Michele Savonarola (1385-1466), A Mother's Manual. Edition, with Introducion and notes by Gabriella Zuccolin, transl. Martin Marafioti. Around 1460, Michele Savonarola—incidentally the grandfather of the even more famous Savonarola, the Florentine prophet Girolamo —produced the extraordinary Mother’s Manual for the Women of Ferrara. This gynecological, obstetrical, and pediatric treatise is the first of its kind written in a European vernacular, so that it could be potentially read not only by the learned, who communicated in Latin, but also by pregnant and nursing mothers and the midwives and wet nurses who presided over childbirth. Yet Savonarola’s work is no trivial set of instructions but the work of a learned scholar who draws on, among others, the ancient Greek physicians Hippocrates and Galen, and Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine.
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