I spent the better part of one year down in Oxford’s Special Collections room reading medieval medical manuscripts. Most of the herbals, lapidaries and bestiaries were simple household guides, dashed off with ongoing notes, marginalia and things crossed out. But every once in a while I came upon something truly spectacular—rare and richly illustrated manuscripts, carefully crafted and copied, and far from practical. All manner of fantastic flora and fauna brightly graced the velum pages. Amidst the poppies and yarrow were mandrakes and monsters, prowling beasts and imaginatively rendered plants. Nary a leech was seen.