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158 Reviews close a focus and, for a general book, a neglect of non-Germantopics,examples, and sources. John O.Ward Department of History University of Sydney Garcia-Ballester, Luis, M. R. McVaugh and A. Rubio-Vela, Medical licensing and learning in fourteenth-century Valencia (Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, Volume 79, Part 6), Philadelphia, The American Philosophical Society, 1989; paper; pp. 128; 1 map, 1 ill.; US$15.00. This detailed local study of medical regulation in fourteenth-century Valencia has five chapters of commentary and two appendices, the second containing thirtyone documents presented in parallel translation from Catalan, Castilian, and Latin. The authors focus on the furs (law-code) of 1329, which prescribed the method for obtaining a licence to practise, professional responsibilities, and punitive measures for breaches of the code. The licensing examination was based on the lectio, atechnicalreading of one or more standard medical texts, such as Ibn Rushd's Colliget. Apart from the lectio, which could range from a simple explication of terms to extensive questioning, the applicant's knowledge of diagnosis and treatment was also tested. Apart from fuU licences, conditional licences were approved, particularly where surgical techniques were involved. In these examinations a demonstrably high level oftechnicalknowledge was the paramount consideration. Following the lectio, candidates presented themselves to the municipal authorities with a letter attesting to the results of the examination. Theoretically at least, no-one could qualify for a licence unless they had studied medicine for four years at a studium generale. However, licensing was not a prerequisite to practise. M a n y practitioners offered themselves for examination only when candidature was forced on them; for example, after their activity came to the attention of municipal authorities or licensed physicians. This brings us to the problematic nature of the administration of thefurs. From its inception, the furs was ostensibly used by the municipal authorities to ensure a high standard of medical practice, but the profession itself used thefurs to further its corporate goals and for self-regulation. Consequendy, the community consistently took offence at attempts by physicians to use the furs against unlicensed health providers. Such action was seen as based on financial self-interest,ratherthan medico-legal reasons. There was also a conscious effort to Christianise formal medical training. This made it impossible for Muslims and Jews to gain the formal qualification necessary for licensing. Although M u s U m s accounted for at least two-thirds of Reviews 159 the population, the authors have found only two formal requests by Muslims for licences. Therefore, it seems that the authorities simply ignored the large number of M u s U m s servicing their community. Another glaring contradiction arose from the specific prohibition in thefurs against women, especially Muslim women, from practising all but domestic healing and midwifery. The authors conclude that the prohibition had no effect at aU. With a lack of suitably-qualified men, the availability of competent female health providers was far too important for the prohibition to have the actual support of the crown, the medical community or the people. Despite the fact that the authors raise far more questions than they answer, this should not deter readers from availing themselves of this well-researched book. Apart from its historiographical value, the book reminds us that the medico-legal issues which faced fourteenth-century Valencian society are still with us today. Christopher Francis Department of Science and Technology Studies University of N e w South Wales Ginzburg, Carlo, The enigma of Piero: Piero della Francesca, the Baptism, the Arezzo cycle, the Flagellation, Introduction by P. Burke, rpt, London, Verso, 1985; paper; pp. x, 164; 94 plates; R. R. P. AUS$27.95; Burke, Peter, The Italian Renaissance: culture and society in Italy, rev. ed., rpt; Oxford, Basil Blackwell/Polity Press, 1988; paper; pp. vi, 287; 34 ill.; R. R. P. AUS$27.95. The studies of Carlo Ginzburg and Peter Burke are linked not only by their location within Renaissance Italian culture but also by the role of Peter Burke in the 1970s in importing into Britain some of the newer historical methods and techniques from the Continent. Thus it is Burke who has...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 158-159
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-03
Open Access
No
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