A Literary History of Medicine - The ʿUyūn al-anbāʾ fī ṭabaqāt al-aṭibbāʾ of Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿah Online

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).
Open Access

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Anyone interested in the Greco-Roman legacy in Islam; in ancient and medieval healthcare; in Arabic literature and poetry; in Christians and Jews in Islamic culture; in medieval history and society.
Emilie Savage-Smith, FBA, was Professor of the History of Islamic Science, University of Oxford. Publications include A New Catalogue of Arabic Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, I: Medicine (2012) and, with Y. Rapoport, Lost Maps of the Caliphs(2019)
Simon Swain, FBA, is Professor of Classics, University of Warwick. Publications include Hellenism & Empire (1996), Seeing the Face, Seeing the Soul: Polemon’s Physiognomy from Classical Antiquity to Medieval Islam (2007), Economy, Family and Society from Rome to Islam (2013).
Geert Jan van Gelder, PhD Leiden 1982; Lecturer in Arabic, University of Groningen, 1975–1998; Laudian Professor of Arabic, University of Oxford, 1998–2012. Fellow of the KNAW and the British Academy; author of many publications on Classical Arabic literature.

Contributors: Ignacio Sánchez, N. Peter Joosse, Alasdair Watson, Bruce Inksetter, Franak Hilloowala
"This edition will hopefully become the standard basis for research on the ʿUyūn, especially in the Arab world. The fact that it is published open access may assist in this. The same can be said for the translation, which finally makes Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿah’s text available in full to historians of medicine as well as other scholars who do not have access to the Arabic text. [...] All in all, the edition is a great contribution to scholarship, to be received with gratitude by a wide range of scholars." - Remke Kruk, in: Bulletin of the School and Oriental and African Studies, 84:1 (2021)
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