Hildegard Von Bingen (1098-1179)
    By Camillo Di Cicco | February 19th 2009 05:34 AM | 5 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Camillo

    Prof. Camillo Di Cicco - University of Rome/Medicine - Dermatology

    M.D., University of Rome 'La Sapienza', Dermatologist, 1978


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    Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) was a remarkable woman. At a time when few women wrote, Hildegard, known as "Sybil of the Rhine", produced major works of theology, medicine and visionary writings. Hildegard composed music and spoke of Christ as God's song.  

    When few women were accorded respect, she was consulted by and advised bishops, popes, and kings. In medicine she used the curative powers of natural objects for healing and wrote treatises about natural history and medicinal uses of plants, animals, trees and stones. Her scientific books contain more than 2,000 remedies and health suggestions. In the work " Liber simplicis medicinae" printed in 1533 and called Physica, she tells of the basic qualities, the medicinal value and the proper application of 230 plants, 63 trees, 45 animals.

    In "Liber compositae medicinae", called Causae et curae, Hildegard speaks of the external world, but always with reference to human health (the kinds of water that are safe to drink); on illnesses and their causes, on cures, and finally on symptoms to be looked for. She is the first composer whose biography is known, founded a vibrant convent, where her musical plays were performed.  

    Hildegard has been beatified and is frequently referred to as St. Hildegard. Revival of interest in this extraordinary woman of the middle ages was initiated by musicologists and historians of science and religion. (Abstract)
    Prof. Camillo O. Di Cicco MD, American Association for the History of Medicine.
    18th Congress of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, Berlin 2009.

    Hildegard von Bingen

    Miniatur aus dem so genannten Lucca-Codex des „Liber divinorum operum”: Hildegard am Schreibpult, um 1220/1230, Biblioteca Statale in Lucca


    Hildegard's music that is heard in the video is an antiphon: An antiphon (Greek ἀντίφωνον, ἀντί "opposite" + φωνή "voice") is a response, usually sung in Gregorian chant, to a psalm or some other part of a religious service, such as at Vespers or at a Mass.
    wow thats amazing
    i love history and knowing all about it
    she is one of the most remarkable women i have heard of
    i wish i could be her
    and know all she does
    xoxoxox i love you baby

    Hildegard's mystical experience which most likely arose from her experience of "disorders" of her brain (not her "mind" or her "spirit") and her ability to create awe-inspiring art and thought from her experience inspire those of us today who have similar "disorders" not only to "make the best" of our situations, but to fashion positive and joyful responses to our own difficulties.

    Fred Phillips
    Your posting prompted me to go back to my own blog of February, 2006, to which I refer you for the photos. I noted my appreciation of the theological openness evident at St. Hildegard’s abbey on the Rhine, compared to that of St. Stephan’s in Mainz:
    Last weekend was a long one due to Carnaval, so Hyon and I followed the
    Rhine southward from Cologne to
    its gorge, which stretches from Koblenz to Mainz. Koblenz seems unremarkable
    except for the Deutchen Eck, a huge monument at the confluence of the
    Rhine and Moselle rivers.  It commemorates successive waves of
    German unification. (There’s a good restaurant in Chicago called Zum
    Deutschen Eck. I didn’t understand the reference until this week.)
    Koblenz is an embarkation point for cruises on the two rivers.

    The gorge features castle after castle, storybook villages, and
    immense, steep vineyards.  Why would medieval warlords build their
    castles so close together?  My guess is, they didn’t originally,
    but then one warlord built another castle nearby for a son-in-law, and
    so on, until the valley ultimately looked like a Castle Heights tract

    There are also some freestanding stone towers, which reminded Hyon of
    the Rapunzel story.  As we pulled into Bacharach, we saw posters for a
    weekend performance of… Rapunzel!  (I’ve heard it said that
    psychic powers can be a curse. I imagine that’s especially true when
    it’s one’s wife who has them.) The castle high above the romantic
    700-year-old town of Bacharach is now a youth hostel.  We climbed
    up to it, getting our exercise for the month. 

    Bingen, though older, has no
    charm at all, so we ferried across the Rhine to Rudescheim and stayed the night in a
    hotel that
    offered authentic atmosphere and a dynamite free breakfast.  The
    small ferries, incidentally, are identical to the ones on the Aransas
    Pass - Port Aransas run in Texas.

    St. Hildegard’s abbey is not in Bingen, but in the hills above
    Rudescheim.  Her life (she was born almost an even thousand years
    ago) illustrates how to be an agent of radical change in an
    organization.  Interesting to a management professor, so I bought
    the book about her from the abbey’s self-service, honor-system gift

    Mainz is supposed to be 2nd
    only to Cologne for carnaval craziness.  We found the costumes in
    the Mainz parade to be straightforward marching-band gear; the Mainzers
    reserve their creativity, political wit, and expenditures for fancy
    floats. Notable was the one depicting Uncle Sam wiping his tuchas with
    the Kyoto Protocols.

    Gutenberg invented his press in Mainz.  I was disappointed that
    the Gutenberg Musuem was closed for Carnaval.

    Marc Chagall died shortly after completing the stained glass windows of
    St. Stephan’s church in Mainz, symbols of international and interfaith
    reconciliation.  He did not live to see what he was probably
    afraid of, hack religious writers gushing about the windows’
    implications for the theological unity of the old and new testaments.
    The silly St. Stephan’s guidebooks stand in contrast to the
    non-doctrinaire books at the Benedictine abbey of St. Hildegard. 
    Pretty windows, though.

    Hyon found a post card with the Heinrich Heine poem
    about the Lorelei.  Thus
    inspired, and gluttons for punishment anyway, we climbed the Lorelei
    rock.  Unbelievable views. And it made us good, cardiovascularly
    speaking, for another coupla months.
    For those who are in Chicago, there is a Hildegard von Bingen Festival this coming weekend (October 15-16) at Life Force Arts Center:

    This will be an amazing weekend of music, dance, and poetry, including an advance screening of the new movie Vision: From The Life Of Hildegard Von Bingen (opening November 5 at the Music Box Theatre).