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A Literary History of Medicine - The ʿUyūn al-anbāʾ fī ṭabaqāt al-aṭibbāʾ of Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿah Online offers a complete, annotated translation along with a new edition of the celebrated, informative and entertaining history of medicine – the first of its kind – by the Syrian physician Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿah (d. 1270), together with several introductory essays. A Literary History of Medicine is the earliest comprehensive history of medicine. It contains biographies of over 432 physicians, ranging from the ancient Greeks to the author’s contemporaries, describing their training and practice, often as court physicians, and listing their medical works; all this interlaced with poems and anecdotes. The reader will find in this work an Islamic society that worked closely with Christians and Jews, deeply committed to advancing knowledge and applying it to health and wellbeing.

Generously funded by the Wellcome Trust, this is an open access title distributed under the terms of the CC-BY-NC 4.0 License, which permits any non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

This work is also available as a print set (hardback, 5 volumes).
Editor: Kenneth G. Zysk
In The Indian System of Human Marks, Zysk offers a literary history of the Indian system of knowledge, which details divination by means of the marks on the bodies of both men and women. In addition to a historical analysis, the work includes texts and translations of the earliest treatises in Sanskrit. This is followed by a detailed philological analysis of the texts and annotations to the translations.
The history follows the Indian system’s evolution from its roots in ancient Mesopotamian collections of omen on the human body to modern-day practice in Rajasthan in the north and Tamilnadu in the south. A special feature of the book is Zysk’s edition and translation of the earliest textual collection of the system in the Gargīyajyotiṣa from the 1st century CE. The system of human marks is one of the few Indian textual sources that links ancient India with the antique cultures of Mesopotamia and Greece.
A Critical Edition of a Seventeenth-Century Chagatay Work by Subḥān Qulï Khan
Author: László Karoly
This is the first serious study on seventeenth-century Central Asian medicine that provides a major resource for the linguistic and cultural history of Central Asia. The richly annotated English translation makes the edition useful for readers without special knowledge on medical history and Turkic studies.
The author offers a critical edition of a seventeenth-century Central Asian medical treatise written by Sayyid Subḥān Qulï Muḥammad Bahādur khan in the Chagatay language.The edition includes a detailed introduction, a transcription of the original text for philological purposes, an annotated English translation, complete lexica of vocabulary, herbs and plants, minerals and chemicals, diseases and related terms, measures and units, personal names and Qur’ānic verses, and finally two manuscripts in facsimile.


In Crocologia – A Detailed Study of Saffron, the King of Plants, Sally Francis and Maria Teresa Ramandi present the first translation into English of Johann Ferdinand Hertodt’s seminal 1671 work Crocologia, a book uniquely devoted to the medical uses of saffron. Hertodt discusses saffron’s origin, related species, cultivation, selection, properties and lists all its pharmaceutical preparations. Hertodt then journeys through diseases of the human body, presenting saffron-containing formulae for their treatment.

The two authors complement the translation with a biography of Hertodt, and detail saffron’s botany, current production, uses, its changing reputation as a drug, and review findings from new medical research. There is a full Glossary, and translation of a contemporary approbation of Crocologia by Hertodt’s rival, Wenzel Maximilian Ardensbach.
Volume I: Essays / Volume 2-1: Arabic Edition / Volume 2-2: Arabic Edition / Volume 3-1: Annotated English Translation / Volume 3-2: Annotated English Translation, Appendices and Indices
An online, Open Access version of this work is also available from Brill.

A Literary History of Medicine by the Syrian physician Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿah (d. 1270) is the earliest comprehensive history of medicine. It contains biographies of over 432 physicians, ranging from the ancient Greeks to the author’s contemporaries, describing their training and practice, often as court physicians, and listing their medical works; all this interlaced with poems and anecdotes. These volumes present the first complete and annotated translation along with a new edition of the Arabic text showing the stages in which the author composed the work. Introductory essays provide important background. The reader will find on these pages an Islamic society that worked closely with Christians and Jews, deeply committed to advancing knowledge and applying it to health and wellbeing.
The Kitāb Taḥrīm dafn al-aḥyāʾ, Arabic Edition and English Translation with a Hebrew Supplement by Gerrit Bos
Authors: Oliver Kahl and Gerrit Bos
The Kitāb Taḥrīm dafn al-aḥyāʾ, the Book on the Prohibition to Bury the Living, written by the Nestorian physician ʿUbaidallāh Ibn Buḫtīšūʿ (d. c. 1060 CE), deals with the causes, signs and treatments of apparent death. Based on a short pseudo-Galenic treatise, whose Greek original is lost, ʿUbaidallāh’s Arabic commentary is a comprehensive and in many ways unique piece of scientific writing that moreover promotes a psychological understanding of physical illness. Oliver Kahl’s present book offers a critical Arabic edition with annotated English translation of ʿUbaidallāh’s work on apparent death, framed by a detailed introductory study and extensive glossaries covering all relevant terms; for comparative purposes, the Arabic and Hebrew recensions of the lost Greek prototype are presented in an appendix.
A Medieval Arabic Study Manual by ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz al-Sulamī
This is a translation and edition of the medieval Arabic medical work entitled Imtiḥān al-alibbā' li-kāffat al-aṭibbā' ("The Experts' Examination for All Physicians"). It is a study guide for students of medicine prepared by Abd al-Azīz al-Sulami who was chief of medicine to the Ayyūbid sultan in Cairo between 596/1200 and 604/1208. It is composed of ten chapters on ten fields of medicine: the pulse, urine, fevers and crises, symptoms, drugs, treatment, ophthalmology, surgery, bonesetting, and fundamentals. Each chapter contains twenty questions on the respective subject with the answer to each question. In addition an authority is cited for each answer. This work sheds light on medical education in the medieval Middle East and is an epitome of the medical knowledge of the time.