This is an edition, commentary, and English translation of a medical notebook belonging to a traditional healer from the village of Meronas in central Crete, Nikolaos Konstantinos Theodorakis. The manuscript was re-copied in 1930 from an earlier version and contains healing lore passed down through his family over generations. It belongs to the genre of latrosophia: practical manuals of collected healing wisdom, dating mainly from the 17th to 19th centuries, which contain admixtures of agricultural and meteorological lore as well as elements of religious, astrological and magical beliefs and traditions. At the core of much of the therapeutic advice and botanical information in this, as in other latrosophia, lies material from much earlier classical and Byzantine medical texts.
A group of introductory essays provide information necessary for an appreciation of the edited text: discussions of the genre of latrosophia, their historical and cultural context and their relationship to ancient and Byzantine medicine; of the institution of village healers (with particular reference to Theodorakis), of Crete as a source of therapeutic plants, the landscape of the Amari region; and, general comments on unusual textual features such as the Cretan dialect, spelling and orthographic habits.
Foreword, Alain Touwaide; latrosophia; Historical background: Crete and iatrosophia; Crete's Amari: social and geographical context; Theodorakis: the man and his work; Text, translation and notes; Preface to the appendix; Appendices:; 1. Diseases, symptoms, syndromes; 2. materia medica; 3. Alternative therapeutic procedures, magical and religious elements; 4. Pharmacy; Preface to the indices; Indexes.