The Complete Art of Medicine


Kitāb Kāmil al-ṣināʻah al-ṭibbīyah: al-maʻrūf bi-al-Malaki (The complete art of medicine) is the only known work by Ali Ibn al-Abbas al-Majusi (died 994), also known by his Latinized name, Haly Abbas. Al-Majusi was born near Shiraz, Persia (present-day Iran), early in the 10th century. Little is known about his background, but his nickname, al- Majusi, suggests that he or his father was originally a Zoroastrian. He trained as a physician and served King Adud al-Dulwa (died 983), to whom the Kitab Kamil is dedicated. The work consists of 20 treatises: ten on the theory and ten on the practice of medicine. Al-Majūsī is noted for his accurate description of pleurisy; his understanding of veins, arteries, and the circulatory system; and his recognition of the importance of diet, rest, and physical exercise in maintaining health. Kitab Kamil was partially translated into Latin as early as 1089 and was widely circulated in Europe in manuscript and later in print editions. The manuscript is copied in a clear small Naskh script, 29 lines per page. The text is ruled with blue and gold lines. Headings and other catchwords, which appear below the text, are in red. A table of contents precedes the text. The date in the colophon, 841 AH (1437–38 AD) is questionable, as it was added at the end of the text in a different hand. The manuscript was a gift of Harvey Cushing (1869–1939), a Yale-educated neurosurgeon, whose collection of rare medical books forms a key part of the Medical Historical Library in the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library, Yale University.

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Title in Original Language

كتاب كامل الصناعة الطبية تأليف علي بن العباس.

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Physical Description

Written surface: 10.7 x 19.7 centimeters

Last updated: April 3, 2018