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Article
October 5, 1963

JOHN OF GADDESDEN, CONTEMPORARY OF CHAUCER

JAMA. 1963;186(1):67. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03710010101021
Abstract

John of Gaddesden, author of Rosa Medicinae, was born about the year 1280 and died in 1361 —the most famous practitioner of England in the early part of the 14th century. Before completing his scholastic training, he had acquired the baccalaureate in medicine, the doctorate in medicine, and the baccalaureate in theology.1 There is no evidence from his curriculum vitae, however, that he practiced theology, except as a prebendary of St. Paul's Cathedral. Rather he was a practitioner in medicine, a calling begun with a medical background derived exclusively from reading medical books. The breadth of his self-instruction may be judged by the frequent reference in his lively writings to the medical greats, including Galen, Dioscorides, Rufus, Avicenna, Albertus, and Anglicus. As a contempory of Chaucer, he fits admirably as the "Doctour of Phisik" in the Canterbury Tales.2

With us ther was a Doctour of Phisik;

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