Who wouldn't have known the brilliant ancient doctor of which medical students now swear by his “Hippocratic oath”? Who would forget the famous Father of Medicine who contributed tons of medical research? Who wouldn't recognize the name Hippocrates?
Well, the well-known doctor had apparently left something for us to read. Now, archaeologists believe they may have found one of Hippocrates’s medical recipes while renovating the world’s oldest continuously running library.
While restorations are being made on the St. Catherine Monastery, located in South Sinai, Northeast Egypt, monks have found the six-century-old manuscript made by Hippocrates which contains not only the recipes but even has pictures of different herbs.
The monastery was first used around 3rd or 4th century by religious scholars and hermits. And today, a small number of monks live and work there where they observe practices that remain unchanged.
The manuscript was actually one of the library’s notable Sinai Palimpsests--manuscript pages made from baby lamb skin that the text has been removed or washed off so that the page can be reused for another document. In this case, the document overlaying the original text in the manuscript was a bible text known as the “Sinaitic manuscript".
The texts were examined by the Early Manuscripts Electronic Library (EMEL), a partner of St. Catherine’s Monastery. EMEL uses spectral imaging to read the underlying text, which can’t be seen with a naked eye. “The manuscript, which contains three medical texts, will be enlisted among the oldest and the most important manuscripts in the world,” Michael Phelps, a researcher at the EMEL, told Egyptian newspaper Asharq Al-Aswat.
There are still around 130 known palimpsests in St. Catherine's Monastery--who knows what lies beneath the other overlaying texts? A hidden text from the stars? A day to day journal of a royalty? Only time will tell.
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