Dead Monk Tweets

One of the more charming features of Twitter is its voices of the past, and a favorite of mine is Constantinus Africanus, who introduces himself thus: "Native Tunisian. Merchant-turned-monk. Medical translator (from Arabic) and editor. Cultural influencer. Died 22 Dec., before 1098/99."

To expand on that a little, Constantine was a Christian from Tunisia who spent the final part of his life as a Benedictine at Monte Cassino Abbey in Italy. As a translator of the medical greats, he helped change the course of primitive western medicine. So he does have an affinity with today's social media hepcats.

I can't understand how Constantine is still writing 920 years after his death, but it's possible he is getting social-media coaching from a digital humanities hero, Professor Monica H. Green of Arizona State University. So far Constantine has just 188 Twitter followers and he really needs a boost, considering all the hard work he put into making people well. So hop over to Twitter and follow him.

Incidentally, Constantine's work shows up in at least two of the seven codices digitized by the Vatican Library this week:
  1. Vat.lat.649, a 12th-century Haymo of Halberstadt: In Epistolas Pauli omnes on the epistles. Here's an initial for De Virginibus praeceptum:
  2. Vat.lat.2132 (Upgraded to HQ), Paul of Venice on logic
  3. Vat.lat.2416 (Upgraded to HQ), a densely written 14th-century compendium of mainly Arab medicine, including fols. 51v-55v: Constantinus Africanus, De stomachi affectionibus liber, cap. 1-25. eTK lists incipits: Abaseph id est puncti III; Alasef id est puncti rubei
  4. Vat.lat.2424, the Brevarium, a medical work, by Yahya ibn Sarafyun (9th century) a Syriac physician, known in Europe as Johannes Serapion
  5. Vat.lat.2441, medicines
  6. Vat.lat.2454, 14th-century compilation of translations by Constantine Africanus
  7. Vat.lat.2940, a 15th-century student's compendium with everything from Cicero and Pliny to Boccaccio
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 150. Thanks to @gundormr for harvesting. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.

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