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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.