A Guide to “Aphorisms”


This manuscript is a miscellany of medical texts consisting of a portion of Wasā’il al-wuṣūl ilā masā’il al-fuṣūl (Guide to Aphorisms) by ʻIzz al-Din Ibrahim al-Kashshi (or al-Kissi) as well as fragments of other medical texts. Wasā’il al-wuṣūl ilā masā’il al-fuṣūl is a commentary on Hippocrates’s Aphorisms. It is al-Kashshi’s only surviving work. The volume also contains many medical notes in Arabic and Persian, including a description of the medicinal properties of the flesh of animals and birds, a short treatise on the general classification of drugs, a treatise on ailments and their cures—in which each ailment is followed by a list of associated medicines—and various preparations, including one meant to increase virility. The collection of miscellaneous writings suggests that this manuscript was used as a reference by a practicing physician. Like the Aphorisms of Hippocrates, Wasā’il al-wuṣūl ilā masā’il al-fuṣūl is written in seven chapters. Little is known of al-Kashshi’s life. Surviving manuscript copies of this work are relatively rare, although his text is also preserved in a 14th century commentary by ʻImad al-Din ʻAbd al-Rahim ibn ʻAbdallah. ʻImad al-Din’s commentary is dated 1383, meaning that al-Kashshi was active before then.

Last updated: June 16, 2016