Friday, January 20, 2017

How to Cure Melancholy, c. 1303

J. Paul Getty Museum, MS 42, f. 1v
"The home must be bright, luminous, without pictures, and there should be many fragrant things there, and everyone in the home must be beautiful to behold... and they must say lighthearted things, and there should be musical instruments, and in short everything which gladdens the soul... also helpful are sleep, rest, leisure, and baths before food; helpful foods are hens, capons, and lamb; light, delicate wine; scaly fish from clean water; raw eggs; well-fermented and well-baked wheat bread with a reasonable amount of salt... one should avoid wine that is new, cloudy, coarse, or thick; lentils, beans, and other legumes; old cheese; beef; and other melancholy foods." 
Bernard de Gordon, Lilium medicinae
Feeling melancholy? No problem – just tell your beautiful family to play music and serve you some fine wine in bed.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

How to Interpret Small Hands, 1651

John Bulwer, Chirologia (1644), Folger Shakespeare Library
"The hands very short, doth signifie a gross and rude person: fat and fleshie, with the finger likewise, inclined to theft. Small hands, crafty men." 
Johannes ab Indagine, The Book of Palmistrie and Physiognomy
Well, that settles it. Short fingers = vulgarian.