1902 Encyclopedia > Arabia > Arabic Medicine and Surgery

Arabia
(Part 58)




(58) Arabic Medicine and Surgery

More widely recognized, however, are the Arab claims to proficiency in medicine, an art which Mahomet himself, appears to have dabbled in, showing himself, if tradition speaks true, by no means so good a physician as he was a preacher. Under the caliphs, however, regular schools of the therapeutic science were established in Damascus, Naghdad, and Cairo, where the works of Hippocrates and Galen, translated from their originals in Greek, were adopted as the basis of instruction. Hence the great medical treatise entitled El-Melekei, or "The Royal," of Ali-ebn-Abbas, which appeared in Aleppo towards the end of the tenth century, was essentially an enlargement of and appendix to the galentic teaching. Shortly after Er-Razi, the Baghdad professor, published his writings on pathology, containing the first authentic description of exanthematous diseases. The Canon of Ebn-Sina, commonly known as Avicenna, born 980 A.D., with his Materia Medica, which preluded in some respects that of Paracelsus, ultimately, however, superseded every other work in the Arab schools. But the neglect of anatomical study, with a superstitious horror of the practice of dissection, rendered the surgery of the Arabs imperfect and their medicine empirical. The invention of the probing and some improvements in the lancet and the couching needle are due, nevertheless, to Arab surgeons.





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