

Partridge Hunting

A wealthy nobleman is shown with a falcon and dogs hunting for partridges, which continue to be a popular game bird today. The plump birds also appear in both ancient Greek mythology and the Bible signifying humility. Regarding partridges, the accompanying text reads: β€œNature: Of moderate warmth. Optimum: Those that are moist and fat. Usefulness: Good for convalescing people. Dangers: Bad for those engaged in heavy labor. Neutralization of the Dangers: Cooking them with leavened dough.”

Theatrum Sanitatis – M. Moleiro Editor – Ms. 4182 – Biblioteca Casanatense (Rome, Italy)
Single Page

Theatrum Sanitatis

Pigeon Chicks

The page at hand concerns raising pigeons for food, known as squab, as part of a series on the species from which the modern pigeon is descended. Its caption reads: β€œNATURE: hot and dry in the second degree. BEST when already weaned. BENEFICIAL for paralysis and chills. DETRIMENTAL to the brain and cause insomnia. REMEDY THE DETRIMENT with vinegar and coriander.”

This splendid page is embedded in the everyday life of late–14th century Italy, particularly with its depiction of fashion. Father and son are dressed in thigh-length tunics and tights, the son is girt with sword and dagger while the father sports a forked beard. The mother is dressed more modestly in a flowing dress with her head covered as she gathers eggs from the birdcage.

Theatrum Sanitatis – M. Moleiro Editor – Ms. 4182 – Biblioteca Casanatense (Rome, Italy)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Theatrum Sanitatis

M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 1998

Publisher: M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 1998
Limited Edition: 987 copies
Binding: Brown leather embossed with gold
Commentary: 1 volume (328 pages) by JosΓ© MarΓ­a LΓ³pez PiΓ±ero, Felipe Jerez Moliner and Anne Barton de Mayor
Languages: Spanish, English
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €€
(1,000€ - 3,000€)
You might also be interested in:
Codex of Medicine of Frederick II – Patrimonio Ediciones – Ms. Plut. 73.16 – Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (Florence, Italy)
Codex of Medicine of Frederick II
Italy – 13th century

Commissioned by the inquisitive Staufer Emperor Frederick II: medieval medicine in over 500 richly detailed miniatures of plants, symptoms, and treatment methods

Experience More
Flora Sinensis – Orbis Pictus – 412 – Biblioteka KΓ³rnicka (KΓ³rnik, Poland)
Flora Sinensis
Vienna (Austria) – 1656

Exotic plants in a special herbal with 23 hand-colored woodcuts: The first systematic encyclopedia on the botany of distant China, compiled by the Polish missionary MichaΕ‚ Boym

Experience More
Blog articles worth reading
Filter selection