Shabbetay Donnolo's Medical Work

Giuliano Tamani


Shabbetay ben Abraham, called Donnolo, of Oria in Puglia (913 post 982), is best known as a doctor. His Sefer ha-mirqahot (The book of mix­tures), often called Sefer ha-yaqar (The precious book), containing direc­tions for preparing medicinal roots, is based upon Greek medicine and is not only the oldest European Hebrew medical work but also the earliest medical book written in Italy (and probably in any Christian land of the West) in any language after the fall of the Roman Empire, and thus has a singular importance. After describing the preparation of the various herbs for medicinal purposes, Donnolo goes on to give prescriptions for relieving constipation, the hardening of the arteries, and rheumatic pains. Some one hundred and twenty names of medicinal plants and minerals occur in the course of this work.

Key words: Shabbetay Donnolo - Medical Work 

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