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The Cover
November 9, 2005

A Surgeon and a Line of Patients

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2005;294(18):2277. doi:10.1001/jama.294.18.2277

Among the most popular books of the Middle Ages, after the private devotional Books of Hours, were the so-called encyclopedias of natural history. Usually written in Latin by leading academics, the more popular works were extensively copied by scribes for wider dissemination. The manuscripts might also be translated into the vernacular and then transcribed many more times to reach an even larger audience. Some copies, especially those commissioned by royal personages, might be lavishly illuminated, the thick vellum sheets decorated with colorful red and gold miniatures relating to the text.