Skip to main content


A Pseudo-Aristotelian Medical/Magical Arabic Manuscript

1 June 2015 - 31 August 2015

PI/s in Exeter:  

Funding awarded: £ 3,189

Sponsor(s): Wellcome Trust

About the research

The John Ryland’s Library at the University of Manchester is in possession of a mysterious manuscript titled The Book of Venus, which contains a collection of medieval Islamic magical texts, most notably the Kitāb al-miyālāṭīs, a “Talismanic Pseudo-Aristotelian” work of Hermetica, which was influential in the history of medieval magic in both the Middle East and Europe.  This text has not been previously edited, existing only in manuscript form. In collaboration with Dr Taro Mimura, Emily will produce a preliminary transcription and an article describing the contents of the manuscript. This article will elucidate the work's reliance on the concept of man-as-microcosm and other ideas central to medieval medical, philosophical, and scientific literature. By describing the relation of this manuscript to other similar manuscripts, this article will also help scholars navigate an important but poorly-understood body of texts that survive mainly in manuscript form.