Skip to main content

Medical fragment in Gaelic, Late 16th century

Identifier: Coll-98/4/1/2

Scope and Contents

A fragment consisting of three leaves of parchment, one of which is detached. On the foot margin of the first leave 'John Smith' is written. Across the page of the last leaf is writtein in large, firm, modern hand, 'Enter not into quarrelsom company,' and, apparently, in the same hand, down in the middle space of the detached leaf, 'Jacobus Jack Aught this Book.'
The text is written in two columns, in a plain, legible hand, and probably dating from the late sixteenth century. The beginning and end of the tract is given, but the text is not continuous, there being a gap between the first and detached leaf, and between this again and the third leaf. The subject is a summary or abstract of the Treatise of Maighstir Ricairdi (cf. supra, p. 71). The tract opens with the words formerly quoted and the former tract may well be a copy of this. After stating that Ricairdi's treatise is itself compiles from Hippocrates, Galen, Auicenna and Rhazes, the writer adds that inasmuch as the greatest danger arises when the ignorant physician fails to appreciate the symptoms and proganostications descbribed by these authorities in the case of the acute diseases, the discussion of these must have the foremost place. Accordingly, in the exposition which follows, the illustrationsin this fragment are confined practically to the symptoms of the various kinds of fevers. The tract concludes on fol. 3b1 thus: gur amlaid sin crichnaidhter suim ⁊ derridus .r. do toil de finit., 'And thus is concluded the substance and secret of R(icairdi) by the will of God. It ends.'
The remainder of the last page is written upon, but in faded ink, and is only in part legible. The first lline is meant for a cure for poisoned veins: Deoch ar neim cuislenn ann so. Gab macall, 'A position for poisoned veins. Take avens.' The next line reads, Sgiath luireach Colum Cilli ann so sis. finid (v. Erin v. p. 13, n/ 6). Then comes a blank space followed by illegible text. When the text becomes fairly readable the subject is religious and metrical. Several saints are invoked, among them Geoirghi, Mach(a)omhog, Malaisi, Ronan, Molinn. But the lùireach which the writer specially seeks to protect him is 'God, Christ on of Mary, and the Holy Spirit.'


  • Late 16th century

Language of Materials

Scottish Gaelic

Physical Description

Generally good condition

Conditions Governing Access

Open. Please contact the repository in advance.


3 Leaves

Other Finding Aids

Mackinnon, Donald (1912). A descriptive catalogue of Gaelic manuscripts in the Advocates' library, Edinburgh, and elsewhere in Scotland. Available online:

Previous reference

Mackinnon 2

Physical Description

Generally good condition

Physical Facet

Material: Parchment

Binding: Modern folio. Labelled 'Mackinnon (1924) 2'


20.5 cm x 26.7 cm

Repository Details

Part of the Edinburgh University Library Special Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379