Anecdotes and Antidotes A Medieval Arabic History of Physicians

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2020-08-29
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


To my knowledge...no one...has ever written a comprehensive book dealing with physicians through the ages and recounting their history in a coherent fashion.

So wrote Syrian physician Ibn Abi Usaybi'ah, in 1297, as he embarked on the first world history of medicine ever attempted. Many physicians served at the royal courts of their time and were firmly part of the intellectual and cultural scene, where the ability to write stylishly and entertain one's peers in both prose and verse was the basis of social credibility. The Usaybi'ah created contains biographical accounts of physicians from ancient Greece such as Galen, Avicenna, and Maimonides, through to the author's own colleagues of the 13th century. As such, his work forms most important accounts of medical activity in medieval hospitals. Through this book, a window opens not only on to the origins of the medical profession, but also into the truly multi-cultural, multi-religious world of the medieval Middle East.

Anecdotes and Antidotes is an abridged version of this world history of medicine. It comprises 103 biographies of physicians and philosophers, organized geographically and chronologically, from the 4th century BC to the 13th century, and includes seminal Muslim, Christian and Jewish figures. It contains vital medical and historical information, as well as revealing the cultural values, interests and concerns of the literary and intellectual elite of the time.

Author Biography

Ibn Abi Usaybi'ah

Edited by Henrietta Sharp Cockrell, Islamic Art and Culture, and Geert Jan van Gelder, Oriental studies professor, University of Oxford.

After graduating from Durham University with a degree in Modern Arabic Studies, Henrietta Sharp Cockrell worked as a specialist for Christie's Islamic Dept in London for several years. Now freelance, her consultancy work has included contributing to the Nasser D Khalili catalogue, Gems and Jewels of Mughal India, and assisting on the New Catalogue of Arabic Manuscripts at the Bodleian Library where she devised the Sharp Scale for quantifying paper translucency. She also worked in Kuwait for UNESCO after the Iraqi invasion and has been an occasional writer for The Art Newspaper.

Table of Contents

Note on Transliteration and Pronunciation
Select Bibliography
The Best Accounts of the Classes of Physicians
Explanatory notes
Appendix: Weights & Measures
Appendix: Gazetteer of Place-Names
Appendix: Concordance of biographies with those in the full text

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