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Alphanus I (Alfano) of Salerno (Archbishop, Physician, Poet, Translator) d. 1085

Alphanus I Demographics:
  • Name - Alphanus I (Alfano I, Saint Alfano I, Alfanus, Alpuhans)
  • Birth - uncertain.
  • Death - 1085
  • Occupation - Archbishop of Salerno, physician.
  • Skills - Chronicler, monk, physician, poet, theologian, translator (esp Latin & Arabic), writer.
Alphanus' Religious Life:
  • Initially a Benedictine Monk of Monte Cassino.
  • Alphanus was held in high regard by prince Gisulf of Salerno.
  • Eventually this lead to him becoming archbishop of Salerno from 1058 to his death in 1085.
  • During Alphanus' later days as archbishop, he sheltered the exiled reformer, Pope Gregory VII.
  • The exciled Pope Gregory VII would eventually die in Salerno.
Alphanus' Literature:
  • Alphanus was distinguished as a literary man.
  • He was well known in medieval literature for his poems.
  • Alfano as probably the greatest poet of Italy in the 11th century.
Alphanus' Medical Life:
  • In his youth he studied at the Medical School at Salerno (Schola Medica Salernitana).
  • Alphanus was one of the earliest great doctors of the Schola Medica Salernitana.
  • He practiced as a physician before he became archbishop of Salerno.
  • Two medical texts are attributed to Alphanus:
    • De quattuor humoribus ("On The Four Humours")
    • De Pulsibus ("On The Pulse")
  • Under the support of Alphanus I, Salerno won the title of "Town of Hippocrates" (Hippocratica Civitas or Hippocratica Urbs).
  • People, both students & the sick, would visit from all over the world to the "Schola Salerni", in the hope of cures, or to learn the art of medicine.
Alphanus' & Medical Translations:
  • He travelled to Constantinople on an embassy visit in 1063.
  • Whilst in Constantinople he became acquainted with Greek medical texts.
  • He went on to translate 'On the Nature of Man' by Bishop Nemesius of Emesa (fl. 390).
  • His Premnon Physicon introduced into the Latin-speaking world a christian form of Galenism.
  • Alphanus invited Constantine the African from Carthage (now Tunisia) to Salerno to assist in the translation of Arabic medical texts.
  • Constantine the African brought a library of Arabic medical texts with him to Salerno which he commenced to translate into Latin.
Alphanus Quotes:
ad doctrinam huiusmodi copiosius a perpluribus dicta auctoribus, et praecipue ab his quos mater educavit Graecia, Latinorum cogente penuria, . . . transferenda conferam’ (Translation: ‘for the teaching of this kind I will devote myself to translating what is said more fully by many authors, and especially those whom mother Greece educated, whilst the Latins were oppressed by lack, ... of knowledge’). [preface to his translation of Nemesius’s Premnon phisicon]
'Tum medicinali tantum florebat in arte, posset ut hic nullus languor hobere locum.' (Translation: Medicine was so advanced in Salerno that there was no place for illness.)

Posted by ALCHEssMIST.
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