Compendium of Works on Medicine by Avenzoar and Averroes


This work is a compendium of the Latin translations of several works by two renowned Andalusian authors of the 12th century: ʻAbd al-Malik ibn Abī al-ʻAlāʾ Ibn Zuhr (died 1162), known in the Latin West as Avenzoar; and Abu ’l-Walīd Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn Rushd, the celebrated Averröes (1126–98) of the Latin West. Ibn Zuhr’s well-known medical treatise Taysīr fi ’l-mudāwāt wa ’l-tadbīr (Practical manual of treatments and diets) is presented here, as well as Ibn Rushd’s great medical work, al-Kulliyāt fī al-ṭibb (The general principles of medicine), translated into Latin as the Colliget. Sandwiched between the two works is a short treatise, Antidotarium (Book of antidotes), which is attributed to Ibn Zuhr, even though this work does not appear on the list of the known works in Arabic by this author. Ibn Zuhr was born in Seville, probably toward the end of the 11th century. Ibn Khallikān writes of the members of the Ibn Zuhr family that they were “all learned men, leaders, savants, and viziers who reached high ranks in the entourages of princes.” Ibn Zuhr’s father, Abū ’l -ʻAlā’ Zuhr ibn ʻAbd al-Malik ibn Muḥammad, a renowned physician, taught his son, who excelled in medicine at an early age while also receiving a rigorous literary and juridical education. Ibn Zuhr’s careful clinical observations led him to original views. He was one of the first to recommend tracheotomy and artificial feeding via the esophagus or the rectum. He was appointed as vizier by the second Almohad caliph, ʻAbd al-Mu’min, and appears to have served as court physician as well. Ibn Rushd, also known as a celebrated commentator of Aristotle, was at the Almohad court at this time and became a friend and collaborator of Ibn Zuhr. According to Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʻa, Ibn Rushd asked Ibn Zuhr to write a book on “al-umūr al-juz’īya” (the particularities [of therapeutics]), “so that their two works together should form a complete treatise on the art of medicine.” This confirms that the pairing of the Taysīr and the Kullīyāt originated in the Arabic manuscripts that formed the source of the present work. The Latin translation of the Kullīyāt presented in this edition contains an introduction and six parts: on anatomy (35 chapters), on health (22 chapters), on ailments (41 chapters), on the signs and diagnoses of sickness and of healing (60 chapters), on foods and medicines (59 chapters), and on the rules of health (18 chapters). Earlier printings of the Taysīr include Venice editions of 1490, 1496, and 1497, with the title Liber Teisir sive Rectificatio medicationis et regiminis. All three editions include the Antidotarium. The current version was printed in 1530 in Venice in the shop established by Ottaviano Scoto of Monza in 1479.

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Ottaviano Scoto, Venice


Title in Original Language

Colliget Auer. Habes in hoc volumine, studiose lector, gloriosi illius senis Abhomeron Abinzoar librum Theysir

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Physical Description

108 pages : illustrations ; 28 centimeters

Last updated: May 24, 2017