Note B – John De Burdeus, or De Burgundia; The Pestilence, pp.79-91.

[Notes on the Black Book Contents]

   John de Burdeus, de Burgundia, or cum Barba1 was a citizen of Leodium (Liege), and professor of medicine there about the middle of the fourteenth century. He was an astrologer as well as a physician, and, like Chaucer’s Doctor of Physic,2 …  

“He was grounded in Astronomye,  
He kepte his pacient wondurly wel  
In houres by his magik naturel.” 

In his opinion, none was fit to practise medicine who had not a competent knowledge of astrology. “And I 40 yere and more have oftyn tymes proved in practise that a medecyn gyvn contrary to ye constilacion, although it were both wele compowynd or medled and ordynatly wroghte after the scheme of phisik, yet it wroght nowther after the purpose of the wareher nor to the profite of the pacient.”3 He was the author of two tracts upon the plague (De Pestilentia), a larger and a smaller, the latter of which is transcribed amongst the miscellaneous matter at the beginning of the Black Book of Paisley. Both have been translated into English. He also wrote a work, “De causa et natura corrupti aeris sive indicia Astrologie,” commencing, “Deus Deorum;” and another, “De distinctione morborum pestilentialium,” commencing, “Quia nimium propter instans tempus epidemiale.” The “Governayle of Helth” has likewise been attributed to him. None of his works, excluding the last mentioned, has been printed. Of those upon the pestilence there are many manuscript copies. 

A. – Manuscripts of the Larger Treatise. 

1. Brit, Mus. Royal MS., 12 G. IV. Folio; vellum. 

   Formerly in the Thayer collection; mentioned in Bernard’s Catalogus MSS. Angliæ et Hiberniæ, ii. p. 201. Casley’s Catalogue, p. 214. 

   The present volume is very imperfect. At the foot of many of the pages there are the words “haec deficit,” and this treatise (f. 158-160) is part of an older volume. The pieces in the collection are mostly by English writers, John de Grenborough, Edward of Oxford, and Gilbert Legley, of the last of whom, Thayer notes f. 5, that he flourished A.D. 1210, and another note says, “He was of Sarum, and the junior of all the 7 masters of the archane scyence of Physicke.” 

   Immediately preceding the tract in question is a piece “Causa pestilencie.” Then comes the rubric:-  “Post signa pestilencie sequitur cura pestilencie seu epidemie et earum infirmitates, causatas seu signatas per conjunctiones infrascriptas secundum doctrinam Magistri Johannis de Burgundia, alio nomine Johannis cum Barba.” 

   Begins – “Quia omnia inferiora tam elementa quam elementata a superioribus reguntur, ut dicit Messehallak in libro Interpretationum,” &c. 

   Ends – “Non pro precio sed pro precibus hoc egi ut cum quivis convaluit pro me oret. Amen.” 

   Our author styles himself “Johannes de Burgundia, aliter vocatus cum Barba civis Leodiensis [or Leodensis] ac artis medicinæ professor.” He speaks of having practised medicine for forty years; and refers to his experience in the plague which raged in Liege in 1365. He says that of all who had written upon the subject, no one spoke from personal observation save Hippocrates, and claims that his own treatise is written from what he had himself seen. He refers to Galen, Dioscorides, Rasis, Vanastenus, Heben, Messue, Capho, Constantinus, Seraphion, Avicenna, Agazel, and Averroes. 

2. Brit. Mus. Sloane MS. 3566. 32mo: vellum: 15th cent., f. 63b-87. 

   This transcript is much the same as No. 1. It omits some introductory matter and all local and personal references and much of the astrological learning. 

3. Brit. Mus. Sloane MS. 134. 12mo: vellum: 16th cent., No 6. f. 31-38. 

   There are only verbal differences between this and the Royal MS. No. 1. Some one has written at the top of f. 31. – “Tractatus de medicinis digestivis a Joh. Messue;” but this is evidently a mistake. This work of John Messue is quoted in the succeeding piece, f. 41b, and he is referred to in the colophon, f. 44b. There is a similar treatise, Egerton MS., 2340, f. 84-100. As John de Burgundio translated S. John Damascenus, and as John or James Damascenus, the Syrian physician, is also known as Messue, there may be a mixing up of names of de Burgundia and Messue, the Arab. 

4. Brit. Mus. Sloane MS. 3124. Vellum, 15th cent. 

   At f. 51b. – “Incipit Tractatus de regimine et preservacione impidimie et pestilencie factus in facultate Bolonie per consilium omnium Medicorum civitatis.” 

   This is simply a transcript of John de Burgundia. The allusion to the writer’s forty years experience is retained, but no notice is taken of John de Burgundia or of Liege. Although professing to be a consilium of the medical faculty of Bologna it always speaks in the first person. Where de Burgundia speaks of the plague in 1365, the transcriber of this MS. substitutes 1391. He omits the author’s closing paragraph and tacks on one of his own. The pretence of independent authorship is repeated in the colophon, f. 61, verso:- 

   “Explicit iste tractatus inclitus utilis contra Impidimiam factus in Bolonia per concilium omnium medicorum facultatis medicine Bolonie Scriptus per me Gandolfum de Padua, magistrum in artibus et medicina, die xxiij Septembris Anno Domini Millesimo CCCmo nonagesimo tercio.” 

5. St. John’s College, Oxford, No. 172. 4to: vellum. Beginning of the fifteenth cent. [It formerly belonged to John Alwort.] 

   The treatise in question is No. 11, and is at f. 259, and appears to correspond with the Sloane MS. 134, supra No. 3. 

   The author is described in the title “magnus phisicus et expertus magnusque Astrologus.” The two succeeding pieces in the volume, No. 12, Tractatus de flebotomia, and No. 13, Liber de urinis, are in Coxe’s Catalogue4 (but the latter with a ?) ascribed to de Burgundia. In the Index he is entered as being the same as Joannes Burgundio of Pisa,5 but this is no doubt an error. 

6. Oxford, Ashmolean MS. No. 1443.6 4to. paper: 15th cent. 

   On the first page is the signature “Edmundus Peecham,” written about the end of the fifteenth century. He seems to have been the writer of the additions that occur in some parts of the book. 

   No. 6. p. 351-375. – “Incipit doctrina magistri Johannis de Burgundia, alio nomine dicti Cum Barba, de preservacione regiminis et cura contra epidimias et infirmitates pestilenciales, causatas seu significatas per conjunciones infra scriptas.” 

B. – Manuscripts of the Smaller Treatise (Tractatus Sub Compendio.) 

1. The Black Book of Paisley. Brit. Mus. Royal MS., 13 E. x., f. 24. 

2. Brit. Mus., Sloane MS. 433. Small 4to. vellum: 14th cent. 

   No. 5. f. 47-51. – “Here begynneth ye tretis of John of Burdeux ye nobyll fecicion ageyn ye pestilence.” 

   There are some verbal differences between this and the text of the Black Book of Paisley. An English translation is curiously interwoven in some places, e.g., “Thrie partes Tres partes sunt in homine, Cor, ye hart, epar, ye liuer, et cerebrum ye braynes, and iche of yeis haue, et quilibet istorum habet locum suum quo potest respiracionem suam evacuari wher yei may putte out ther sur fettes or surfattes.” 

3. Brit. Mus., Sloane MS. 7. 4to. paper: 15th cent. 

   No. 20. f. 85b. – “The tretes of John of Burdeux the nobille ficicion agayne the pestilence.” 

   The Latin text with the same gloss as in Sloane MS. 433. 

4. Brit. Mus., Sloane MS, 405. 4to. paper: 15th cent. At one time belonged to Gabriel Gostwyke. 

   No. 7. f. 41b-43. – “The tretis of John de Bordoux the nobil phisesian ageyn the pestilens ewyll.” 

   The Latin text without the gloss. At the end are prescriptions for two drinks for the pestilence, which are likewise in the above MS. No. 433. 

5. Oxford, Ashomolean MS. 346. very sm. 4to. paper: 16th cent. 

   A collection of astrological, physical, and miscellaneous tracts made and written by Thomas Scalon. 

   No. 85. p. 157b-159b. – “Tractatus Johannis de Burgundia de morbo pestilentiali.” 

   Both the larger and the smaller treatise have been translated into English, and there are several manuscripts of the English versions. 

C. – Translations of the Larger Treatise. 

1. Brit. Mus., Sloane MS. 3449. 4to. vellum: 15th cent. 

   No. 2. f. 5b-12. – “Treatise of the pestilence of John of Bourdeaux.” 

   A prologue is prefixed, “Bicause that all thynges here in erthe as wele th’ elements as thinges springen and compowynyd of th’ elements ben governed and ledde by the bodyes that ben above in the spheres or circles of the firmament as Moshallac saith in his boke of interpretations.” 

   The treatise begins, “First therefore to the preservation hit is needfull every man to fle or eschiew overmych repletion of mete.” 

2. Brit. Mus., Sloane MS. 965. 18mo. vellum: 15th cent. 

   [At one time belonged to John Skefington and then to Abel Collyer whose autograph is on f. 2.] 

   No. 8. (but marked in the MS. as No. 6.), f. 130-141. – “Lo leue Sires here begynnithe as Solempne doctrine and openlie preued made for true medicine for the pestilence bi Maister John de Burgoyne otherwise cleped La Barbe by the grace of Almyghti God certainly curithe and helithe the seke yef thei use the medisine as it is here afterwards more openly declared.” 

   “First ye shall understonde that this saide tretys compiled and studied bi this sayd maister JOhn de Burgoyne professour of phisyk and of surgerie Citeseyn of Leeges the yere of oure Lorde a thousande and thre hundred sixti and fyve is departed to your more clere understonding into iiij chapiteris, the first chapitre trettithe and declareth How ye shall kepe diete and governe you in the tym of pestilence,” &. 

3. Oxford, Ashmolean MS., No. 1443. See above, A. No. 6. 

   No. 7. f. 376-393. “For ye pestilens. Medecyne agenst sodeyne pestylens as phylosofers seyne bodies opon erthe by the nethe bethe rewlid and gendried by bodyes above.” 

   f. 387. Begins – “Pestylens that now reynyt com as clerkis seyen of astronomy of a conjunccion of Saturne ande [f. 388] Jubiter, in the yere (&c.) 1340.” 

   Ends – “Wherfor y mevyd be preyer and compassion of man ys deth y made this tretis; and for eny thyng let blode by tyme for taryyng makyt perell. Explicit iste tractatus. Amen.” 

4. Oxford, Ashmolean MS., No. 1444. 4to. 15th cent. 

   No. 6. f. 67-76. “Here begynnithe a solempne doctrine and oponlie proved, made for trewe medicyne for the pestilence, by maister Joh’n de Burgeyne, otherwise called La Barbe, whiche bi the grace of Almyghti Godde certeynlie curithe and helpithe the seke yf thei use this medicyne as it is here after more openlye declared.” 

   “Firste ye shall undirstonde that this said tretyse, compiled and stodiede bi the seide maister Joh’n de Burgeyne, processoure of phisik and of surgerye, citeisein of Leegez the yere [&c., 1365] is departed unto your more understondynge in to iiij. chaptres. 

   Ends – “God Almightye whiche is souerayne surgeon phisician and leche above alle erthelye leches and maistres or medicynes, to whom I beseke it so to be. Amen. Explicit.” 

5. Oxford, Ashmolean MS., No. 1481. 

   Part. II., No. 1. f. 52-53b. 15th cent. 

   It ends abruptly thus:- “Putteth the mater to his clensyng.” The rest is lost. 

   This seems to be the same as Sloane MS., 965. Supra, C. No. 2. 

   There is likewise an abridged translation of this treatise, of which there are several copies. 

6. Brit. Mus., Sloane MS., 3566. See above, A. No. 2. 

   f. 88-101. The colophon is “Explicit tractatus Johannis de Barba vel Johannis de Bardegalia Editus contra morbum pestilentiale et est morbus Epidemialis Anno Domini Millesimo CCCo nonagesimo.” 

7. Brit. Mus., Sloane MS. 2320. 4to. vellum: 16th cent. 

   No. 6. f. 13b-16. An abridged version of the larger treatise. Similar to C. No. 6. 

   Tractatus Johannis de Barba alias dicti Johannis de Burdegalia extractus in lingua Anglicana contra morbum pestilenciam sive epidemialem. 

   Begins – “This Clerc seithe in the first chapter that for the default of good rulyng and dyeting in mete and drynke, men fallen often into this sickness.” 

8. Brit. Mus., Sloane MS., 2320. 4to. vellum: 15th cent. 

   f. 44. “Here bigynnes a trety that is nedefull and necessarie agenst the pestilens that nowe is regnand, the which trety gadered and sette togidre on English a master of diuinite of the ordre of Frere Prechoures, master Thomas Hutton of diuerse doctors of phisik, where they treted of the mater of Pestilence.” 

   This is substantially a translation of the smaller treatise with something from the larger. The writer adds several prescriptions of his own. Speaking of one of them, he says:- f. 49b. “And shal I tel ye howe and in al practisingges in phisik this xviiij yere wist y but neuer faile but twies.” 

9. Oxford, Ashmolean MS. 1400. 

   f. S. A. fragment of a book on the Pestilence. 

   This is apparently de Burgundia’s work. 

D. Translations of the Smaller Treatise. 

1. Liber S. Marie de Clachou. The Register of the Abbey of Kelso, vol. II., p. 448 (Bannatyne Club.) 

   This had been previously printed by Mr. W. B. D. D. Turnbull in his fragments Scotomonastics, p. xcii. (Edinburgh, 1842.) 

   “A nobyl tretyse agayne ye Pestilens. Her begynns a nobyl tretyse made of a gud phesician John of Burdouse for medicene agayne ye pestilens jwvll.” 

2. Brit. Mus., Cotton MS. Caligula A. II., paper. 

   f. 65b. – “For pestilence. Hyr begynnes a noble tretys made of gode fysicyan John the Burdoux for medycynie agaynest ye euyll of Pestylence: And hyt departyd in iiij partys. The fyrst tellys how a mon shall kepe hym in ye tyme of pestylence yt he be nott onfecte yr wyth. The seconde tellys how ye sekenys comes. The thyrd tellys what medycyn ys agaynes ye euyill. The furthe tellys how he shall be kept in hyt. In the first part says ye Clerk yt for ye fault of good rewlunge and dyetyne in metys and drynkes men fallow in to ye sekynes when pestylens raynes in cuntre. A mon yt wyll be kepit fro thys ought hym neds to kepe hym fro all maner excessys and outrage of mete and drynke ne use no bathes neswete nott mykyll for thes open ye pores of a man’s body and makes ye venomous ayr to enter and destroyes ye lyfe spyrytes in a man and enfebles ye body.” 

3. Brit. Mus., Sloane MS. 706. 4to. paper: 14th cent. 

   No. 11. f. 104-106. – “Here begynneth a noble tretyse made of a good phisician John of Burdewes for medicynes agens the pestilence yuylle and it is departyd in iiij partys.” 

4. Brit Mus., Sloane MS. 963. Sm. 4to. paper: 15th cent. 

   No. 9. f. 55b-59. – The same as above, D. No. 3. 

5. Brit. Mus., Sloane MS. 2320. 4to. vellum: 16th cent., Supra C. No. 7. 

   No. 7. f. 16-17b. – The same as above, D. No. 3. 

6. Brit. Mus., Sloane MS. 983. 4to. paper: 15th cent. 

   No. 2. f. 37b-39. – “Here begynnes a nubulle tretise that made a fesicioun John of Burdeoux for medicine aganys the pestylence.” 

7. Brit. Mus., Sloane MS. 1764. 4to. vellum: 15th cent. 

   No. 4. f. 5-6. – “Here begynneth a noble tretyse made of a good phisician John of Burdewz for medicines ageyn the pestilence yvylle.” 

8. Oxford, Rawlinson MS. 429. No. 12. 4to. paper: end of 14th or beginning off 15th century. 

   Begins – “Here begyns a nobyll tretys made of gude fisycyane John of Burdews for medicyn agayne the pestilens yvell.” 

   Ends – “Explicit tractatus Johannis de Barba vel Johannis de Burdigal,” &c. 

9. Oxford, Ashmolean MS. 1481. Supra C. No. 5. 

   Portion D. of MS. No. 1, 15th cent. f. 21-23. – “Here begynnes a nobille tretys made of a nobille fisicyane Joh’n of Burdeux for medecyne agayne ye pestilence eville: And it es departed in iiij partyse. The first tellys how a manne salle kepe hym in tyme of pestilence yat he falle noght in yat sekenes. 

   Ends – “For yer es no sekenes yanne yer es helpe and remedy for it in hynde and it be done in tyme. Explicit tractatus optimus sub compendio, editus per Johannem Burdeux peritum medicum contra morbum pestilencie.” 

10. Brit. Mus., Sloane MS. 2507. 4to. paper: 16th cent. 

   f. 10. – “A noble tretys or Rewle to preserve a man or woman from the infection of the plague or pestilence, and when any man hath yt to be cured of yt, set forth in 4 chapters following sett down or made by the Noble phisysion John of Burgon.” 

   This is a translation of the text in the Black Book of Paisley. It is an independent version and not a transcript of the other translation. 

11. Brit. Mus., Sloane MS. 3489. Supra C. 8. 

12. Brit. Mus., Egerton MS. 2572, fol. vellum: 15th cent. 

   No. 10. f. 67-69. – “Here begynnes a nobyll tretes mayd of a nobyll fessisione Johne of Burdus for medicine agayne the pestilence. And it is partide in iiij partes.” 

   Ends – “And reule them eftir the techynge of this tretes thoro the grace of Gode he shall be helpyde of his sicknes. Amen.” 

   This MS. is the Guild Book of the Barber Surgeons of the City of York made (or at least begun) in the year 1486. 

13. Brit. Mus., Egerton MS. 2433. Paper sm. 4to: 15th cent. 

   No. 4. f. 41-43 – “Here begynns a tretys of surgere after Galyan ye gude leghe and he compellys ye boke owt of latyne into ynglis because he had a gud frend yt vnderstod no latyn. And ys tretes tellys of ye pestelens qch tretes is dewydd in iiij partys.” 

   Ends – “For yr is no sicknes in kynd bot yr is a medecyn in kynd to put yt away qt ye grace of Godd qui scripsit Brunfylld, Amen q. Galyan ye God leche.” 

   This MS. contains the Wise Book of Philosophy and Astronomy, which is also in Sloane MS., 965 at f. 143, b. Supra C. 2. 

E. – Abridgements. 

There are several manuscripts, of what seems to be an abridgement of the smaller treatise with something taken from the larger, although not under the name of John de Burgundia. 

1. Brit. Mus., Sloane MS. 3566. Supra A. No. 2; C. No. 6. 

   f. 101b-112. – “Incipit quidam exhotatio bona contra morbum pestilentialem.” 

   “Dilectissime frater ut intelligi multum times pro instanti pestilentia quasi in ipsa es moriturus et non evasurus scilicet modice fidei noli dubitare nimmo omnem auferas timorem,” &c. 

2. Brit. Mus., Arundel MS. No. 334, sm. 4to. vellum: 15th cent. 

   f. 49-53. – “In hac autem Epistola ostenditur quomodo homo se debeat servare variis modis contra aerem pestilentialem et primo datur consilium ad vitam corrigendam ut patet.” 

   Begins “Dilectissimi fratres,” as in E. No. 1. 

   No Colophon. 

3. Brit. Mus., Sloane MS. 2320, Supra C. No. 7. 

   No. 8, f. 17b-18b. – “Dilectissimi fratres,” as in E. No. 1. 

4. Bodleian, Digby MS. 196. Paper, folio: 15th cent.7 

   No. 63, f. 94b – “Dilectissime frater ut intellixi multum times tibi pro instanti pestilencia quasi in ipsa sis moriturus.” 

5. Mostyn MS. 221. 8vo. paper.8 

   Liber de judiciis urinæ – “Dilectissime frater ut intelligi multum times pro instanti pestilencia.” Followed by an English translation, circa 1400. See Supra A, No. 5. 

The Gouernayle of Health and Thesaurus Pauperum. 

John de Burgundia is also credited in one manuscript with the authorship of the original of the “Gouernayle of health,” printed by Caxton circa 1491, and preprinted in facsimile by Mr. Blades in 1858. In Sloane MS. No. 989 (Brit. Mus.) there is a copy of that work with this colophon (f. 133b):- “And here endeth this treatyse. This lytel booke compiled a worthie clerke called John de Burdeux, for a frende that he had efter the descripcion of mani oder diuerse doctours, that is to saye, Bernarde, Austyn, Plato, Tholome, Sidrac, Arystotell, Auycen, Galyen, and Ypocras among oder diuese according to the same.”9 

   As above mentioned, Borgondio of Pisa translated Galen de regimine sanitatis, of which there are several MSS. One is in the Library of St. Mark, Venice, and another in the British Museum, Addl. MS. 22, 669 (fol. vellum, 14th cent.), De ingenio sanitatis. the colophon to the latter is:- “Explicit quod deficiat hic prius de translatione Burgundionis huius quartidecimi terrapeutice facultatis complete translatum per Magistrum Petrum Paduanum.” This refers to the translation of Galen by John de Burgundio, but the connection of Burgundio with a Regimen Sanitatis probably led some careless or ignorant copyist to assume that it was de Burgundia. In many of the Mss. of the “Regimen Sanitatis” it is ascribed to John de Tholeto, A.D. 1285.10 It corresponds very much with the so-called Letter by Aristotle to Alexander the Great, “De Sanitate tuenda,” a Latin translation of which is ascribed to Joannes Hispalensis s. Hispanensis11 (burney MS. 350, and 360, Brit. Mus.; Sloane MS. 405, No. 3, f. 23b; Sloane MS., 420, No. 20; Arundel MSS., 123 and 459, Exeter College, Oxford, MS. 35, No. 10. there are many MSS. of this letter in the British Museum, Sloane MS. 3566, f. 38 [Supra, A. No. 2, C. No. 6, E. No. 1]; Sloane MS. 282, f. 123; Arundel MS. 185, f. 1; Sloane MS. 59, No. 14; Sloane MS. 783, B. f. 209; Sloane MS. 2320, No. 4, f. 10b. Digby MS. 228, No. 14 (Bodleian, Oxford). It is also printed under the title Secretus Secretorum, Paris, 12mo, 1520; translated into English, London, 4to, 1528. 

   There is likewise attributed to de Burgundia in Sloane MS., 2507, (No. 2. at f. 7.) [Supra, D. No. 10.] a collection of short prescriptions for various ailments under the title of “Thesaurus Pauperum,”12 – “Here begins the noble book of phisicke and surgery called ‘Thesaurus Pauperum,’ containinge divers and sondrye good and approved medisines, oyntments and playsters, approved and mynistered by divers of great learninge and experienced phisissions, and cirurgians bothe of Athens, Greece and other places taken owte of an old booke being written hand as followeth, made by a noble phisisian cally’d John of Burgoyn or otherwise called La Barbe in the yere of Lord God 1327, in the last and first yeres of King Edward the third and King Richard the second.” [Edward II. and Edward III.?] Although bearing the same title, this book is different from the well-known “Thesaurus Pauperum” of Petrus Hispanus, afterwards Pope John XXII., which was translated into English by Humphrey Lloyd under the title, “The Treasury of Health.” In Sloane MS. No. 3489 (f. 1.) a similar collection is attributed to one Friar Randolph. 

   In connection with the Black Book of Paisley and other MSS. of the Scotichronicon, it is of interest to note that Magnus Makculloch transcribed the regimen Sanitatis of Salerno for Lord Borthwick, at Leith, in 1487. (4th Report, Hist, MSS. Comm., p. 351.) 

John de Burgundia, Otherwise Sir John Mandeville. 

   Since the foregoing was printed, a letter has been published13 by Mr. Edward B. Nicholson, which throws new light upon John de Burgundia. Mr. Nicholson suggests that he was the author of the Travels which pass under the name of Mandeville, Jehan de Mandeville being a feigned name, representing none other than de Burgundia. In his article upon Mandeville in the Encyclopædia Britannica,14 Mr. Nicholson put the question whether de Burgundia might not have written the Travels, and now brings evidence to answer his question in the affirmative. 

   In the sixteenth century there was a tomb in the Abbey of the Guilelmites, Liége, now pulled down, said to be that of Mandeville. There were two inscriptions upon it, the one in French,15 the other in Latin. According to the latter, he died at Liége on 17th November, 1371, and was “aliter dictus ad Barbam, miles, dominus de Campdi,.. Medicine professor, devotissimus orator.”16  

   In the early Latin edition of the Travels, in 50 chapters, the writer says (c. vii.) that, when residing at the Court of the Sultan, he saw there a venerable and skilful physician, a native of his own wards, however, in Liége, at the exhortation and with the help (Hortatu et adiutorio) of the same venerable man, I composed this treatise, as I will more fully narrate at the end of this work.” The last chapter (c. L) bears the title “De compositione tractatus in civitate Leodiense,” and then he explains that, as he was returning hom in 1355, he arrived17 at Liége, where he was laid up with weakness and gout in the street called Bassesauenyr.18 “I consulted several physicians of the town, and it happened, by the providence of God, that one came, venerable beyond the others by his age and white hairs, and in his art evidently expert, who was called Johannes as Barbam.”19 A chance remark of the latter caused the renewal of the old acquaintance which they had at Cairo. After showing his medical skill on the patient, he earnestly exhorted and prayed him to write his travels. “And thus at length, with his advice and assistance (monitu et adiutorio), that treatise has been composed, of which, in truth, I had proposed to write nothing until, at least, I had reached my own parts in England.”20 

   Such was the information which Mr. Nicholson had before him when he wrote his Encyclopædia article. In the Academy he gives the following confirmatory passage from the fourth part of Johain d’ Oultremouse’s chronicle taken from a MS. in the library of St. Laurent-lez-Liége, as preserved by Lefort:- “L’an M.CCC.LXXII., mourut à Liége le 12 nov. un homme fort distingué par sa naissance, content de s’y faire connoître sous le nom de Jean de Bourgogne dit à la Barbe; il s’ ouvrit néanmoins au lit de la mort à la mort à Jean d’Outremeuse son compère et institué son exécuteur testamentaire. De vray il se titra dans le précis de sa dernière volonté messire Jean de Mandeville, chevalier, comte de Monfort en Angleterre et seigneur de l’Isle de Campdi et du château Pérouse. Ayant cependant eu le malheur de tuer en son pays un compte qu’il ne nomme pas, il s’engagea à parcourir les trois parties du monde, vint à Liége en 1343; tout sorti qu’il étoit d’une noblesse très-distingueé, il aima de s’y tenir caché. Il étoit au reste grand naturaliste, profond philosophe et astrologue, y joint en particulier une connaissance très-singulière de la physique, se trompant rarement lorsqu’il disoit son sentiment à l’égard d’un malade, s’il en reviendroit ou pas, etc.” (Lefort, Vol. XXVII. p. 102). 

   There is here the statement by a contemporary writer of the identity of John de Burgundia and John de Mandeville. The latter, it is said, is the real, the former an assumed name, and a reason for the change is given. the question arises, is the story true? Mr. Nicholson says No! and in this I agree. he rejects, however, his English origin, but in this I cannot follow him. I had previously come to the conclusion that John de Burgundia was an Englishman, and that he himself was the author of the English version of the treatise de Pestilentia, and the additional information, strengthens the impression – I cannot put it higher. Whatever was his nationality, he was highly popular as a medical authority in England, and more MSS. of his medical writings are to be found in Great Britain than elsewhere. He died at Liége in 1371 or 1372.21 He was resident there, and was practising as a physician at the time of the plague in 1365. According to the Latin abridgement of the Travels, he arrived there after his journeyings in 1355. According to d’Oultremouse, he originally settled there in 1343. he was buried at Liége, and on the tomb erected in that town his epitaph bears that he was born in England. No doubt this was his own story, but it was believed by the people of the place, who must, at any rate, have looked upon him as a foreigner. by his own account he was born at St. Albans.22 Within half a century of his death Thomas of Walsingham, precentor of the Abbey, enrols him amongst the notables of the town. “Dominus Johannes de Mandevile, miles, pervagator pœne totius orbis, et in multis bellis contra nostrae fidei adversarios lacessitus, sed minime fatigatus, librum composuit gallice de hiis quaecunque videt, hic in villa de Sancto Albano materno utero fusus est.”23 This is probably taken from the Travels, but, even in that uncritical age, a writer such as Walsingham would scarcely have adopted it unless he had some further grounds for believing it. It must have been perfectly well known at St. Albans whether it was true.24 

   Jöcher25 gives Manduith as a variant of Mandeville, and adds that, for some unexplained circumstance, he was known as ad Barbam, and also Magnovillanus.26 He says he practised medicine and wrote 

Tabulae astronomicae, 

De chorda recta et umbra, 

De doctrina theologica. 

He refers as an authority to Leland’s Collectanea, who mentions, Tabula Manduith de corde recta et umbra;27 and Mandut, bonus astronomus qui tabulas in astronomica composuit et medicina.28 There are several alchemical MSS. at Oxford by Joannes de Magna Villa;29 and Tanner mentions that there was extant at Antwerp, in 1564, a work by Mandeville de re medica.30 Bale says (cent. 6) that Sir John Mandeuil, after having grounded himself in religion, “applied his studies to the arte of Physicke, a profession worthy a noble wit.” 

   To Mandeville there is ascribed a Lapidarium or treatise on precious stones, Le Lapidaire en francoys compose par messire Jehan de Mandeuille, cheualier,31 said to be translated from the Latin work by d’Oultremouse, in a passage quoted by Mr. Nicholson. 

   Sir John Mandeville, or, as we should now say, John de Burgundia, long enjoyed the title “father of English prose,” as the reputed author of the quaint old English version of the Travels, but Mr. Nicholson and others32 would strip him of the honour on the ground that the translation has been attributed to him in error. But the argument upon which they principally rely, that the current Latin and English texts do not agree, and that there are mistakes of translation in the English version, is not conclusive. 

   John de Burgundia had a strange desire to publish his writings in many forms. We have the treatise De pestilentiia in full and abridged, in Latin and English. May the same thing not have occurred in reference to the travels? They were written in Latin, and translated into English and French, and were also issued in an abridged form. The fashion of the day was to produce varieties not replicas, and is illustrated by the history of the Scotichronicon, of which there is the full text, varying more or less in each MS.; the abridgement of the Book of Cupar, the Carthusian MS. and others; while if Bower had executed a translation it would certainly have differed from all of them.  

Literature of the Plague or Pestilence. 

   The literature of the Pestilence33 is very extensive and occupied a prominent place in the Medical Library a few centuries ago. In the British Museum a large collection of works upon the subject will be found under the Press mark, 1167, d.-f. The great authority in the Middle Ages was Avicenna who treats of the subject in the fourth Canon, Fen 1, Tract 4. (Works, Venet. 1608, fol. ii., p. 67, et sqq). One of the most popular treatises was the “Regimen contra pestilentiam,” generally ascribed to Canutus or Kanutus, or Knuds as he is styled by Bruun, Bishop of Aarhuus in Denmark, which passed through many editions and has found translators in various languages.34 There is a tract in Sloane MS., 3124, f. 61-66, which substantially corresponds with this treatise,35 in which the authorship is ascribed not to Kanutus but to Joannes Jacobi of Montpellier,36 Master of Arts, who was Chancellor of the Medical Faculty in that university and the author of several Medical Treatises.37 But whoever the author was he appears to have been resident at Montpellier. In the manuscripts bearing the name of the Bishop of Aarhuus, the writer remarks:- “In Monte autem Pessulano communitatem non potui quia transiui de domo ad domum curando infirmos causa paupertatis mee.” This passage is omitted in the Sloane MS., although the title connects it with the place. 

   There is an early Lyons print, “Regime contre la pestillance fait et composé de la cité de Balle en Allemaigne,”38 which is much the same as the Regimen of Kanutus. 

   In an English version of the Regimen (Sloane MS., 404, f. 282-293), the Colophon ascribes the authorship to “the Lorde Kanutte, Bysshope of Arusiensis cite in ye kyngdome of Dacia the which was very experte in the science physical.” 

   The Regimen itself has been often printed, 1470, 1485,39 4to, and subsequent dates. 

   The English translation was published by W. Machlinia, – “A passing gode lityll boke necessary and behovefull agenst the pestilence.”40 

   In Add. MS. 27,582, British Museum, there is a treatise f. 70-82, on “Venymes feuer of pestilens,” by Thomas Forrestier, a Norman physician resident in England, which is dedicated to Henry VII. It is referred to in a larger treatise on the same subject which was published at Rouen in 1490, and which was also translated into French, and published at the same place in 1495.41 

   Benedict of Nursia was the author of a treatise42 not unlike that of John de Burgundia, and this has been repeatedly printed,43 and has likewise been translated into English. “A compendius trete of the excellent and worsypfulle master of physyc aboue halle otherus prince of his age Master Benedicte of Nursia, phisician and senator of the Duke of Anguerie.”44 

   Benedict was likewise the author of a Regimen Sanitatis, bearing the title Libellus de Conservatione sanitatis. Of this there is a copy in the Cambridge University Library.45 

   Valastus de Tarenta wrote a tract de Epidemia et Peste, which was printed as early as 1475,46 and often subsequently, and has also been translated into French.47 

   Petrus Maynardus was the author of a treatise De Preservatione Hominum a Pestiphero Morbo, which was printed about 1495. There is a Tractatus de Pestilentia by Jacobus Salicetus dictus Mechinger, printed in 1501. 

   In the Magliabecchi Library, Florence, there are several MS. works on the subject;48 and amongst the MSS. in the British Museum there are a considerable number besides those already mentioned.49 

   St. Sebastian was the guardian against the plague,50 and in Sloane MS., 775, f. 51b, is Oratio ad S. Sebastianum contra pestem. 

   Paul the Deacon mentions that the plague was on one occasion depopulating certain parts of Italy, when it was revealed to a certain person that it would not stay until an altar was erected to St. Sebastian in the Church of St. Peter ad Vincula. This was done, and the plague abated.51 

   In the Vale of Leven, in the parish of Cardross, Dumbartonshire, there is a place called St. Sebastian, which may commemorate a visitation of the plague. 

   There was an altar to St. Sebastian in the Cathedral of Brechin. 

1  Perhaps John Burgoyne, or John Beard, Baird, or Berde; or it may be Burdeye or Barbour or Barber. He also appears under the names John de Burgoyne, de Burgeyne, of Burgoyn, of Burgon, John Burgoyne, John de Burdegalia, de Bourdeux, of Burdeaux or Burdeux, of Burdewes or Burdewz, or Burdouse, John the Burdoux, John de Barba, la Barbe, a la Barbe, de Berbe, ad Barbam.  

2  Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, The Prologue.  
3  Translation, Sloane MS. 3449, f. 6. 

4  Coxe’s Catalogue of MSS. in the Oxford College Libraries. Pars, ii., Coll. S. J. B., p. 55. The treatises de flebotomia and de urinis are probably by John Damascenus. 

5  Joannes de Burgundio, Giovanni Borgondo or Borgondione of Pisa, theologian, poet, lawyer and physician, died at Pisa, 1190 or 1194. He translated parts of the works of S. John Damascenus, S. John Chrysostom and Nemesius, and some of the Geoponica. There are also in manuscript translations by him into Latin of Galen de alimentis, and de regimine Sanitatis. The translation of the Greek passages in the Pandects has been ascribed to him, on the authority of Odofredus of Bologna (circa, 1250), in 22 in fin. fr. de legibus (Dig. 1, 3, 2). Nouvelle Biog. Universelle; Mazzuchelli, Gli Scrittori d’ Italia, vol II. Pt. III. p. 1768. Fabricius, Bibliotheca Latina Med. et Inf. Ætatis, vol. I., p. 304 (Patavii, 1754); Panzirolus de claris legum interpretibus, L. II. c. 15; Albericus Gentilis Dialogus III. (Cato), De juris interpretibus – printed along with Panzirolus, p. 594 (Ed. Lips. 1721). 

   See Additional MSS. Brit. Mus. 15407, f. 119b, 15608, f. 100, 15606, f. 71, and the colophon f. 27, to Add MS. 22, 669. 

6  The accounts of the Ashmolean manuscript are from Black’s Catalogue of the Ashmolean MSS. Oxford, 1845-66, 4to. 

7  Macray Catalogue MSS., Bibl. Bodl., Par. IX. (Oxford, 1883). 

8  4th Report Hist. MSS. Comm., p. 359. 

9  The title is – “In this litil treteis that is callid Gouernale of helth, sum what shortly is to be seide of thynges that longyn to bodily helth lost and to be recouered by the grace of God; and it is departed in 28 chapetirs:” Begins – “It nedith hym that wil lyue longe to knowe crafte of holsome gouernayle.” See Mostyn MS., 105 – “Tractatus de regimine sanitatis per magnum berudu de gurdoia [burgundia or bernardum de Gordonio?] Anno Domini MoCCCo Ʌo.” (Hist. MSS. Comm., IV., p. 351.) In Digby MS. 95 (Bodleian, Oxford) of the 14th century the Liber de conservanda Sanitate; the Gouernayle; and a Tractus de pestilencia stand together. 

10  See Arundel MS. 334, f. 49; Sloane MS. 148, f. 63; Sloane MS. 405, f. 25b. Exeter College, Oxford, MS. 35, No. 21; Ashmolean MS., Oxford, 1434, No. 2. In the library of Pembroke College, Oxford, there is a MS. “Summa de felicitate conservanda, a Magistro Johanne de Coleto.” (Hist. MSS. Comm., VI., p. 550.) 

11  This Joannes Hispalensis is a different person from the Archbishop the reputed translator of the Bible into Arabic. See Antonius, Bibliotheca Hispana Vetus, Vol. ii., p. 370. (Matriti, 1788.) He translated Messehalla de significatione planetarum. Digby MS. 228, No. 24, Bodleian Oxford. Perhaps John de Tolete and Joannes Hispalensis are different names for the same person. 

12  There is a Thesaurus Pauperum amongst the MSS. of the Marquis of Salisbury appended to a copy of the Lilium Medicinæ of Bernard de Gordon. Hist. MSS. Comm., V., p. 294. 

13  The Academy, 12th April, 1884, p. 261. 

14  New (9th) Edition, s.v. Mandeville. 

15  This is quoted by Pits de illustribus Angliæ Scriptoribus, p. 512 (Paris, 11619). 

16  The Epitaph is quoted in full, rom Ortelius, Itinerarium Belgiæ, p. 16, in Hakluyt’s voyages, ii. p. 77 (4to, London, 1810), and in the 1725 Edition of the Travels in English – reprint 1869, p. xxiv. The Abbé Lambinet, writing in 1799, says that he had seen the tomb, and gives a copy of the Latin Epitaph as taken by himself. The date of Madeville’s death he gives as 17th November, 1372. Recherches sur l’ origine de l’Imprimerie, p. 302. A copy of the Epitaph is in Cole’s Collections, vol. VII. (Add. MS., Brit. Mus. 5808 at f. 99). 

17  Edition No. 3 infra reads pervenissem – editions 1 and 2, permansissem. 

18  Edition No. 3 reads Bassesanemi; editions 1 and 2, Bassesauenyr. the Bodleian MSS., Bassesanenir and Bassesanonir. The Harleian MS. (infra) Bassesa veinre. 

19  The Harleian MS. adds “vel de Barba.” 

20  There are three early editions of the Latin text in 50 chapters (1) Itinerarius domini Johannis de mandeville militis. Sm. 4to, s. l. et a. Double columns of 30 lines each; signatures a, i. iij; Grenville Library (Brit. Mus.) 6700. (2) Johannis de Monte Villa Itinerarius in partes Iherosolomitanas; et in ulteriores transmarinas sm. 4to, s.l. et a. (48 leaves, sig. a, i. to i., iiii, 37 lines to the page). No colophon. Advocates Library, British Museum and Grenville Library (British Museum), 6699. There is a 3rd edition also sm. 4to, s.l. et a. (62 leaves first blank, sig. a-h, 3) with no title, but with a colophon: “Explicit itinerarius a terra Anglie in partes Ierosolimitanas et in alteriores transmarinas editus primo in lingua gallicana a domino Johanne de Mandeville milite suo auctore Anno incarnacionis domini MCCCLV. in civitate Leodiensi et paulo post in eadem civitate translatus in dictā formā Latinā; Quod opus ubi inceptum simul et completum sit ipsa elementa seu singularum seorsum caracteres literarum quibus impressum vides Venetica monstrant manifesto.” Copies are in the Advocates Library, Grenville Library, and British Museum (the latter wants the blank leaf at the beginning), to which are appended the Travels of Ludolphus de Sachen, as Brunet says is generally the case. According to Abbé Lambinet, this edition was printed at Antwerp by Thierry Markus. Recherches sur l’ origine de l’Imprimerie, p. 299; but see Graesse, tresor, s. v. Mandeville. Harleian MS. (Brit. Mus.) 3589, f. 74-143, contains both the Itinerarius of Mandeville in 50 chapters, and the Travels of Ludolph, as in the above printed edition:- “Itinerarius magistri Johannis de Mandeuelt ad partes Iherosolimitanas et ad ulteriores partes transmarinas qui obiit Leodii Anno dm MCCCLXXXIIo.” The passage in which the meeting with Johannes ad Barbam is first mentioned is in the MS. c. viii., not c. vii. as in the printed text. This early abridged edition is reprinted Hakluyt’s Voyages, vol. II., p. 77-138 (Lond., 1810). 

21 In Harleian MS. 3589, as will be observed the date is given 1382, but this is doubtless a clerical error for 1372. 

22 Sloane MS. 1464 (15th century) contains (f. 1-161) the French version of the Travels. There is a note, f. 161 b. on another St. Alban in Germany. 

23 Annales Monas. S. Albani, Johannis Amundesham II., p. 306 (Rolls Series). See also II., p. 331. In a note, p. 296, the authorship of the tract from which the above quotation is taken, is ascribed to Thomas Walsingham. As to Walsingham’s era, see Walsingham Hist. Anglicana, II., p. xx. (Rolls Series). 

24 If there is a doubt as to his nationality, perhaps after all we may claim it for Scotland, as in 1296 one John de Mundeville was parson of Moffat in Dumfriesshire (Chalmers’ Caledonia, III. p. 182). 

25 Jöcher, Gelehrten Lexicon s.v. Madeville. 

26 See also Fabricus Bibliotheca Med. et. Inf. Latinitatis, Vol. IV., p. 100 (Patavii, 1754). In the early Latin edition, No. 2 Supra, he is styled Joannes de Monte Ville, and this is repeated in the German translation of 1481. 

27 Leland, Collectanea, ed. Hearne IV., p. 20. 

28 Ib. IV., p. 55. there is a fuller list in Tanner, Bibliotheca, p. 506. See also Catalogue of MSS. in the Library of the University of Cambridge, Vol. III., No. 1572, p. 214. 

29 Ashmolean MSS. 1407, No. 106 (II. f. 51, b); 1441, No. 6 (f. 25-28); 1479, No. 36. 

30 Tanner, Bibliotheca, f. 106. No mention, however, of such a MS. occurs in Mertens’ Bibliotheca Antverpiensis (Anvers, 1843-46, 2 vols 8vo). 

31 Lyons s.a. Reprinted 12mo, Paris, 1561, under the title Le grand lapidaire, où sont déclarez les noms de pierres orientales avec les vertus et propriétez d’icelles, et les isles et pays ou elles croissent. Again reprinted and edited with notes by Is. del Sotto (8vo, Vienne, 1862). 

32 Encyclopædia Britannica, ut supra

33 There is a history of Epidemic Pestilences by Edward Bascombe. 8vo, London, 1851. See also Fodere, on the Pestilence in the Dictionnaire des Sciences Medicales, LI., p. 81. Catalogues de la Bibliotheque Impériale – Catalogue des Sciences Médicales. II., p. 670, 676 sqq. 

34 For the bibliography of the Regimen see Brunn (c. W.) Aarsberetninger, p. 82, et sqq. (Copenhagen, 1866): Graesse, Trésor de livres rares. Supplement, s.v., Canutus. Hain, Repertorium Bibliographicum. No. 9752, et sqq

35 In the same MS., f. 66-70, there is yet another “Tractatus de regimine contra Impedimiarum et Pestilentiarum mortalitatem,” which in the main corresponds with the preceding. 

36 There is a manuscript in the Magliabecci Library, Florence, (MS. Class, xv., 7, 192, paper, 15th cent.) which seems to be a transcript of the same work. The author f. 4b refers to himself as, “Jo. de Ja.” 

37 See Catalogue Cod. MSS. Bibl. Reg. (Paris, 1744). Part III. Tom. IV. No. 6957, 6988. (Secretarius practicæ medicinæ; tractatus de Pestilentia). He is referred to in c. 6 of Insigne Opus de Epidemia compositum s… Jacobo Toldo,.. 4to, 1490, [Florence]. 

38 See Graesse. tresor, s. v. regimen. 

39 There are in the Grenville Library (British Museum) two Editions, Antwerp, 1485. In both, the authorship is ascribed to Kanutus [or Canutus] bishop of Arusia [Aarhuus]. 

40 Some of the editions of the English versions are given in Lowndes s.v., Pestilence. British Museum Catalogue, s.v., Canutus. 

41 Graesse, ut supra, s.v., Forrestier. 

42 It is quoted by John Vochs, De Pestilentia, c. 1. 12. (4to Magdeburg, 1507). 

43 See De Bure, Catalogue des Livres de la Bibliotheque de feu M. le duc de la Valliere. Ire Part., Vol. I., No. 1715. (Paris, 1783.) 

44 Sloane MS., 404. No. 2, f. 243b-282. It belonged to John Weston in 1574, and before this to Gabriel Gostwyk. 

45 Catalogue III., p. 84. It is there said that it has not been printed. This is a mistake. There is a printed copy in the British Museum, of date 1477, bound up along with Tadeus de Florentia de Regimine Sanitatis. Tadeus’ work was translated into Italian, 8vo. Imola, 1852. The MS. used does not seem to be so complete as that of the printed Latin text. This work corresponds very much with Aristotle’s Letter to Alexander above mentioned. 

46 Hain, No. 15244, et sqq

47 Catalogue des MSS. Francais, I. No. 630 (4to, 1808). 

48 MS. Class xv., 7. 192. Class xv., 9. 185. 

49 See Sloane MSS., 783 b, No. 13; 775, No. 3; 135, No. 13; 213, No. 24; 475, No. 6; 59, No. 10; 75, No. 10; Additional MSS., 14 251, f. 212; 27, 329, f. 236; 30, 935, No. 18; Arundel MS., No. 88; Egerton MSS., 1624; 1650; Royal MS., 13, c. XII. 

50 Acta Sanctorum, Jan. II., p. 259.

51 Ib., p. 260. 

2 thoughts on “Note B – John De Burdeus, or De Burgundia; The Pestilence, pp.79-91.

Leave a Reply