Anecdotes and Antidotes: A Medieval Arabic History of Physicians

ISBN : 9780198827924

Ibn Abi Usaybi'ah; Henrietta Sharp Cockrell; Geert Jan van Gelder
432 ページ
129 x 196 mm
Oxford World's Classics
  • A critical and annotated edition translated by a team of scholars from the universities of Oxford and Warwick.
  • Covers notable physicians and scholars from the Greeks, Romans, Syriacs, and Indians up to the year 1270 CE.
  • Contains biographies of lesser known physicians of the period as well as those well-known to Europeans audiences such as Galen, Avicenna, Maimonides, Rhazes and Alhazen.

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, circa 1243, 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 work Ibn Abi Usaybi'ah created contains over 432 biographical accounts of physicians from those of ancient Greece, such as Galen, through Avicenna and Maimonides, to the author's own colleagues of the 13th century. As such, his work includes 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.


Note on Transliteration and Pronunciation
Editorial Note
Select Bibliography
Anecdotes and Antidotes. A Medieval Arabic History of Physicians. A New Translation.
Explanatory Notes
Appendix 1: Weights & Measures
Appendix 2: Gazetteer of Place-Names
Appendix 3: Concordance of biographies with those in the full text
Appendix 4: List of Sources used by Ibn Abi Usaybi'ah
List of Illustrations and Diagrams


Ibn Abi Usaybi'ah
Edited by Henrietta Sharp Cockrell, Islamic Art and Culture, and with introduction by 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 first volume of 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 is an occasional writer for The Art Newspaper.

Selected and edited by Henrietta Sharp Cockrell
Translated by Emilie Savage-Smith, Simon Swain and Geert Jan van Gelder, with Ignacio Sánchez, N. Peter Joosse, Alasdair Watson, Bruce Inksetter, and Franak Hilloowala
With Introduction by Geert Jan van Gelder, Laudian Professor of Arabic emeritus, University of Oxford