Commentary of Hugo of Sienna on the First [Book] of the Canon of Avicenna Together with His Questions


Ugo Benzi (also known as Hugo of Siena) was born in Siena about 1370. Educated in the liberal arts, he later developed an interest in medicine and undertook formal studies at the University of Bologna. He became a renowned physician, scholar, and teacher of medicine at several universities in Italy. He prepared commentaries on the medical classics of the time, works by the Greek Hippocrates, the Roman Galen, and the famous Islamic scholar Abū ‘Alī al-Ḥusayn ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn Sīnā (980–1037), commonly known as Avicenna. These texts formed the basis of medical education in the West from about 1300 to 1600. Benzi’s extensive studies and reputation as a man of learning and scholarship helped to shape the growth of medicine as a respected profession based on a repository of authoritative knowledge. This early printed book is a commentary on al-Qānūn fī al-ṭibb (The canon of medicine), Avicenna’s encyclopedic masterpiece summarizing all of the medical knowledge of the time. The commentary deals with the most important sections of Avicenna’s work. These concern the fundamental concepts of medicine and general symptoms of disease in: Book One, “Things in the overall knowledge about medicine;” Treatise One, “Medicine and the themes of nature;” and Treatise Two, “Diseases, causes, and symptoms.”

Last updated: September 18, 2015