The Science of the Medical Treatment of Horses


ʻIlm ṭibb al-khayl (The science of the medical treatment of horses) is a book on hippiatrics. It is composed in 175 chapters of varying length, the shortest of which consist only of a few sentences. The work begins with a general discussion of fasd (venesection) and ends with a list of huqan (enemas). Conditions and treatments are generally organized according to the affected member, with a discussion of skin lesions and cankers of various sorts preceding conditions and complications related to the ears, eyes, nose, and mouth of the horse. The work is principally a comprehensive formulary listing the ingredients for various balms and salves (of plant, animal, or mineral origin) used to treat ailing horses. In addition, surgical interventions, such as for al-khuld (scrofula) are described. The unknown author, whose name was effaced from the colophon, cites in several places hippiatric knowledge passed to him by his father, and occasionally quotes, as well, other unnamed authorities. The presence of a fair number of copying errors suggests that the scribe (who mistakenly lists the number of chapters as 75 at the opening) was not familiar with some of the terminology. The book, the first one or two pages of which are missing, includes a table of contents in the same hand as that of the main text. The date 1826 appears on the margin of the last leaf, suggesting perhaps that the scribe was a Christian.

Last updated: August 15, 2017