[Sca-cooks] Hildegard on Hamsters

emilio szabo emilio_szabo at yahoo.it
Sun Jun 12 14:25:26 PDT 2011

<< I was always fascinated by the entry for the Hamster in Hildegard von 
Bingen's Physica. She arranges her chapters by size, starting with the largest 
of the category of animal she is addressing and going down. >>

What do you mean by "chapter" and what by "category of animal"?

The text is organized in "books" (i.e. something like main chapters), 
each book/main chapter contains sections/secondary chapters on different plants, 
animals etc.

The Lion (book 7, chapter 3) preceeds the horse (book 7, chapter 8). 

<< The description stated that hamsters were fierce, like bears, and that their 
fur made good clothing.  I cannot remember what she said about eating them. >>

No culinary uses are mentioned.

 The liver of the hamster in a pulverized form is suggested to be eaten on bread 
or in a broth for certain skin diseases. This indication is compared to eating 
the flesh of mole for the same diseases.

The distinction between "(regular) food" and eating something for medical 
purposes is mentioned explicitely in the chapter on mole (book 7, chapter 37).


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