The Epistolarum Medicinalium Libri XX by Giovanni Mainardi

Daniela Mugnai Carrara


The paper †aims at highlighting some aspects of the Epistolarum medicinalium libri XX by Giovanni Mainardi. This work, that enjoyed an European repute and was reprinted many times, has to be set against the background of the early 16th century attempts at reforming medical education. Mainardi, a skilled humanist and the pupil of NicolÚ Leoniceno and Pico della Mirandola, advocated a return to the original sources of Greek and Latin medical thought. The choice of Epistolae as a literary genre was in itself meaningful, in that it allowed Mainardi an unusual freedom of expression on the whole range of medical problems. Mainardi advocated the notion of medicine as ars - not scientia - and he believed in disengaging it from natural philosophyin the Aristotelian sense. At the same time, he believed in the possibility of introducing novelties in medicine, and of correcting ancient but incorrect textual traditions.

key words:†Giovanni Mainardi - Epistolae Medicinales - Medical humanism

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