Two enslaved die

Surgeon’s journal

Nr. 25

Five weeks before she would pass away, a girl slave started suffering from lethargus, a sleeping disease. I tried my hardest to keep her conscious. I purged her often and made her vomit as well. I put a blistering plaster in her neck as well as on both her legs and I gave her life balm (prescription 12) to add lines to it. I smeared the balm on her twice, but it was in vain as she died on the 1st of this month.

Nr. 26

For over two months a male slave had been complaining to me. I often purged him, after which he was completely recovered. But a couple of days ago I was told that he had wanted to jump over board, after which he was chained up. Two days after that he complained of pain in his chest and I could not make him eat. I laid a geroon of the resin plaster and gave him the eclegma (prescription 11). But he refused to take anything unless I forced him with great effort, so he passed away on the 1st of this month.


Prescription 12: against apoplexia, use 12 to 20 drops

R/ Misce fac litus vel balzamum vita [mix and make a life balsam]

  • Oleum therebinthi [oil from the turpentine tree]: ℥ II
  • Sapo Hispanica [Spanish soap, with olive oil as a base]
  • Gummi camphora [camphor gum]: ʒ I ß
  • Spiritus salis armoneaci [salty liquorice]: ß I


  • ʒ drachma = 3 scruple, so approximately 4 g
  • ℥ uncia = ounce = 8 drachmae, so approximately 31 g
  • ß = ½ of the given amount


Prescription 11: To suck from in cases of cough, pleurisy, shortness of breath

R/ Fac eclegma [make an eglegma: a syrup on licorice root sucked for the relief of cough]

  • Balzamum peruvianum [balsam from Peru; weak antiseptic]: ʒ I
  • Oleum anisi [anise oil]: gt. = gutta, plural:. guttaedropguttae XX
  • Mel guinee [honey from Guinea]
  • Sijrupus altheae [common marshmellow syrup]: ℥ II


  • ʒ drachma = 3 scruple, so approximately 4 g
  • ℥ uncia = ounce = 8 drachmae, so approximately 31 g