McBeath Gaelic medical manuscript (16th-century)

Gaelic history and culture is strongly represented in Edinburgh University's collections and this is an extremely important early book. Dating from the 16th-century, it is a medical manuscript, in Gaelic and Latin. It was owned by the family of McBeath (also known as Bethunes or Beatons) who were for many generations physicians of repute in the West Highlands, particularly in Mull and Islay. On pages 189-190 there is a carefully prepared family tree. In the Gaelic world basic medical texts were available in the vernacular, whereas Latin remained the language of medical learning in the rest of Scotland. This manuscript shows close ties with Irish book-making traditions, particularly in the decoration. One of the more elaborate treatises treats of the colour of urine as an indication and symptom of disease. David Laing bought it in Edinburgh in 1835 and bequeathed it to the University in 1878.

This collection is IIIF-compliant. See more.

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