The Surgeon: Surgery, Chivalry, and Sin in the Practica of John Arderne

  • Jeremy J. Citrome
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


The Middle English version of the Latin Practica of the fourteenth-century English surgeon John Arderne opens with the following anecdote: Sir Adam Everingham, a nobleman associated with Henry, earl of Derby (later duke of Lancaster), develops a case of anal fistula, from which he is in a continual state of unbearable pain. He consults doctors and surgeons in Gascony, Bordeaux, Toulouse, and elsewhere, but time and time again is told he is incurable. Giving up hope, Everingham returns home to Tuxford, and, according to Arderne as mediated by his translator, “did of al his kny3tly clothinges and cladde mornyng clothes, in purpose of abydyng dissoluyng, or lesyng, of his body beyng ni3 to hym.”1 Arderne, hearing of Everingham’s ailment, “y-sou3t” him out, and, “couenant y-made,” heals him within six months. Everingham, newly “hole and sounde,” goes on to live another thirty years, ‘while Arderne, for this first successful implementation of his cure for fistula-in-ano, wins “myche honour and louyng Þur3 al ynglond” (p. 1).


Anal Fistula Somatic Anxiety Human Flesh Maternal Authority Medieval Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Jeremy J. Citrome 2006

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  • Jeremy J. Citrome

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