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Account of the Composition of the Human Body
Juan Valverde was a Spanish medical anatomist who was born in Amusco, in the present-day province of Palencia, around 1525. He left for Italy around 1542, and later practiced medicine and taught in Rome. He was the great Spanish follower of the new anatomy established by Andreas Vesalius in 1543 with his work De humani corporis fabrica (On the fabric of the human body). Vesalius was responsible for a new vision of the human body in the modern world. Valverde helped to spread this vision through the 16 editions in ...
The Encyclopedia of Medicaments
This book is a printed edition of the Pandectarum Medicinae (Encyclopedia of medicaments) by Matthaeus Sylvaticus (died circa 1342), consisting of an alphabetized list of medications (primarily of herbal origin). Sylvaticus relies on the work of Simon of Genoa (flourished end of 13th century), who provided a lexicon of Latin, Greek, and Arabic medical terms in his dictionary, Clavis Sanationis. Sylvaticus also draws upon works by Greco-Roman authorities such as Galen, Dioscorides, and Paulus Aegineta (seventh century). Among his other sources were the writings of important scientists from the Islamic ...
Of Medical Substances
The precious codex known as the Dioscurides Neapolitanus contains the work of Pedanius Dioscorides, the Greek physician who was born at Anazarbus near Tarsus in Cilicia (present-day Turkey) and lived in the first century AD during the reign of the Emperor Nero. Dioscorides wrote the treatise Perì üles iatrichès, commonly known in Latin as De materia medica (Of medical substances), in five books. It is considered the most important medical manual and pharmacopeia of ancient Greece and Rome and was highly regarded in the Middle Ages in both the Western ...
On Keeping Shop: A Guidebook for Preparing Orders
This highly informative work, compiled by a Jewish apothecary in 13th century Cairo, provides a wealth of information on his craft as practiced at the time. The author, Abu al-Munā Ibn Abī Nasr Ibn Hafāż, known as Cohen al-Isra’ī'lī al-Hārūnī, completed the work in 1260 (AH 658), shortly after the Mongol sacking of Baghdad in 1258, an event that reverberated throughout the Arab world. The manuscript contains notes by the author, to be passed to his son and descendents, who would be taking over the apothecary shop after ...
The Light of the Eyes and the Enlightened Landscape of Vision
This work is a noteworthy treatise on optics that covers such basic topics as direct vision, reflection and refraction, and the length of shadows. It discusses convex and concave mirrors and the physiology of vision, and has a section on optical illusions. It is a cogent work on geometrical optics. It is particularly significant because it was written under the Ottoman sulṭān, Murāt ibn Selīm (reigned 1574-95 [982-1003 A.H.]). The name of the author is illegible on the front page, and seems to have been deliberately wiped off for ...
Chart of the Organs Revealed by Inward Illumination
This medical text shows the five major organs (heart, liver, spleen, lungs, and kidneys) and six minor organs (gall bladder, stomach, small intestines, large intestine, bladder, and triple heater meridian) of the human body, as defined in Chinese traditional medicine. The triple heater meridian is one of 12 basic meridians used in Chinese medicine to understand the functioning of the body. Also shown are other concepts from Chinese medicine, for example, the cinnabar field. In Taoist thought, the cinnabar field is the root of the human being, the place in ...
Bathing Room in the Women's Quarter of the Makassarese Village Near Master Cornelis in Batavia
This 1945 photograph shows women and children bathing at the Kampong Makassar internment camp near Batavia (present-day Jakarta) during World War II. After the Dutch East Indies fell to Japanese forces in 1942, many Dutch residents were forced into internment camps, where they stayed until the end of the war. At Kampong Makassar, which operated from January to August 1945, more than 3,600 women and children were held in a space measuring less than one square kilometer. The photograph is from the collections of the KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute ...
The Book of the New Chemical Medicine
This important text presents a detailed exposition of the harmony-based non-Galenic medicinal system of Paracelsus, i.e., Phillip von Hohenheim (1493-1541), the famous Renaissance author who advocated a new approach to the use of chemicals and minerals in medicine. The treatise, comprising more than 100 folio sheets, is divided into an introduction and several chapters. In the introduction, the author derives the word kīmīyā from the Greek χημεία. He attributes the foundation of the discipline to Hermes, but credits Paracelsus with shifting the discipline toward the art of medicine and ...
The Breakthrough in Remedying all Ailments and Complaints
This important work is a long but well-organized and clearly-written treatise on medicine, hygiene, diet, and the art of preserving good health. It focuses on simple and composite medicinal remedies. With the aid of tables, diagrams, and numerous examples, it presents a comprehensive, but accessible, synopsis of medical knowledge and medicinal treatments known at the time of its composition. The work is by the son of the well-known man of letters Nūr al-Dīn Ibrāhīm Ibn Sa‘īd al-Maghribī al-Gharnātī (1214-86 [610-85 AH]), and is dedicated to Shams al-Dīn Abū ‘Abd-Allāh ...
The muscles of the left leg, seen from the front, and the bones and muscles of the right leg seen in right profile, and between them, a patella. Drawing by Michelangelo Buonarroti, ca. 1515-1520.
These drawings of the human leg are by the artist Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), whose studies of anatomy are recorded by his earliest biographers, Vasari (1550) and Condivi (1553). Michelangelo reportedly first dissected a cadaver in Florence around 1495, after he had been commissioned to sculpt a crucifix of wood for the church of Santo Spirito. The prior of the church gave him rooms in which he could, by dissection, learn how to render convincingly the muscles of the dying Christ. His last witnessed dissection occurred in Rome in 1548. Such ...
A verger's dream: Saints Cosmas and Damian performing a miraculous cure by transplantation of a leg. Oil painting attributed to the Master of Los Balbases, ca. 1495.
Saints Cosmas and Damian were early Christian martyrs who, according to legend, practiced medicine without payment and therefore were represented to the public as medical ideals. In this Spanish altarpiece, the saints appear in a vision, dressed in the full finery of academic doctors as they perform the miracle of transplanting a leg. The vision is described in a book of 1275 by Jacobus de Voragine, Legenda aurea (The golden legend). The vision was received in the Church of Saints Cosmas and Damian, in Rome, by a verger who had ...
From Flies and Filth to Food and Fever
The Florida Bureau of Health issued this broadside in 1916. It reflects the increasing awareness on the part of health institutions in the early 20th century of the microbial sources of disease, and it illustrates the efforts of state and local health agencies to combat what was seen as a primary cause of disease: unsanitary living conditions. Rendered in a style similar to the wall hangings and kitchen calendars produced for homes by advertisers, the illustrations depict the interaction between pests and food. The broadside reflects the early efforts of ...
Crowning Arts for the Treatment of the Eyes
This manuscript, containing more than 350 folios, dates from the 19th or possibly even the early 20th century. The main body of the work deals with a range of treatments for medical conditions, especially and most extensively ophthalmological treatments and procedures. Miscellaneous notes appear on some folios. One page, for example, lists inauspicious days. Also included are several pages of information about spices and an explanation of abbreviations and units of measurement. Additional information about laxatives and infusions as well as treatments for foot ailments, skin disease, and epilepsy also ...
The Exquisite Book on Effective Spices
This 17th-century manuscript by Zawraq al-Maghribī is a treatise on the uses of herbs and animal body parts. Based on the teaching legacy of his father, Ḥafṣ Īsā ibn Husayn, the author states that he personally has tested all the information contained in the book. The work is divided into 12 sections, methodically arranged with reference to the human body, literally from head to toe. Chapter 1 covers headaches; Chapter 2, the digestive tract and the chest; Chapter 3, the stomach, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and bladder; Chapter 4, the stomach ...
Tables of the Body for Treatment
The well-known author of this manuscript, Abū Alī Yahyā ibn Īsā ibn Jazla (died, Sha’bān AH 493 [May–June 1100]), also wrote several other books, such as Al-minhāj fi al-tibb (The guide in medicine), and Taqwīm al-abdān (Curing the bodies). He was born to Christian parents but converted to Islam around 1074 (AH 466) and later wrote a rebuttal of Christianity. He had studied medicine with Saīd ibn Hibat-Allāh. In Taqwīm al-abdān fī tadbīr al-insān (Tables of the body for treatment), Abū Alī Yahyā provides information in tabular form ...
The Book of Medicinal and Nutritional Terms
This manuscript is a copy of Kitab Al-jami li-mufradat al-adwiya wa al-aghdhiya (The book of medicinal and nutritional terms), an alphabetical encyclopedia by the Andalusian author, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Aḥmad ibn al-Bayṭār al-Mālaqī (circa 1197–1248), containing the names and properties of more than 1,000 plants and substances of medicinal value. The author quotes many earlier scientists, including Dioscorides, Galen, and Avicenna. Ibn al-Bayṭār was born in Malaga, hence the reference al-Mālaqī in his name, and the text contains numerous references to Andalusia and to Andalusian place-names such as ...
A Physician Wearing a Seventeenth Century Plague Preventive Costume
This watercolor painting depicts the costume worn by physicians attending plague patients in the 17th century. The costume was described by Jean Jacques Manget (1652-1742) in his Traité de la peste (Treatise on the plague), published in Geneva in 1721. The costume’s gown was made of morocco leather, underneath which was worn a skirt, breeches, and boots, all of leather and fitting into one another. The long beak-like nose piece was fitted with aromatic substances and the eyeholes were covered with glass. The plague is an infectious disease, caused ...
Anatomical Fugitive Sheets of a Skeleton, Male Figure and a Female Figure
These woodcut anatomical sheets of male and female figures, published in Germany in 1573, reflect the state of anatomical knowledge at that time. The explanatory texts on each sheet are in Latin, with some names of anatomical parts also given in Greek. The sheets use movable flaps that can be raised to show cut-aways of the viscera attached beneath. The sheets have accessory figures that depict various parts of the body, with corresponding explanatory texts.
The Medical Formulary of Al-Samarqandī
Little is known about the author of this treatise on medical remedies, Nağīb al-Dīn Al-Samarqandī, apart from the fact that he was killed during the pillage of Herat (present-day Afghanistan) by the Mongols in 1222. His premature death notwithstanding, al-Samarqandī composed an impressive number of medical treatises dealing with pharmacology, dietetics, toxicology, and ophthalmology, and books on medicine in general. Al-Samarqandī showed a degree of modernity and independent thinking in his treatment of pathology. He appeared to set aside the theory of the four humors of the body dating back ...
The Quintessence of Medicine
The author of this treatise, Isma‘īl ibn Muhammad al-Husayn al-Jurjānī (circa 1042–1136), also known as al-Sayyid Isma‘īl, was one of the most-famous physicians and prolific writers on medicine of his time. He was a student of the noted Persian physician Ibn Abī Sādiq Al-Nīšapūrī, who followed the teachings of Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna) and was nicknamed Buqrāt al-tāni (The second Hippocrates). Thanks to his proficiency in medicine, al-Jurjānī was employed by the shahs of Khvarazm, Qutb al-Dīn Muhammad (1097–1127) and ‘Azīz b. Muhammad (1127–56). The former ...
The Savior from Demise: A Book on Withstanding the Harms of Deadly Poisons
The study of poisons and their remedies has played an important role in the Islamic medical tradition since the first century of the Hijra, and mention of the treatment of poisoning is already found in the hadith. The major Arabic medical encyclopedias—al-Rāzī's Kitāb Al-Manṣūrī and Al-Ḥāwī fī al-Ṭibb and Avicenna's Canon—included chapters on poisons in the early tenth and early 11th centuries. Famous authors such as Jābir ibn Ḥayyān (circa 721–815) and Moses Maimonides (the Jewish philosopher, theologian, and physician whose medical ...