The Comprehensive Book on Medicine


Abu Bakr Muhammad Ibn Zakariya al-Razi (also known by Latinized versions of his name, Rhazes or Rasis, circa 865–925) was a Persian polymath, physician, and philosopher who made major and lasting contributions to the fields of medicine, music, philosophy, and alchemy and was the author of more than 200 books and treatises. He was known in the fields of both medicine and chemistry and undertook chemical experiments to create medicines to treat particular diseases. He followed a scientific approach in his research using the methods of monitoring and observation, which gave his chemical experiments a special value. Among Europeans, al-Razi’s most sought after work was his Kitab al-Hawi fi al-tibb (The comprehensive book on medicine), which was translated into Latin in 1279 under the title Continens Rasis by Faraj ben Salim, a physician of Sicilian-Jewish origin employed by Charles of Anjou to translate medical works. This book is also known in Latin as Continens Liber and in English as The Virtuous Life. Shown here is the rare 1529 edition of Continens Rasis, which was printed in Venice by Johannes Hamman.

Last updated: July 10, 2017