In the decades around 1600, the astrologers Simon Forman and Richard Napier produced one of the largest surviving sets of medical records in history. The Casebooks Project, a team of scholars at the University of Cambridge, has transformed this paper archive into a digital archive. This site is a supplement to the main Casebooks website.
The edition of Forman’s and Napier’s casebooks transcribes the formulaic preamble—patient’s name, age, the date, the question asked, and more—at the top of each of the 80,000 entries. We call this the ‘question’. This site showcases a sample of only several hundred cases, carefully selected by subject specialists and members of the Casebooks team.
Our selection of fully-transcribed cases demonstrates the kind of material that the astrologers recorded in the ‘judgment’, the text they wrote after they drew and interpreted an astrological chart. We present these in modern English for ease of reading and searching. Note that some of these transcriptions have been checked by the Casebooks editors, but the cases are not transcribed or tagged with the editorial rigour of the material on the main site.
Our selective index identifies clusters of things we have come across in the casebooks. Many of these cannot be found through our keyword search because they appear in the untranscribed judgments and treatments rather than the transcribed questions.
The material on this site should be used in conjunction with the edition, manuscript images, and supplementary information—including information about the astrologers and astrological medicine, the patients and the questions they asked, and a glossary of terms and details of remedies—on the main site.