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MAGIC OR SCIENCE? WHAT "OLD WOMEN LAPIDARIES" KNEW IN THE AGE OF CELESTINA Paloma Moral de Calatrava Universidad de Murcia Señora, perfuma tocas, hace solimán y otros treinta oficios. Conoce mucho en hierbas, cura niños y aun algunos la llaman la vieja lapidaria. (Rojas, Celestina 110) [She's a perfumer, madam, and makes whitening, and has thirty other trades. She's very clever with herbs and she physics babies, and some people call her the old charmseller]. (Cohen 61)' Lucrecia's description ofCelestina is consistentwidi some ofdie features mat characterized women's work in die MiddleAges and the Renaissance. These features included the lack of professional training compared to diat received by men; die exercise of many different skills at once, confounding any attempt at specialization and dius preventing a woman from acquiring a deeper practical knowledge ofher field; and die erratic nature of her professional career (Monica Green, "Documenting I would like to thank Kirstin Kennedy for translating this article into English, and for her helpful suggestions. Unless otherwise noted, all translations of quotes are by Kennedy. I am also most grateful to Montserrat Cabré, Carmen Caballero Navas and Sol Miguel-Prendes, whose comments have enriched this work byproviding me with additional references and information. The English translation for the quotes is included here for the benefit ofhistorians ofmedicine who may not feel secure reading fifteenth-century Spanish. 1 For passages from Fernando de Rojas's Celestina, I rely on two sources, Dorothy S. Severin's edition with James Mabbe's 1631 translation for the Spanish (cited as Rojas, Celestina), andJohn Michael Cohen's translation for the English (cited as Cohen). Cohen has altered the sense of his original somewhat, having rendered Spanish lapidaria as "charmseller". Mabbe's 1631 version translates it accurately as "the old woman lapidar)'", adding the gloss, "for her great dealing in stones" (111). La corónica 36.1 (Fall, 2007): 203-35 204Paloma Moral de CalatravaLa coránica 36.1. 2007 medieval women's medical jiractice" 332). The way in which medieval society was organized meant that universities and. more particularly, faculties of medicine, had the power to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate learning. Thus it was that university doctors were resj)onsible for assessing the theoretical knowledge and expertise of those in the healing profession (Pearl Kibre 5). Inherent to the hierarchical nature of medieval and Renaissance society, moreover, was the conscious ostracization ofwomen medical practitioners, which meant their skills were undervalued and the women found themselves relegated to a legal gray area that obscured and undermined their work. This state of affairs meant not only that female healers were described as untutored practitioners, but also that university-educated physicians could link their methods with magic, superstition and heresy.In Castile in the thirteenth century, the FueroJuzgo, the Fuero Real, and Alfonso Xs Siete Partidas provided sjiecific legislation on medical practice. However, it was the Catholic Monarchs in the fifteenth century who setup a crown dejiartment, the Tribunal del Protomedicato, that was charged with monitoring good jiracticc among the medical and health professions throughout the Castilian territories. While the law they passed on 30 March, 1477 had allowed physicians and municipal judges (alcaldes) to admit to examination female candidates wishing to exercise any profession connected with health/1 the law approved in 1523 ortlered the Tribunal del Protomedicato: '-' According to Michael Solomon, "Celestina . . . like the Spill, is a work that attempts to reaffirm the relation between healing and clinical authorttv" [i.e., ofmen] (The Literature ofMisogyny in Medieval Spain 1 66; see also "Women Healers and the Power to Disease in Late Medieval Spain" 90). On the mattet ofpower vs authoritv among men and women, see Montserrat Cabré and Fernando Salmón Muñiz 55-75. For the link between mtdwives and witches, see Thomas Forbes's study and David Harlev 1-26.·' "Mandamos, que los Protomédicos v.Vlcaldes Examinadores mayores, que de Nos tuvieren poder. Io sean en todos nuestros rcvnos, ? señoríos, que agora son o fueren de aquí adelante, para examinar los Físicos ? Cirujanos, ? ensalmadores, ? Boticarios, ? especieros ? herbolarios, ? otras personas que en todo o en parte usaren de estos oficios, y en oficios a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-4261
Print ISSN
0193-3892
Pages
pp. 203-235
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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