Aga Khan Museum’s collection includes an Arabic folio of the famous De Materia Medica

De Materia Medica

De Materia Medica, Spain, 12th-13th hundred

The medicine of medieval Islamic culture was built primarily on Greek remedy, particularly the writing of Hippocrates (460-375 BC), a healer who is considered one of the principally outstanding figures in the history of medicine, and Galen (130 AD-200 AD), a distinctly manifest physician, surgeon and philosopher.

Greek lore was a trampoline for the vigorous scientific activity in Islamic civilizations. Islamic scientists and philosophers were engaged not singly in preservation of the knowledge of the ended, but also in advancing it, formulating novel discoveries and making significant contributions to physic and other fields.


Image: Aga Khan Museum

One of the earliest according to principles manuscripts to be translated from Greek to Arabic was Dioscorides’s De Materia Medica (“On Medical Material”) considered in the state of it is called in Latin. Pedanius Dioscorides (40 AD – 90 AD), a Greek medical man who resided in Rome, wrote his paper tract on medicinal plants in the in the ~ place century. This treatise was a abridgment. of all the materia medica that time known from Greek medicine and other sources, describing more 600 plants and their possible medical uses. The manuscript was translated into Arabic in Baghdad in the ninth hundred years and became the foremost classical beginning of modern botanical terminology. The exemplar Greek manuscript, which was copied in at in the smallest degree seven languages, served as the radical text of pharmacology until the extremity of the fifteenth century.

The folio to this place is from a rare dispersed thirteenth-hundred Arabic copy of the text, in what one. are depicted various medicinal herbs and roots. The serving-boy also shows a single-stemmed scatter seed with red spiky blossoms, and the subject states that this medicinal plant is used in the handling of skin disorders including pustules, itch and ulcers.

Pedanius Dioscorides, Encyclopaedia Britannica
Aga Khan Museum Online Gallery

Research ~ the agency of Nimira Dewji


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