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Stefan's Florilegium


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Man-d-Mujeres-art - 4/19/01


Selected redactions from the "Manual de Mujeres" by Lady Serian. This is a Spanish herbal that contains recipes for such things as remedies, soap, incense, scent, and a few food recipes written anonymously around 1500 AD.


NOTE: See also the files: herb-uses-msg, herbs-msg, spices-msg, p-herbals-msg,

perfumes-msg, soap-msg, Mouthwash-art, handcream-msg, cosmetics-msg.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set

of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at:



Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be

reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first

or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


                               Thank you,

                                    Mark S. Harris

                                    AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         stefan at florilegium.org                                        



Queen's Prize 2001 Entry

by Lady Serian

Serian at qwest.net


Translation of a Spanish herbal and preparation of recipes



Manual de Mujeres en el qual se contienen muchas y diversas

recetas muy buenas

Manual of Women in Which is Contained Many and Diverse

Recipes That Are Very Good


Written anonymously around 1500 AD.



Manual de Mukeres webbed version Copyright © Universidad de

Alicante, Banco Santander Central Hispano 1999-2000

Diccionario real

Cassell's Spanish/English dictionary

Various people who have helped with botanical words and




This is a Spanish herbal that contains recipes for such

things as remedies, soap, incense, scent, and a few food

recipes.  I got interested in this because of someone on the

SCA Cooks email list.  Someone was interested in it but did

not read Spanish. My Spanish is a bit rusty, but working on

this translation has gotten me to start renewing my skill.


        This is definitely a work in progress.  I encourage anyone

who is knowledgeable in this area to provide pointers.


        The anonymous author of this work uses a number of words

that are of Arabic origin.  There are a great many botanical

words and references to specific weights and measures that

we do not use in modern times.  I have included with the

translation in progress a list of botanical words and

measures, and in the translation I have included in

parentheses equivalents for measures.  There are a couple of

words for which I do not have their meaning. "Escudillo"

means bowl, but since it is used so consistently throughout

along with other specific measures, I think it was probably

a specific measurement.  Based on the recipes and a hunch, I

imagine it was about a quart.


        Another interesting things regarding measures is that many

of the recipes have specifics mentioned, such as an ounce or

a dram (1/8 ounce), but also mention using parts, such as a

quarter or half part.  The redaction challenge is

determining in these recipes a quarter and half of how much.


        There are other interesting translation notes.  For

example, "a mano" generally means "by hand," but in a few

recipes that use a mortar, "mano" refers to the hand of the

mortar, or the pestle.


        Also, there are often several words used to describe the

same thing.  For example, "almˆciga," "almˆstica" and "mata"

all mean mastic.  "Mortero," and "ˆlmirez" mean mortar.

"Almid˜n" and "Alambique" both mean a still, as to make

plant essences.   "Escudillo" is the only word used to

describe bowl.


The Recipes I created


First I would like to mention that I have never made incense

or soap before.  This is a fun project for someone who

enjoys concocting things.  I have some knowledge of herbs

and aromatherapy, which was helpful for this project.


2.  Pebetes de olor

Tres onzas de menju’, una onza de estoraque, media onza de

‡mbar, dos onzas de carb—n de sauz muerto en agua de azahar,

una onza de gum de gante deshecha en agua almizclada, medio

cuarto de almizcle, un cuarto de algalia, otro cuarto de

lin‡loe. Todas estas cosas molidas y pasadas por cedazo.

Pastarlas con agua almizclada y poner con ellas medio cuarto

de azœcar, y hecha la masa hacer los pebetes y secarlos a la



Incense Sticks

Three ounces of benzoin, one ounce of balsam, half ounce of

amber, two ounces of willow soot killed in orange blossom

water, one ounce of gum tragacanth dissolved in musk water,

one-eighth part of musk, quarter part of civet, another

quarter part of aloe vera.  Pound all these things and pass

them through a sieve.  Make a paste with a little musk water

and put with these one-eighth part of sugar, and make the

mass into logs and dry them in the shade.


I made some substitutions here.  Instead of using musk water

I used orange blossom water this time.  Though it does not

specify, it is like other recipes that are put in a small

pot over fire with some musk water or orange blossom water

or something similar, and is burned until it uses up the

water.  I like the result.


3.  Cazoleta de olor

Una onza de menju’, y media onza de estoraque, un cuarto de

onza de ‡mbar y otro de almizcle. Molidas todas estas cosas,

y puestas al fuego en una cazuelica con medio cuarto de

agua   almizclada y otro medio de algalia. Y dejarla al

fuego hasta que sea bebida el agua.


Little Scent Pots

One ounce of benzoin, and one half ounce of balsam, a

quarter ounce of amber and another of musk.  Mash all these

things and put on the fire a little pot with one-eighth part

of musk water and another half of civet.  And leave it on

the fire until it has used up the water.


I used oils of musk and amber, and substituted frankincense

with pine essence for balsam, which I cannot find at the

moment.  This could be burned in the sort of censor that has

a candle below and a small pot above.  Floral water could

easily replace the musk and civet waters, as it will serve

the purpose and is a good deal less expensive.


4.  Jab—n para el rostro

Dos onzas de jab—n blanco escaldado en agua hirviendo dentro

de un pa–o y colado por el pa–o; y un cuarto de alm‡ciga, y

medio cuarto de encienso, y un cuarto de borras y una onza

de azœcar blanco. Molidas todas estas cosas, y pasadas por

cedazo, pastarlas con el jab—n y ponerlo en sus botecicos, y

poner en cada botecico una gota de ros de bota.


Soap for the Face

Two ounces of white soap scalded in water made in a cloth

and strained in a cloth, and a quarter of mastic, and an

eighth of frankincense, and a quarter of borax and one ounce

of white sugar.  Mash together these things and pass them

through a sieve, (make) paste with the soap and put into

your little cylindrical boxes, and put in each little box a

drop of red/rose of the wineskin. (possibly a drop of red

wine dregs?  That is what my best guess for "ros de bota.")


Here is one of the recipes that uses both ounce measures and

part measures (two ounces of soap, a quarter part of

mastic).  I used three tablespoons of white sugar, a

tablespoon as my quarter part measure and half a tablespoon

as my eighth part measure.  The result wasn't bad until the

soot went in, at which point it became something I would not

be in a hurry to wash with!  I will probably experiment with

this again sometime.


9.  Pasticas confortativas para perfumar

Anime, lin‡loe, azœcar rosado, grasa, encienso y estoraque.

Molido todo en un almirez, tanto de uno como de otro partes

iguales. Y pastado con agua almizclada hacer sus pasticas.


Comforting pastes for perfuming

Hymenaea courbaril resin, aloe vera, rose sugar (sugar

infused with rose), grease, frankincense and balsam.  Pound

all in a mortar, as much one as the other, each in equal

parts, and make a paste with musk water and make your little

pastes (or maybe pastes shaped like lozenges or something



I had to make some substitutions this time around. I have

not been able to find hymenaea courtbani resin, so I

substituted benzoin, because it is also a resin and is used

in this document.  My aloe was in gel form, so I cut the oil

by 1/2.  I could not find balsam; instead, I used myrrh and

put in pine essential oil 6 drops and 2 drops of rosewood to

approximate.  I will keep looking for the balsam for future

competitions.  After I made this I found pine resin, which I

could use in future.


31.  Lavatorio para las manos

Una naranja asada en el rescoldo y serenada en una escudilla

de vino blanco. Lavarse de noche las manos con ella, cuando

se vayan acostar, y a la ma–ana, con talvina cocida de higos

negros, y plumas de gallina negra y canina de perro blanca.


Wash for the hands

An orange roasted in embers, and let to rest in a bowl of

white wine.  Wash yourself at night the hands with it (wash

your hands with it at night), when you go to bed, and in the

morning, with porridge cooked of black figs, and feathers of

a black hen, and canine tooth of a white dog.


This did not take a high degree of creativity, but I have

never had a hand wash like it, so I made some.  I made a

fire in the fireplace to roast the orange and put it in some



Post script: The hand wash is actually a tasty beverage.  As

its intended hand wash, I thought it would leave the hands

sticky, but it doesn't.


27.  Polvos para sacar color

Los polvos para sacar color al rostro son polvos de la mar y

ll‡manse sosa.


Powders to take out color (of the face)

The powders for taking color from the face are powders of

the sea and call themselves kelp.


I had never heard of using kelp powder for anything but food

or bath salts.  I have brought some to show them. Again, it

is a matter of interest, not creativity.  I did nothing to

prepare the kelp powders except to put them into a



Post Script:  one of my evaluators wondered if perhaps the

kelp was to be cooked first as it makes a thick substance

when boiled.  This is certainly possible, and I may try it.

I do not know why the recipe would specify powders if

something more needed done, but I do not know, and am only

making conjectures myself.


90.  Ayuda muy buena

Tres onzas de olio violado, otras tres de olio de manzanilla

y otras tres de manteca de vacas. Todo junto y tibio.


Very Good Help

Three ounces of violet oil, another three of oil of

chamomile and another three of cow grease.  All together and



It does not say what this is good help for, but chamomile is

calming and violet is good for the skin.  I would not use

cow fat for safety reasons, but substituted sweet almond oil

this time.  A different carrier oil could make thicker

result, or one could melt some beeswax with it and make an

ointment.  Note that the proportion of essences to carrier

is quite high in this recipe.


Post Script:  this makes a wonderful, if expensive, massage

oil.  I will add more of a carrier oil to it and use it

mundanely once I am finished competing with it.  (I am

mundanely a massage therapist.)



Copyright 2001 by Ronda J. Del Boccio. <serian at qwest.net>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited and receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in

the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also

appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being

reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org