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Abella, sometimes known as Abella of Salerno, was a mid-14th century physician who studied at and taught general medicine at the Salerno school of medicine.[1] Living 1380-?,[2] she is believed to have lectured on standard medical practice, bile, and women's health and nature at the medical school in Salerno.[1] She published two treatises: De atrabile and De natura seminis humani ("On Black Bile" and "On the Nature of the Seed"), which do not survive.[3] In Salvatore De Renzi's nineteenth-century study of the Salerno School of Medicine Abella is one of four women (along with Rebecca de Guarna, Mercuriade and Constanza Calenda) mentioned who both practiced medicine and wrote treatises.[3]


Abella is a featured figure on Judy Chicago's installation piece The Dinner Party, being represented as one of the 999 names on the Heritage Floor.[4] She is one of the "Ladies of Salerno" along with Rebecca Guarna, Francesca de Romana and Mercuriade who attended the medical school in Salerno from its inception.[5]


  1. ^ a b Marilyn Bailey Ogilvie. "The" biographical dictionary of women in science: pioneering lives from ancient times to the mid-20th century. Taylor & Francis US. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-415-92038-4. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  2. ^ Proffitt, Paula (1999). Notable Women Scientists. Detroit: Gale Group. p. 1. ISBN 0-7876-3900-1. 
  3. ^ a b Monica Green, Women's Medical Practice and Health Care in Medieval Europe, Signs, Vol. 14, No. 2, Working Together in the Middle Ages: Perspectives on Women's Communities (Winter, 1989), p. 453
  4. ^ "Abella of Salerno". Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Abella of Salerno. Brooklyn Museum. 2007. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  5. ^ Proffitt, Pamela (1999). Notable Women Scientists. Detroit: Gale Group. p. 1. ISBN 0787639001. 
  • Chicago, Judy. The Dinner Party: From Creation to Preservation. London: Merrell (2007). ISBN 1-85894-370-1
  • Rosser, Sue V. Women, Science, and Myth: Gender Beliefs from Antiquity to the Present. N.p.: ABC CLIO, n.d.
  • Banerjee, D.D. History of Medicine. N.p.: B. Jain, n.d. Print.