Middle Ages

Few texts have survived regarding a subject then considered trivial and unworthy to justify the time and energy of scribes. Dating to 920, the Leech Book, from England, presents some condensed treatments; the Physica of Hildegarde of Bingen (1098-1179) contains empirical formulas, prayers and exorcisms, and De Animalibus by Albert the Great (circa 1200-1280) contains the various information presented in Aristotle's work and adds other formulas.

Rare Middle Age treatises on the veterinary art which have made their way to our times come from Italy.

Alongside these disparate fragments are some major treatises: the first, written by Jordanus Ruffus in the 13th century, is the most comprehensive treatise on horse care from the Middle Ages. He describes a large number of mainly external and visible diseases that can be dealt with in contact with the animal, using, according to some observers, highly sensible treatments, thus evidencing that the author was a true practitioner. Books of hours, epic novels such as the Livre du Roi Modus et de la reine Ratio [Book of King Modus and Queen Ratio] by Henri de Ferrieres (between 1354 and 1374), and especially hunting treatises bear witness to Middle Age caregiving practices for valuable animals such as horses, dogs and, particularly, falcons.

In France, the 16th-century publication of the work of the blacksmith Laurentius Rusius (1288-1347), an Italian blacksmith who had practised in Rome, brought the first high-quality and detailed practical treatise to France.

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