Tregement der ghesontheyt

Magninus of Milan wrote his Regimen sanitatis, a book on health and hygiene, in the fourteenth century. In 1482 the first printed edition of the book was produced by Johannes de Westfalia in Louvain. He published a reprint in 1486, and until 1550 at least eleven editions were printed, for instance in Paris, Basel and Lyons. The first Dutch translation was published in Brussels in 1514, edited and printed by Thomas van der Noot, the natural son of a Brussels patrician. Between 1505 and 1523 he published nearly forty works. He had been trained in Lyon, Paris and other places, and had worked in Antwerp before settling in Brussels. He specialised in Dutch literary texts for a well-to-do readership, and scientific books in Dutch.

An example of the latter is Tregement der ghesontheyt, a medical work providing guidelines to prevent illness and to keep fit and healthy. It deals with bloodletting and purging, bathing and pregnancy, and has, for instance, a whole chapter devoted to physical exercises and sports.

This edition is different from the Louvain editions in that it is illustrated with woodcuts. Besides scenes from daily life - a group of people having their meal, a mother with her new-born baby in bed, a wet nurse feeding a baby, and a scene at the public baths - there are also illustrations of fruit and herbs, with directions for use and their restorative properties. In the copy of which a page is shown here a sixteenth-century reader has written some lines on a disease for which there was no cure: ‘For consumption there is no better remedy than to be merry at heart, and one shall drink goat's milk and eat fresh hens' eggs that have been softly boiled... and one shall drink good wine and eat all things that make the heart rejoice, for sadness leads people to melancholy and despondency, and that causes consumption.’

Tregement der ghesontheyt. Magninus Mediolanensis. Brussels, Thomas van der Noot, 1514. 2º, 92 leaves. - 228 A 18, fol. g4r

Tregement der ghesontheyt.Magninus Mediolanensis. Brussels, Thomas van der Noot, 1514. 2º, 92 leaves. - 228 A 18, fol. g4r


L. Elaut, 'De Nederlandse bewerking (1514 en 1554) van Magninus' Regimen Sanitatis', in: Het Boek 36 (1963-1964), p. 80-88.