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DFG-Projekt: An XML-based Information System for Old Occitan Medical Terminology



The linguistic and cultural area of Southern France occupies an outstanding role within the medieval history of medicine. This is due, on the one hand, to the medical schools of Toulouse and Montpellier, and, on the other hand, to the strong presence of Jewish physicians and scholars in Southern France. Besides Latin and Hebrew, the autochthonous Romance language of Southern France, Old Occitan, was also widely used in medical writing. In the past fifteen years, the applicants, as well as our Italian project partner Maria Sofia Corradini (Pisa) have edited a great number of Old Occitan medical texts, which allow, for the first time, to catalogue the Old Occitan medical terminology and to make it accessible to research. Whereas the sources edited in Pisa are actually written in Old Occitan, the texts edited in Berlin and Cologne are in Hebrew, but they also contain a great amount of Old Occitan medical terms, written down by using the Hebrew alphabet, and often including explanations for the meaning of the Old Occitan medical terms in Hebrew, Arabic and Latin.

Instead of a dictionary of Old Occitan Medical terminology, which is long overdue, the project aims at constructing a flexible information system in the sense of modern information management. For the implementation, we will use the system Pinakes that has been developed at the CNR in Pisa in co-operation with the Florence based Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale. The system Pinakes Text has been adapted to our project specific data through joint previous work, which has yielded the sketch of a first prototype version. Besides its purpose of cataloguing and making accessible the data concerning the Old Occitan medical terminology, the ontological component of Pinakes Text will be adapted for representing parallel ontologies (e.g. the modern scientific or onomasiological classification of knowledge and the medieval classification system).