24 results in English
The New Chemical Medicine Invented by Paracelsus
Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, known as Paracelsus (died September 24, 1541), was a Swiss-German Renaissance-era alchemist, physician, and medical reformer. Al-Ṭibb al-jadīd al-kīmiyāʼī alladhī ikhtaraʻahu Barākalsūs (The new chemical medicine invented by Paracelsus) is an anthology of alchemical works from Europe. The first part consists of an Arabic translation of Paracelsus including an introduction, and four chapters (each divided further into sections). The introduction is an overview by Hermes Trismegistus, called “the Egyptian,” of the invention of alchemy, its subsequent transfer to the Hellenistic and Islamic worlds ...
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The Wonders of Creation
ʻAjāʼib al-makhlūqāt wa-gharāʼib al-mawjūdāt (The wonders of creation, or literally, Marvels of things created and miraculous aspects of things existing) by Zakriya ibn Muhammad al-Qazwini (circa 1203−83) is among the best known texts of the Islamic world. It is often referred to as “The Cosmography.” The work begins with an introduction, and is followed by two sections, the first on supra-terrestrial, the second on terrestrial creatures. Al-Qazwini concludes his work with a section on monsters and angels. The genre of Aja’ib al-makhluqat (The wonders of creation), of which ...
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Recovery from Diseases and Remedy for Pains
The full name of the author of Shifāʼ al-asqām wa dawāʼ al-ālām (Recovery from diseases and remedy for pains) is Khidr ibn ʻAli ibn Marwan ibnʿAli ibn Husam al-Din, originally called al-Qunawi, also known as Hajji Pasha al-Aidini and al-Misri, thus identifying his provenance as Konya, Turkey. In his introduction to Shifāʼ al-asqām wa dawāʼ al-ālām, the author describes his extended stay in Egypt where he practiced as a physician at the celebrated Maristan al-Mansuri as well as at other hospitals, thus validating the appellation al-Misri (the Egyptian). He also ...
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Clues in the Science of Interpreting Dreams
Ghars al-Din Khalil Ibn Shahin al-Zahiri was born in 1410−11, probably in Jerusalem (or perhaps Cairo). His father was a mamluk of the first Burji sultan (al-Malik al-Zahir) Sayf al-Din Barquq, from whom the nisba (name indicating provenance) al-Zahiri derives. Ghars al-Din Khalil studied in Cairo and—under the Mamluk sultans Barsbay and Jaqmaq—achieved a remarkable career as an administrator, serving at Cairo (as vizier), as well as at Alexandria, Karak, Safed, and Aleppo (as nazir, or overseer). Al-Ishārāt fī ʻilm al-ʻibārāt(Clues in the science of interpreting ...
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Commentary on the Little Canon
The Qānūnjah (also commonly known by its Persian name, the Qānūncha), a medical book by Mahmud ibn Muhammad al-Jaghmini, was written in the late-12th or early 13th century and, as the name indicates, was inspired by Avicenna's encyclopedic work, al-Qānūn fī al-ibb (The canon of medicine). Al-Jaghmini's work was itself the subject of great interest and in turn inspired numerous commentaries. The present commentary on the Qānūnjah was composed by ʻAli ibn Kamal al-Din al-Astarabadi during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II (ruled ...
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The Luminance of Explication and Mysteries of Proof in the Understanding of the Paradigms of the Science of Weights and Measures. Part One
This manuscript consists of the first part of Anwār al-bayān wa asrār al-burhān fī fahm awzān ʻilm al-mīzān (The luminance of explication and mysteries of proof in the understanding of the paradigms of the science of weights and measures). It was composed by the Persian alchemist Aidamur ibn ʻAli ibn Aidamur al-Jaldaki (also seen as al-Gildaki, died circa 1342). The author's name indicates that he was born in Jaldak, in present-day Afghanistan. Over the course of 17 years, al-Jaldaki traveled to Iraq, Asia Minor, West Africa, Egypt, Yemen, Hejaz ...
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The Science of Physiognomy for the Purpose of Management
Shams al-Din Muhammad ibn Abi Talib al-Sufi al-Ansari al-Dimashqi (1256 or 1257–1327) was an Islamic writer on a number of disparate subjects, from cookery to theology. He was known as the sheikh of Hattin and, subsequently, as the sheikh of al-Rabwa (in reference to two Levantine villages in which he served as Sufi sheikh). He is best known for his cosmographic work Nukhbat al-dahr fī ajāʿib al barr wa al-bar (The choice of the age, on the marvels of land and sea), a work ...
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Definitions of Illnesses
Muhammad Akbar, commonly called ʻUrf Muhammad Arzani, who died at Delhi in Rabiʻ al-Thani 1134 AH (January−February 1722), is the author of numerous medical texts in Persian and Arabic. He was active in Mughal India, although he appears to have received part of his medical training in Shiraz in Persia. Ḥudūd al-Amrāḍ (Definitions of illnesses) consists of an alphabetized list of medical ailments along with their definitions. The medical terms are mainly Arabic but include a fair number of Latin and Greek terms as well (e.g., mania ...
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Capsula Eburnea: Epistle from Hippocrates's Tomb
This short work consists of a collection of 25 maxims attributed to Hippocrates (circa 460−circa 377 BC). The maxims are exclusively concerned with the prognosis of patients who are terminally ill. The standard form for the maxim consists of a symptom, followed by the time (in days) to the patient's death, followed by a secondary symptom affirming the case. The 14th maxim, for instance, reads as follows: “If there appears behind the left ear a black pustule, then the patient will die in 24 days as counted from ...
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The New Chemical Medicine Invented by Paracelsus
Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, known as Paracelsus (died September 24, 1541), was a Swiss-German Renaissance-era alchemist, physician, and medical reformer. Al-Ṭibb al-jadīd al-kīmiyāʼī alladhī ikhtaraʻahu Barākalsūs (The new chemical medicine invented by Paracelsus) is an anthology of alchemical works from Europe. The first part consists of an Arabic translation of Paracelsus including an introduction, and four chapters (each divided further into sections). The introduction is an overview by Hermes Trismegistus, called “the Egyptian,” of the invention of alchemy, its subsequent transfer to the Hellenistic and Islamic worlds ...
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The Book of Instant Recovery
Kitāb burʼ al-sāʻa (The book of instant recovery) is a short medical tract by the famous Islamic scientist and physician Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariya Razi (died circa 925). The work consists of 24 short sections, which list the remedies for common afflictions. The work includes sections on al-udāʻ (headaches), wajʻ al-asnān (toothache), and al-iʻyā wa al-taʻab (exhaustion). The colophon lists the scribe’s name as Ghulam Muhammad Pursururi and the completion date for the manuscript as Dhu Qa’da 17, 1173 AH (July 1, 1760). Based on ...
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Rapid Healing
Sadr al-Din Ali al-Gilani al-Hindi (died April 10, 1609) was a renowned physician of the 16th century. His uncle was a physician and may have served as Sadr al-Din’s first teacher. Sadr al-Din completed his studies in Persia (likely in his region of birth, Gilan), and subsequently emigrated to India and the court of Akbar I (reigned 1556–1605). Presented here is an 18th century manuscript of Sadr al-Din’s al-Shifā’ al-ʻājil (Rapid healing). In the introduction, the author states that he composed this work in response to Razi ...
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The Little Canon (on Medicine)
The title of Mahmud ibn ʻUmar al-Jaghmini’s medical text, the Qānūncha, (or Qānūnja in Arabic), is a reference to Avicenna's seminal work on medicine, al-Qānūn (The canon). The suffix -cha is a diminutive in Persian, so the title of al-Jaghmini’s work can be translated as “The little canon.” The Qānūncha is written in ten chapters: 1, al-Umūr al-ṭabiʻiya (On natural philosophy); 2, al-Tashriḥ (On anatomy); 3, Aḥwāl badan al-insān (On the states of the human body); 4, al-Nabḍ (On the pulse); 5, Tadbir al-aṣḥḥā’ wa ‘alāj al-maraḍ ...
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Paul Ferdinand Gachet. Etching by V. van Gogh, 1890
Paul Ferdinand Gachet (1828-1909) was a maverick physician who practiced what later came to be called complementary or alternative medicine. He had a consulting room in Paris to which he commuted from his house in Auvers-sur-Oise outside the city. He was an art lover--an amateur artist, art collector, and a friend of many artists, one of whom was the eccentric Dutchman Vincent Van Gogh (1853-90). Gachet and Van Gogh only knew each other for a couple of months: from May 20, 1890, when Van Gogh arrived to stay in a ...
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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 ...
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Henry Solomon Wellcome: three-quarter length. Oil painting by Hugh Goldwin Riviere, 1906.
Henry S. Wellcome was born in 1853 to a poor farm family in Almond, Wisconsin. Upon his death in 1936, the Wellcome Trust, a British charity, was created. Many years later, it became the most highly endowed charity in the world, with assets of 15 billion pounds. Wellcome owed this achievement to his success as a pharmaceutical manufacturer and salesman. After training as a pharmacist at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, he went to England in 1880 to join his college friend S. Mainville Burroughs in a new pharmaceutical company ...
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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 ...
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Sketch of the DNA Double Helix by Francis Crick
The iconic image of the double helix--the twisted ladder that carries the codes for earth's huge variety of life forms–goes back to 1953 and the homemade metal model created by the British scientist Francis Crick and his American collaborator, James Watson. Determined to solve the puzzle posed by the research evidence at the time, they obtained new insights by visualizing the structure of the complex molecule through a physical model. This pencil sketch of DNA was made by Crick and forms part of the extensive Crick Archive at ...
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A Woman Dropping Her Tea-cup in Horror upon Discovering the Monstrous Contents of a Magnified Drop of Thames Water Revealing the Impurity of London Drinking Water
This 1828 caricature shows a woman looking into a microscope to observe the monsters swimming in a drop of London water. In the 1820s, much of London’s drinking water came from the Thames River, which was heavily polluted by the city sewers that emptied into it. A Commission on the London Water Supply that was appointed to investigate this situation issued a report in 1828, which resulted in various improvements. The five water companies that served the north bank of the river upgraded the quality of their water by ...
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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 ...
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China: A Manchu Bride
This photograph by the great Scottish traveler, geographer, and photographer John Thomson (1837-1921) shows a young woman of the Manchu ethnic group in her wedding dress. She is dressed in a richly embroidered costume and a large floral headdress with tassels. Her face is powdered white. As an ethnographer, Thomson took many photographs of brides in lavish costumes, but he also expressed a gloomy view of the brides’ future lives, which he compared to slavery. "No Manchu maiden can be betrothed until she is fourteen years of age. Usually some ...
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Johnson Papyrus
Herbals are directories of plants, their properties, and their medicinal uses. Herbals most likely were at first not illustrated, but in late antiquity they acquired illustrations. This fragment of a leaf from an illustrated herbal from Hellenistic Egypt shows a plant that is possibly Symphytum officinale, or comfrey. The herbal is made of papyrus, a plant that flourished in the valley of the Nile, and the text is in Greek, the language of science throughout the eastern Mediterranean at this time. The fragment is probably from a copy of the ...
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Recipe Book of Lady Ann Fanshawe
Lady Ann Fanshawe (1625-80) was the wife of Sir Richard Fanshawe (1608-66), a loyal follower of Charles I. The Fanshawes suffered imprisonment and exile following the execution of Charles in 1649 and the establishment of the Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell. When the monarchy was restored in 1660, Sir Richard was appointed ambassador to Madrid, the first permanent overseas embassy maintained by the Crown. This book originally belonged to Lady Ann and contains medical, culinary, and other recipes. The earliest entries date from 1651 and are in the hand of one ...
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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.
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