980-1037: Avicenna: The Prince of Physicians

Avecinna (980-1037)

While the Western nature slid into the dark ages betwixt the 6th and 12th centuries, through most scientific and medical wisdom conscious lost, the opposite occurred in the Arabic terraqueous globe where Avecenna was born in Persia in 980 A.D.

He was a famed medieval philosopher and physician, and his main division “The Canon” was one of the greatest in quantity well used medical texts for throughout five centuries.  

His official Arabic honor was Abn Ali Al hosain Ibn Abdullah Ibn Sina, yet to the western world he’s artlessly referred to as Avicenna. He was born in Afshena, common of the hamlets of the circuit of Bokhara in 980 A.D. His male parent was Abdullah, a local governor, and his generatrix was Sitareh.  (6)(8, page64)

His parents be necessitated to have been pretty impressed by their young child. Of this, Fourgeaud said: (7, boy-servant 193-194)

His extraordinary memory, his highest degree faculty for learning, soon attracted the alertness of his father, who spared not either expense nor trouble for his education.  His power of memory were like, we are told by himself, that preceding he was ten years of time of life, he could repeat the whole of the Koran, and could commune familiarly on arithmetic, geometry and astronomy.  He repaired to Baghdad to study science of causes and medicine, and so entirely did he give up himself to these sciences, that he is reported to have labored day and adversity, and to have warded off the come near of sleep and excited his exhausted faculties ~ the agency of the use of exhilarating beverages — and when nature prevailed over all of his contrivances, problems that baffled his waking hours were solved in his dreams. (7, pages 193-194) (8, boy-servant 54) According to his biography, he was so gifted as a student that his venerable man assigned him a special instructor — al Natali — to show him arithmetic, logic, science and astronomy.  In his seasonable teens his interests shifted toward remedial agent, and when he was only 16 he became a cure. (6)

In fact, Fourgeaud afore~:
Before he was sixteen he not barely knew medical theory, but by gratuitous persons attending on the sick had, according to his hold account, discovered new methods of management.  By the end of his seventeenth year he had gone the step of learning of his time; his apprenticeship of study was concluded, and he went onward to find a market for his accomplishments.” (8, boy-servant 64-65) His quest did not take far-seeing, for he was only 16 then he became a “renowned physician.”  Then, at the fit age of 18, he earned credit and respect when the sultan of Bukhara, Nuh ibn Mansur al-Samai, became in earnest ill and the person credited despite healing him was Avecenna. As a pay for his services, Avecenna was granted way of approach to the Sultan’s library, that was loaded with all the good sense of the ancient world. Avecenna loved to learn, thus this was a great gift in opposition to him.   (6)(7, page 194)

He exhausted many hours studying by candlelight numerous company volumes of books, most of which were those of Hippocrates and Galen, cramming his chieftain with as much information as he could.  By the time he was 21 he had before that time started publishing volumes, sharing with others tot~y he had learned.  In sum ~ he would write hundreds of volumes in c~tinuance a variety of topics, including ethical science, logic, philosophy, science and medicine.  (6)

Bear by me now as I allow Fourgeaud and Bradford to instruct the story of Avicenna, as I credit this is necessary in order to gain a valid point.

When Avicenna was 22 his maker died, and soon thereafter ‘the reigning race of rulers came to an end in the year 1004,” declared Thomas Bradford. He added:

Mahommed of Ghazni sought to hitch the brilliant scholar to his retinue of skilled followers, but he declined the distinguished position, and made his way westward to the incorporated town of Urdjensh, in the modern territory of Khiva, where the Vizier, who was a intimate of scholars, gave him a insignificant monthly stipend. But the pay was mean, and Avicenna wandered from place to arrange through the districts of Nishapur and Mero to the borders of Khorasan, seeking an opportunity for his talents. Finally at Jorjan, forthcoming the Caspian, he met a dear companion who bought near his own partnership a dwelling in which Avicenna lectured up~ logic and astronomy. For this good genius several treatises were written; and the commencement of his great Canon of Medicine dates from his stay in Hyrcania.(8, boy-servant 65) He moved from place to dwelling seat, writing all along, and “ultimately he,” uttered Bradford:
Went southward to Hamadan, in what place the prince was established.  He foremost entered the services of a remote from the equator born lady, but the Emir (grand turk) learned of his arrival called him in in the manner that a medical attendant, and sent him back with presents in his dwelling.  He was things being so raised to the office of Vizier, goal the turbulent soldiery mutined against their young imperial, and demanded that his new vizier should be put to death.  Shems Addula consented that he should exist banished from the country.  Avicenna remained clandestine for forty days in a sheikh’s tavern till a fresh attack of illness caused the Emir to again cry out for his physician.  Even during this troubled time he continued to study and indicate to. Every evening extracts from his prominent works, the Canon and the Senatio, were dictated and explained to his pupils; mixed whom, when the lesson was from hand to hand, he spent the rest of the darkness in festive enjoyment with a sodality of singers and players.  (8, pages 65-66)  He was likewise known as a good politician, now despite the long-term popularity of his book “The Canon,” he did not hold much “‘pull’ with the authorities of his time.” (2) 

This is evidenced end the words of Fourgeaud, who added that afterward he was appointed visier many vicissitudes hem in. his path. Fourgeaud wrote:
He was thrown into bridewell, where he remained two years, with regard to being accessory to a conspiracy, or according to more historians, for refusing to administer poison to the nephew of a Sultan. For some time after his release he had to screen himself, but being discovered he was one time again incarcerated for four months, at the time he effected his escape under the veil of a monk.  He on that account made his way to Ispahan, whither he was treated with great account.” ( 7, page 194) Bradford continues telling the story:
On the death of the Emir, Avicenna ceased to have existence Vizier, and hid himself in the put under cover of an apothecary, where, with close assiduity, he continued the composition of his works. Meanwhile he had written to Abujaafar, the prefect of Ispahan, offering his services; but the new Emir of Hamadan, sense of ~ of his correspondence, and discovering the town of his concealment, imprisoned him in a citadel. War continued between the rulers ofI spahan and Hamadan. In 1024 the preceding captured Hamadan and its towns, and expelled the Turks. Avicenna, on the model of the war, returned with the Emir to Hamadan, and carried steady his literary labors; but at detail, accompanied by his brother, a favorite pupil, and two slaves, he made his flee from fromt he city in the cover of a Sufite ascetic. (8, boy-servant 66) After a perilous journey they reached Ispahan, and current an honorable welcome from the prince. The remaining ten or twelve years of his life he worn out in the service of his guardian Abu Jaafar Ala Addaula, whom he had accompanied in the same proportion that physician and general literary and scientific adviser, even in his numerous campaigns. During these years he began to study literary matters and philosophy. But amidst altogether his study Avicenna never forgot his have a passionate affection for of enjoyment. Unusual bodily vigor enabled him to coalesce severe devotion to work with cockering in sensual pleasures. His passion as far as concerns wine and women was almost to the degree that well known as his learning. (8, pages 66-67) But his bouts of mind gradually weakened his constitution; a grave colic which seized him on the step of the army against Hamadan was checked by measures so violent that Avicenna could barely stand. On a similar occasionthe ‘malady returned; with difficulty he reached Hamadan, at what place, finding the disease gradually gaining territory, he refused to keep up the regulation of diet imposed, and resigned himself to his fatality. On his death-bed remorse seized him; he bestowed his effects on the poor, restored unjust gains, freed his slaves, and each third day till his death listened to the rendering of the Koran. He died in June, 1037, in his 58th year, and was buried in the midst of the palm trees by the Kiblah of Hamadan. (8 serving-boy 67) Some credit his demise to his disproportionate desire for wine, and that he died of dysentry.  (2, page 349)

I wanted to share this synopsis of the life and times of Avicenna to illusion how difficult it was for a hu~ being of his stature during his time.  In regular government for him study medicine, practice remedial agent, and write about medicine he had to constantly persuade the favor of the sultan. If he wasn’t inclined to make such a sacrifice, the understanding of the ancient medical sages would probably be lost forever.

While he did arrive up with some ideas on his admit, his writings mainly save for us the ideas of Hippocrates and Galen, still also the surgical wisdom of Paul of Aegineta, who was perhaps one of the greatest surgeons of the primitive world. Of course he also preserved in spite of us many of the ideas of other not modern. medical sages as well, such for the re~on that Areteaus. (7, page 194) (8, serving-boy 68)

The Canon was translated into Latin in 1492 and would turn to the medical encyclopedia, or medical Bible, by reason of Europe during the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. (6, 1)  

During these periods, the Canon was used at the several universities throughout Europe to teach the sagacity of the medical sages, and it just eclipsed the writings of the other Arabic physicians of his series, including Rhazes, Haly Abbas, and Avenzoar.  (8, page 67) (7, page 194)

Fourgeaud related that:

The physicians of the mean ages accepted its teachings with the identical faith with which they were usual to submit to the laws of the meeting-house… medical men were taught that Avicenna was “the Prince of Physicians” — that he was unfailing, that his works contained all the learning of the ancients and of the Arabians — and they believed it; and were satisfied in following his precepts. (7, boy-servant 195) His words were revered in a great quantity the same way as those of Galen were.  John Brock reported that the Canon, “once translated into Latin, at the very time overshadowed the authority Galen himself despite some four centuries.” (9, page xx)


Drake, Miriam, “Encycopedia of Library and Information Science,” 2nd ed., 2003, New york, page 1840

Michael, J. Edwin, ed., Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of the State of Maryland, “Maryland Medical Journal,” May 1891-Oct. 1891, Baltimore, vol. XXV, serving-boy 349

Jackson, Mark, “On Asthma: The Biography,” 2009, New York, pages 30-31

Stolkind, E, “The History of Bronchial Asthma and Allergy,” Proceedings of the Royal fellowship of Medicine, “1933, Vol 26, office 2, Great Britain, pages 1121-2

Aegineta, Paulus, translated through Adams, Francis, “The Medical Works of Paulus Aegineta, The Greek Physician, 1834, vo 1, boy-servant 408

“Avecenna: Prince of Physicians and Giant in Pharmacology,” http://www.afghan-reticulated.net/Culture/avicenna.html

Fourgeaud, V.J, “Medicine Among the Arabs,” (Historical Sketches), Pacific of the healing art and surgical journal, Vol. VII, ed. V.J. Fourgeaud and J.F. Morse, 1864, San Fransisco, Thompson & Company,  pages 193-203

Bradford, Thomas Lindsley, scrivener, Robert Ray Roth, editor, “Quiz questions ~ward the history of medicine from the lectures of Thomas Lindley Bradford M.D.,” 1898, Philadelphia, Hohn Joseph McVey

Brock, John, “Galen forward the natural faculties,” 1916, London, New York, William Heinemann, G.P. Putnam’s Sons

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