Poem on the Causes and Symptoms of Fevers

Although the colophon of this manuscript copy of al-Urjūzah fī asbāb al-ḥumīyāt wa ’alāmātihā (Poem on the causes and symptoms of fevers) attributes the work to Abu ʻAli Husayn Ibn Sina (born in Bukhara in 980, died in Hamadan in 1037; known in the Latin West as Avicenna), the actual authorship of this work remains uncertain. Attribution of Ibn Sina’s medical works is often problematic as many of the works commonly linked to this Persian polymath remain to be studied and authenticated as having been written by him. Ibn Sina was referred to by his successors in the Islamic world as al-Shaykh al-Ra’īs (the preeminent scholar), in recognition of the wide range of topics studied and treated by him, but in Europe his fame rested principally on his medical works, especially on al-Qānūn fī al-ṭibb (The canon of medicine), which was translated into Latin and remained part of the standard curriculum for medical students in Europe for centuries. Two of Ibn Sina's other medical works were translated into Latin and also widely known in Europe—al-Adwīya al-qalbīya (Cardiac medication) and his treatise on medicine al-Urjūza fī al-ṭibb (Versified manual  on medicine). It was due the popularity of these three works that Ibn Sina was referred to in the Latin West as princeps medicorum, or “prince of the physicians.” Al-Urjūzah fī asbāb al-ḥumīyāt wa ’alāmātihā does not appear in the authoritative lists of Ibn Sina’s works, although it shares the title word “al-Urjūzah with the more securely attested al-Urjūzah fī al-ṭibb. This word refers to the genre of versified text (generally, but not exclusively, written on medical topics). In this “Poem on the Causes and Symptoms of Fevers,” the short introduction, in which the author offers thanks to God and blessings to the Prophet Muhammad, is followed by 24 sections, treating general topics as causes for infection, as well as dealing with specific maladies such as continued or unremitting fever (sūnūkhus, from the Greek synochus), hectic or deep-rooted fever (al-diqq), and causus or ardent fever (exceptionally high fever, qūsūs). The copyist has listed his name as Muhammad al-Tabib (i.e., Muhammad the Physician) and states that he is a resident of Beirut and of Syrian extraction (al-shām [sic] nasaban wa al-bayrūtī maskanan). The manuscript, which contains 260 verses, has rubricated titles and is ornamented with a band of trefoils separating the hemistichs in each verse. It was completed “at noon, on the blessed Wednesday of the fourteenth of Jumādā II of the year 1071 AH” (February 14, 1661).

The New Chemical Medicine Invented by Paracelsus

Al-Ṭibb al-jadīd al-kīmiyāʼī alladhī ikhtaraʻahu Barākalsūs (The new chemical medicine invented by Paracelsus) is an Arabic compendium of alchemical works from early modern Europe by Salih ibn Nasrallah al-Halabi ibn Sallum (died 1671). Ibn Sallum was a noted physician in Aleppo and subsequently chief physician in the Ottoman capital of Istanbul. Ibn Sallum’s work is on iatrochemistry and consists of translations of Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, known as Paracelsus (1493‒1541), an alchemist, physician, and medical reformer, and of alchemist and physician Oswald Crollius (circa 1563–1609). The first part of Ibn Sallum’s work is an Arabic translation of Paracelsus, which includes an introduction and four chapters (each of which are divided further into sections). The introduction, an overview of the history of alchemy, describes the invention of alchemy by “Hermes Trismegistus the Egyptian” (a legendary “thrice-great Hermes” to whom a large corpus of writing was attributed) and the subsequent transfer of alchemical knowledge to the Hellenistic and Islamic worlds. The book also discusses Paracelsus and his transformation of alchemy into a field of medicine, with a dual focus on the perfection and purification of metals and on preserving the health of the human body. Chapter one is entitled al-Juz’ al-naẓarī min ashyā’ gharība wa huwa al-ṭibb al-kīmīyā’ī fī al-umūr al-ṭabī‘īya (On the speculative part of paranormal objects, i.e., alchemical medicine regarding the affairs of nature). This chapter includes a discussion of such topics as al-Hayūlā al-ūlā wa al-sirr al-akbar (prime matter and the great secret). The second chapter is entitled Asās ṭibb al-kīmīyā (On the principles of alchemical medicine). Presented in this chapter are sections on asbāb al-amrāḍ (the causes of illness), al-nabḍ (the pulse), and al-ʻalāj al-kullī (general treatments). The third chapter, Bayān kayfīyat tadbīr al-adwīya (On an explication of the manner of managing medicines), discusses chemical procedures involving metals and minerals. The fourth chapter, Fī al-ʻamaliyāt (On operations), discusses such procedures as the distillation of water. The second part of this compendium is an Arabic rendition of Basilica Chymica, by Crollius, who was influenced by Paracelsus. The first edition of Crollius’s work was probably printed in 1609 in Frankfurt, with a French translation appearing in 1622. The Arabic version of this work, which takes up roughly the second half of the manuscript, deals with the general treatment of diseases as well as the treatment of ailments that are specific to various organs. The manuscript ends somewhat abruptly with a discussion of dhahab al-ra‘d (i.e., aurum fulminans), and thus is missing a fair amount of Crollius’s text. The omitted text includes the discussion of diseases of the stomach and of the uterus, as well as that of a number of compounds including the “salt of coral” and “the salt of pearls.” The manuscript is undated and unsigned. It concludes with a short colophon praising God as succorer and guide to the path of salvation.

A Compendium Aiming at Preservation of Health and Repelling of Disease

This work is a manuscript copy of Jāmi‘ al-gharaḍ fī ḥifẓ al-ṣiḥḥah wa-daf‘ al-maraḍ (A compendium aimed at preserving health and repelling disease) by the Syrian physician Abu al-Faraj ibn Ya‘qub Ibn al-Quff (1233–86). The work consists of 60 chapters treating various topics of health and hygiene. The chapter headings include kalām kullī fī ḥifẓ al-ṣiḥḥah (General remarks regarding the preservation of health), fī ḥifẓ ṣiḥḥat al-hublā (On preserving the health of a pregnant woman), and fī ḥifẓ ṣiḥḥat al-murḍi‘a (On preserving the health of a nursing woman). Subsequently, separate chapters treat al-ṭifl (the health of a child), al-shābb (an adolescent), al-kahl (a middle-aged person), and al-shaykh (an aged person). Other chapters include treatments for fī ḥifẓ ṣiḥḥat al-musāfir fī al-barr (the health of wayfarers on land), as well as fī ḥifẓ ṣiḥḥat al-rākib fī al-baḥr (the health of passengers at sea). Ibn al-Quff treats the question of proper nutrition extensively, devoting a number of chapters to various foods and beverages. He also discusses the effects of bathing, massage, and sexual intercourse on the health of the individual. Ibn al-Quff received his first medical training as an adolescent in Sarkhad, Syria, under the celebrated physician and historian of medicine, Ibn Abi Usaybi‘ah (died 1269 or 1270). He continued his training in Damascus, and subsequently moved to Ajlun to serve as a practicing physician for the decade spanning 1262 to 1272. He then returned to Damascus, where he continued serving as physician for the remainder of his life. In addition to Jāmi‘ al-gharaḍ fī ḥifẓ al-ṣiḥḥah wa-daf‘ al-maraḍ, Ibn al-Quff wrote several other major medical treatises and is perhaps best known for his al-Shāfī fī al-ṭibb (Comprehensive work on the healing arts), completed in 1272. The scribe for the present manuscript lists his name as Spir Sarruf and states in the colophon that he completed copying the work on the “second Sunday in Lent, 1830.”

The Book of Elegance in the Science of Agriculture

‘Abd al-Ghani ibn Isma’il al-Nabulusi (1641‒1731, 1050‒1143 AH) was an influential Syrian author whose corpus of at least 150 known works primarily treat mystical and other theological matters. After losing his father at a young age, al-Nabulusi developed an interest in mysticism and joined the Qadiriyya and Naqsbandiyya Sufi orders. Residing near the great Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, al-Nabulusi appears to have immersed himself for long periods in the works of Ibn al-‘Arabi and other mystical writers, indifferent to worldly habits such as the trimming of his beard and hair. In his mature years, al-Nabulusi travelled widely in the eastern Mediterranean, visiting Istanbul, Jerusalem, Hebron, Egypt, and Tripoli. In 1702 al-Nabulusi returned to Damascus, where he lived in the Salihiya quarter for the rest of his life. Al-Nabulusi’s ‘Alam al-malāḥah fī ‘ilm al-filāḥah (The book of elegance in the science of agriculture) is unusual in that its topic falls outside those favored by al-Nabulusi, namely mysticism and poetry. In the introduction, the author refers to his work as an abridgment of an agricultural work by the Syrian author Radi al-Din al-Gazzi al-‘Amiri (died 1529). Al-Nabulusi’s work consists of ten chapters treating such topics as various types of soils, irrigation, and the cultivation of trees, flowering plants, and grain crops. In the conclusion al-Nabulusi discusses the manner in which agricultural produce can be preserved and stored for future use. The manuscript was completed on 8 Shawwāl, 1127 AH (October 7, 1715).

Recovery from Diseases and Remedy for Pains

The full name of the author of Shifāʼ al-asqām wa dawāʼ al-ālām (Recovery from diseases and remedy for pains) is Khidr ibn ʻAli ibn Marwan ibnʿAli ibn Husam al-Din, originally called al-Qunawi, also known as Hajji Pasha al-Aidini and al-Misri, thus identifying his provenance as Konya, Turkey. In his introduction to Shifāʼ al-asqām wa dawāʼ al-ālām, the author describes his extended stay in Egypt where he practiced as a physician at the celebrated Maristan al-Mansuri as well as at other hospitals, thus validating the appellation al-Misri (the Egyptian). He also identifies himself as al-Khattab (the preacher), a title by which he is commonly referred to in Islamic sources. Shifāʼ al-asqām wa dawāʼ al-ālām is divided into four chapters: Chapter one is Kullīyāt juz’ay al-ṭibb aʻnī ʻilmīya wa ‘amalīya (On an introduction to the theoretical and practical aspects of medicine); chapter two is al-Aghdhīya wa al-ashriba wa al-adwīya al-mufrada wa al-murakkaba (On food and drink and medicines simple and compound); chapter three is called al-Amrāḍ al-mukhtassa bi ‘uḍw ‘uḍw min al-ra’s ilā al-qadam (On diseases specific to an organ of the body from the head to the feet); and chapter four is al-Amrāḍ al-ʻāma allatī lā tukhtaṣ bi ‘uḍw dūn ‘uḍw (On diseases not specific to an organ of the body). Each chapter is further divided into sections. Chapter four, for example, consists of sections on fevers, swellings, sores, and other topics. Hajji Pasha's non-medical works include books on logic, philosophy, Qurʼanic exegesis, and kalam (theology). He dedicated Shifāʼ al-asqām wa dawāʼ al-ālām to ʻIsa ibn Muhammad ibn Aidin, the fourth ruler of the Aidinid house (reigned 1360–90). The beylik established by the Aidinids was one of several beyliks that arose in western Anatolia and filled the power vacuum that resulted from the fall of the Seljuks of Rum in the waning years of the 13th century. The present manuscript was completed during the author’s lifetime, on 14 Shawwāl, 788 AH (November 7, 1386) in Selçuk, the capital city of the Aidinid dynasty. It contains copious marginal notes in Arabic and some in Persian. A short poem in Persian, apparently added by the copyist, appears at the very end of the work.

Collection of Well-tested Medical Remedies

The genre of mujarrabat consists of collections of medical case studies, including tested medical remedies found to be useful in the treatment of the listed ailments. Therapeutic manuals of this type do not describe the nature and the cause of the ailments per se, but focus rather on the symptoms and the remedy—reflecting, perhaps, the nature of the work as a reference manual for the practicing clinician. According to the introduction of Jirāb al-mujarrabāt (Collection of well-tested medical remedies), this work is a compilation of case studies related by Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi (died circa 925), as recorded and commented on by an unnamed disciple. Born in Ray (near modern-day Tehran), Razi is recognized as one of the intellectual luminaries of the medieval Islamic world. Among his astonishing intellectual output (exceeding 150 titles on all the scientific topics of his era) is one of the earliest surviving instances of the mujarrabat genre: the Kitāb al-Tajārib (Book of experiments). Jirāb al-mujarrabāt presents a different collection of case studies than those appearing in Kitāb al-Tajārib, but it shares in the usual organizational structure of Razi’s work, in that maladies of the superior parts of the human body (such as the head) precede those that afflict the lower parts (such as the abdomen). Of the 31 chapters present in the Jirāb al-mujarrabāt, the final ten chapters depart from this scheme to present general topics, such as fī aujā‘ al-mafāsil wa niqris (joint pain and gout) in, for example, chapter 22. The manuscript contains a large number of transcription errors, suggesting that the scribe was not conversant in Arabic or perhaps that he was copying a text that he could not read. The scribe concludes the book with a short phrase in Persian, tamām shud ([the transcription] is finished).

The Canon of Medicine

Abu ʻAli al-Husayn Ibn Sina was born in Bukhara (present-day Uzbekistan) in 980 and died in Hamadan (present-day Iran) in 1037. One of the intellectual luminaries of the medieval world, known in the Latin West as Avicenna, this Persian polymath was often referred to by Muslim authors as al-Shaykh al-Raʼīs (the preeminent scholar), acknowledgment of his status as one of the foremost savants of the Islamic world. A prolific author, Ibn Sina wrote on topics as varied as metaphysics, theology, medicine, psychology, earth sciences, physics, astronomy, astrology, and chemistry. Ibn Sina’s fame in Europe rests principally on this work, al-Qānūn fī al-ṭibb (The canon of medicine), which was translated into Latin by Gerard of Cremona in the 12th century and remained part of the standard curriculum for medical students until the late 17th century. It was due to the reputation of this work, as well as two of Ibn Sina's other works that were translated into Latin—al-Adwiya al-qalbīya (Cardiac medication) and al-Urjūza fī al-ṭibb (a versified manual on medicine)—that Ibn Sina was sometimes referred to in the Latin West as princeps medicorum (prince of physicians). The Canon of Medicine is organized into five books as follows: Book 1 is entitled al-Umūr al-kulliya fī ’ilm al-ṭibb (General medical principles) and covers the basic principles of medicine; Book 2 is entitled al-Adwiya al-mufrada (Materia medica) and lists approximately 800 individual drugs of vegetable and mineral origin; Book 3 is entitled al-Amrāḍ al-juz’iya (Special pathology) and discusses the diseases of individual organs; Book 4 is entitled al-Amrāḍ allatī lā takhtaṣṣ bi ’udw bi ’aynihi (Diseases involving more than one member) and discusses medical conditions that affect the entire body, such as fevers and poisons; Book 5 is entitled al-Adwiya al-murakkaba wa al-aqrābādhīn (Formulary) and lists some 650 medicinal compounds as well as their uses and effects. The current manuscript is a complete transcription of this work, with Books 1 and 2 bound together, as are Books 4 and 5. The marginal notes in this manuscript are primarily in Arabic, with some in Persian. A lone illuminated border appears on a leaf in Book 3 of the work, in a section discussing ḥaṣāt al-kulya (kidney stones). The remaining pages are borderless, consisting of 25 lines per page of neatly written script, with rubricated titles. All five books share a single copyist. A date of 1270 AH (1853‒54) appears in the colophon to Book 3, indicating the mid-19th century as the date for the completion of this work.

The Book of Hermes the Wise

Kitāb Hirmis al-ḥakīm (The book of Hermes the Wise) is a text on invocations, magical incantations, and medicinal draughts used for the treatment of maladies. The purported author, Hermes Trismegistus (Thrice-great Hermes), was a legendary figure in the classical Greek, Roman, and Islamic worlds, to whom a large corpus of writing was attributed. The book is organized according to the Arabic letters arranged in the abjad system (alifbā’, jīm, dāl and so forth). The discussion for each letter begins with a diagnosis of an adult male who is the sāḥib (companion) of the letter, and proceeds to a prescribed therapy involving incantations (occasionally of religious texts such as the throne verse of the Qur’an), as well as botanical preparations and other medicinal compounds. The text then proceeds to discuss the case of a boy, an adult female, and a girl described in a similarly esoteric fashion as the companion of the letter in question, while prescribing the appropriate therapy for each. The mythology of Hermes Trismegistus took various forms. An early Islamic account is that of Abu Sahl al-Fadl ibn Nawbakht (died circa 815), astrologer to several of the early Abbasid caliphs. Abu Sahl is quoted by later authors as identifying Hermes as a resident of Babylon, driven away to Egypt at the fall of the Persian Empire to Alexander. Such an account would have served well to place the origin of Hermes’ astrology in the territory of the Persian Empire, and thus within the purview of Abu Sahl—an astrologer of Persian heritage working at the caliphal court in Baghdad. Modern researchers point out the varied nature of the individual works in the vast Hermetic corpus in the Islamic world, written at different times, with different purposes and aims, united only in their claims of authorship in reference to the legendary Hermes. This manuscript, in naskh script and black ink with frequent scribal errors, is dated to 830 AH (1426‒27 AD), although the scholar A.Z. Iskander identifies the manuscript as a 20th century copy of an earlier manuscript.

Recipients of the Cross of Saint George, Awarded with the Highest Military Honor. For Action near Ikan from December 5-7, 1864: Paymaster Prikashchikov of the Ural Cossack Troops

This photograph is from the historical part of the Turkestan Album, a comprehensive visual survey of Central Asia undertaken after imperial Russia assumed control of the region in the 1860s. Commissioned by General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman (1818–82), the first governor-general of Russian Turkestan, the album is in four parts spanning six volumes: “Archaeological Part” (two volumes); “Ethnographic Part” (two volumes); “Trades Part” (one volume); and “Historical Part” (one volume). The compiler of the first three parts was Russian Orientalist Aleksandr L. Kun, who was assisted by Nikolai V. Bogaevskii. Production of the album was completed in 1871–72. The fourth part was compiled by Mikhail Afrikanovich Terentʹev (born 1837), a Russian military officer, Orientalist, linguist, and author who participated in the Russian expedition to Samarkand of 1867−68. The “Historical Part” documents Russian military activities between 1853 and 1871 with photographs and watercolor maps of major battles and sieges. The photographs include individual and group portraits of officials and military personnel. Most of the men portrayed were recipients of the Cross of Saint George, an honor conferred upon soldiers and sailors for bravery in battle. A few photographs at the beginning of the album depict officers awarded the Order of Saint George, an honor granted to senior Russian officers for superior merit in conducting military operations. Also shown are views of citadels, fortifications, cities and villages, churches, ruins, and monuments commemorating soldiers killed in battle. The album contains 211 images on 79 plates.

Syr Darya Oblast. Ruins of the Citadel at Aulie Ata

This photograph is from the historical part of the Turkestan Album, a comprehensive visual survey of Central Asia undertaken after imperial Russia assumed control of the region in the 1860s. Commissioned by General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman (1818–82), the first governor-general of Russian Turkestan, the album is in four parts spanning six volumes: “Archaeological Part” (two volumes); “Ethnographic Part” (two volumes); “Trades Part” (one volume); and “Historical Part” (one volume). The compiler of the first three parts was Russian Orientalist Aleksandr L. Kun, who was assisted by Nikolai V. Bogaevskii. Production of the album was completed in 1871–72. The fourth part was compiled by Mikhail Afrikanovich Terentʹev (born 1837), a Russian military officer, Orientalist, linguist, and author who participated in the Russian expedition to Samarkand of 1867−68. The “Historical Part” documents Russian military activities between 1853 and 1871 with photographs and watercolor maps of major battles and sieges. The photographs include individual and group portraits of officials and military personnel. Most of the men portrayed were recipients of the Cross of Saint George, an honor conferred upon soldiers and sailors for bravery in battle. A few photographs at the beginning of the album depict officers awarded the Order of Saint George, an honor granted to senior Russian officers for superior merit in conducting military operations. Also shown are views of citadels, fortifications, cities and villages, churches, ruins, and monuments commemorating soldiers killed in battle. The album contains 211 images on 79 plates.