Astrological medicine and the medieval English folded alihanac

HM Carey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


An earlier study (see Social History of Medicine, 16.3 (2003): 481-509) has provided an analysis of twenty-nine surviving examples of the folded almanac, a group of small, late medieval manuscripts which have been of considerable interest to medical historians. It has been demonstrated that the folded almanac was an English innovation designed in part to cater to the needs of medical practitioners and other professionals with an interest in astrological medicine. This article extends the discussion by considering the date, provenance, and audience of the folded almanac and analyses what these manuscripts can reveal about the role of astrology, medicine, and the calendar in the worldviews of their owners and users. It is argued that astrological medicine. as reflected in the folded almanac, is likely to have been a key force in the wider dissemination of astrology in late medieval English society. The folded almanac can be seen as the progenitor of all later compact-format diaries, calendars, and electronic organizers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-363
Number of pages19
JournalSocial History of Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004


  • astrology
  • medieval medicine
  • iatromathematics
  • manuscripts
  • calendar
  • almanac
  • phlebotomy


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