+1 to what Andrew wrote--and definitely thanks for highlighting these texts! An important aspect of the cultural context here is textual tradition. If an well-known authority (medical or religious) had written that a particular food or drug was a useful cure, that becomes "truth." Even such substances were/are not particularly efficacious from a physiological standpoint, it was easier to come up with a reason why it didn't work in a particular instance rather than to decide the long-standing belief was false or the authority was wrong.
A network for those interested in the history of nutrition and related fields. This network is intended for the growing number of scholars, teachers, documentary filmmakers, and museum and library professionals engaged with the history of nutrition in any time period or region.
Thanks for sharing, Gerard! To your question, I would hesitate to define efficacy in terms of modern ideas about healthful diets. While it is surely true that correcting some dietary deficiency would likely have been perceived as efficacious, understanding of what "works" is heavily influenced by social and cultural context and, perhaps not surprisingly, is also deeply personal or individualized (i.e., what works for *me* may not be what works for someone else).
Dear H-Nutrition members,
Those of you interested in Medieval nutrition and diet may be intrigued by two new papers concerning the Mediterranean in the 15th century.
Recently, the writing system of a Medieval manuscript was revealed to be proto-Romance: i.e., the ancestor to Spanish and the other modern Romance languages. In addition, it is written with a proto-Italic alphabet. It is the only known document of this kind and therefore has considerable linguistic and historic importance.
Thanks, Kristen, for this summary!
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