artists Jan Santorinos and Francesco Primaticcio and these reproductions were used by Guido Guidi to illustrate his surgical collections (Paris, 1544).1 The treatise of Apollonius has since been reprinted, with the illustrations by Hermann Schone (1896).2 The 200 designs used by Guido Guidi have been produced by H. Omont.'

'The pictures are to be found in Guido Guidi's "Chiurgia e greco in latinum conversa" (Paris, 1544), in vol. iii of his "Ars Medicinalis," (Venice, 1611), in his "Opera Omnia" (Frankfort, 1668), and in Conrad Gesner's collection "De chirurgia scriptores optimi," Zurich, 1555, 321-358 (Sudhoff).

2 Apollonius von Kitium: Illustrierter Kommentar zur der Hippokratischen Schrift Ttpl apflpaw, hrsg. von H. Schone, Leipzig, 1896.

3 Bibliotheque nationale. Departement des manuscrits. Collection de chirurgiens grecs (MS. latin, 6866). Ed. H. Omont, Paris (s. d.].

(732-1096 A. D.)

By the swords of Mohammed and his emirs, the wild outlaw clans of the Asian and African deserts were converted into nations capable of acting as military and social units, but it was not until long after his death, when the mighty empire which he founded was subdivided into caliphates, that the sciences and arts were permitted to develop. During the period of conquest and conversion, the fanatical, fatalistic zeal of the Moslems tended naturally toward the destruction and persecution of the things of the mind. While the principal service of Islam to medicine was the preservation of Greek culture, yet the Saracens themselves were the originators not only of algebra, chemistry and geology, but of many of the so-called improvements or refinements of civilization, such as street-lamps, window-panes, fireworks, stringed instruments, cultivated fruits, perfumes, spices, and that "often-changed and oftenwashed undergarment of linen or cotton which still passes among ladies under its old Arabic name."1 In the intellectual sphere, the monotheism and the dialectic tendencies of Galen and Aristotle appealed strongly to the Mohammedans. Galen's polypharmacy in particular appealed to these natural chemists, and his haphazard "polypragmatism" was molded by them into iron-clad dogma. The Oriental idea that it is sinful to touch the human body with the hands did little to advance anatomy or surgery. The general trend of Oriental religious fatalism was toward contemplative brooding and resigned submission to authority and such eagerness or free-play of the mind as the Moslems possessed was expended in hair-splitting subtleties. Thus the intellectual tendencies of the Middle Ages were determined for them in advance, and, if we may trust the statements of men so different as Sir Henry Layard, Sir Henry Maine, and the ophthalmologist Hirsch- berg, the great mass of the people in the East detest all reforms and scientific inquiry to this day. We call the medical authors of the Mohammedan period "Arabic" on account of the language in which they wrote, but, in reality, most of them were Persian or Spanish-born, and many of them were Jewish.

1 Draper: "History of the Intellectual Development of Europe," New York, 1X76, ii, pp. 33, 34. The Alhambra, like the Cretan palace at Knossos, contains a specimen of the sanitary invention known in Europe as W. C.

The Mohammedan physicians themselves owed their medical knowledge, in the first instance, to a persecuted sect of Christians. Nestorius, a priest who had been made patriarch of Constantinople in 428, taught the heretical doctrine that Mary should not be styled the "Mother of God" but the "Mother of Christ." In consequence, he and his followers were driven into the desert and, like the Jews after them, took up the study of medicine because of religious and social ostracism. The Xestorian heretics gained

[ocr errors][graphic][ocr errors]

Schema of the brain, crossing of the optic nerves and cross-section of the eyes, showing lens, vitreous, retina, conjunctiva, cornea and tunics. From MS. 924 in the New Mosque at Constantinople (Pansier, Hirschberg, Sudhoff).

control of the school at Edessa in Mesopotamia, with its two large hospitals, and made it a remarkable institution for teaching medicine, but were driven out by the orthodox Bishop Cyrus in 489. Fleeing to Persia, where their theologic doctrines were welcome, they established the famous school at Gondisapor, which was the true starting-point of Mohammedan medicine.

The Eastern (or Bagdad) Caliphate (750-1258) was under the sway of the Abbasides, who were friends of learning and science and included such liberal-minded rulers as the caliphs Al-Mansur (754-775), Harun al-Rashid (786-802) and Al-Meiamun (813-833). These monarchs encouraged the collection and copying of Greek manuscripts, and the earlier centuries of the Mohammedan period were occupied in translating the works of Hippocrates, Galen, Dioscorides and other Greek classics into Arabic. The principal Arabic translators in the eighth and ninth centuries were Johannes


Arabic schema of the head, eyes, and "sight spirit," which proceeded from the brain to envelop the object of vision and carry it back to the crystalline humor. (From a Persian MS. of the Seventeenth Century.) Meyerhof and Priifer (Sudhoff's Archiv., 1912, vi, 26).

Measure the elder (777-837), called Janus Damascenus, a Christian who became director of the hospital at Bagdad, and the Nestorian teacher Honain ben Isaac (or Johannitius) (809-873), whom Withington calls "The Erasmus of the Arabic Renaissance." Johannitius had an adventurous career, translated Hippocrates, Galen, Oribasius, and Paul of JEgina, and was in his day the leading medical spirit of Bagdad. He wrote a commentary on Galen's Microtechnc (Isagoge in Arletn parvam) and the oldest treatise in Arabic on eye diseases (Hirschberg).1 The ten sections have been translated by M. Meyerhof and C. Priifer of Cairo, with an interpretation of Honain's theory of vision, and interesting plates representing the "schematic eye" (Cairene MS.) and the Galenic "sight-spirit" (Sehgeist), which was supposed to proceed from the brain via the nerves to envelop the object seen, proceeding thence to the crystalline humor to complete the act of vision.

The greatest physicians of the Eastern Caliphate were the three Persians, Rhazes, Haly Abbas, and Avicenna.

Rhazes (860-932), a great clinician, ranks with Hippocrates, Aretaeus, and Sydenham as one of the original portrayers of disease. His description of smallpox and measles is the first authentic account in literature, a classic text, preserved in the original Arabic, with parallel Latin translation, in Channing's edition (London, 1766). Although smallpox had been vaguely described as early as the sixth century by some of the church fathers and by the seventh century chronicler, Aaron (cited in the Continent of Rhazes), the account of Rhazes is so vivid and complete that it is almost modern. His great encyclopedia of medicine, the El Hawi, or "Continens," which Haller preferred to any other Arabic treatise, is preserved in the Latin translation of Feragut (Brescia, 1486). Made up of an enormous mass of extracts from many sources, together with original clinical histories and experiments in therapeutics, it reveals Rhazes as a Galcnist in theory, although he was a true follower of Hippocrates in the simplicity of his practice. The ninth book of Rhazes, which was translated by Vesalius and commentated by Gatinaria, was the source of therapeutic knowledge until long after the Renaissance.

Haly ben Abbas, a Persian mage, who died in 994, was the author of the "Almalcki" ("Liber regius" or "Royal Book"), a work which was the canonical treatise on medicine for a hundred years, when it was superseded by the "Canon" of Avicenna. It has never been printed in the original Arabic, but was translated into Latin in 1080 by Constantinus Africanus, who published it as his own work.2 This translation contains a description of small

1 Arch. f. Gesch. d. Med., Leipzig, 1910-11, iv, 163-190, 1 pl: 1912-13, vi, 21-33. This work is not to be confused with the Monilorium oculariorum of Haly ben Isa (Jesu Hali), an eleventh century writing which became the classic text-book on ophthalmology in later Islam and is still authoritative (Hirschberg). The medieval Latin translation of this work is valueless and unintelligible. The best modern translation is that of Hirschberg and Lippert (Leipzig, 1907).

! The two principal Latin editions are the Venetian of 1492 and the Lyons of 1523.

« PreviousContinue »