Last week I went to the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh to attend the official launch of the "Scotland and medicine in print" website. This coincided with the opening of the exhibition "Written on the Body", which can be seen at the Surgeons' Hall Museum in Edinburgh. I have to admit that a few (not many!) of the exhibits are a bit gory for my taste, but then I am particularly squeamish ...
The "Scotland and medicine in print" website brings together a vast range of images with explanations of medical items printed in Scotland. The original items are held at a variety of partner organisations of the Scotland and Medicine project. One of the highlights of the website is a digital image of the earliest known book about medicine printed in Scotland:
This "brief description of the plague" was written by the Aberdeen doctor Gilbert Skeyne (c. 1522-1599), who later became physician to James VI. The book was printed in 1568 and describes the plague that broke out in Edinburgh that year. It is written neither in Latin nor in English, but in Scots! That is because the work is a serious attempt to give advice to the population about how to avoid infection and, if it's too late for that, on the treatment of the plague. Although Skeyne regarded good hygiene as important, he stated that "the principal preservative cure of the pest is, to returne to God":
The original copy of the book forms part of our Imprentit exhibition. You can see it in the Science & Technology case.