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October 5, 1940

The Badianus Manuscript (Codex Barberini, Latin 241) Vatican Library: An Aztec Herbal of 1552

JAMA. 1940;115(14):1221-1222. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810400073031

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One of the most interesting books that have appeared dealing with the early history of medicine on the Western Continent is the reproduction of the Badianus Manuscript. The original of this volume, which appeared in 1552, is in the Vatican Library. It is an Aztec herbal and is not only the earliest complete Mexican medical treatise which is known but is also the only medical text known to be the work of the Aztec Indians. The authors of the herbal were two Indians, Martinus de la Cruz, the writer of the text, and Juannes Badianus, "reader in Latin," who translated it into that language. Both men were at the College of Santa Cruz at Tlaltilulco. The original volume, of which this is a facsimile, is a small book bound in sixteenth century crimson velvet which shows the imprint of metal clasps. The Latin text of the original has been translated

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