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Medieval Islamic Medicine

Peter Pormann, Emilie Savage-Smith

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The medical tradition that developed in the lands of Islam during the medieval period (c. 650–1500) has, like few others, influenced the fates and fortunes of countless human beings. It is the story of contact and cultural exchange across countries and creeds, affecting caliphs, kings, courtiers, courtesans, and the common crowd. In addition to being fascinating in its own right, it formed the roots from which modern Western medicine arose. Contrary to the stereotypical picture, medieval Islamic medicine was not simply a conduit for Greek ideas, but was a locus for innovation and change.

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Notes on Transliteration, Dates, and General Format
List of Illustrations
1 The Emergence of Islamic Medicine
2 Medical Theory

About the Author

Peter E. Pormann is a Wellcome Trust Lecturer in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick. He studied in Paris (Sorbonne), Hamburg, Tübingen, and Leiden, and received a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in 2002. He won The Hellenic Foundation’s 2003 Award for the best doctoral thesis in the United Kingdom, in the Byzantine/Medieval History category, and is the author of The Oriental Tradition of Paul of Aegina’s ‘Pragmateia’ (2004).

Emilie Savage-Smith is Professor of the History of Islamic Science at the Oriental Institute and a senior research fellow of St. Cross College, both at the University of Oxford. Recent books include A Descriptive Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts at St John's College, Oxford (Oxford University Press, 2005), Magic and Divination in Early Islam (Ashgate, 2004), Medieval Views of the Cosmos (Bodleian Library, 2004) and Science, Tools and Magic (Oxford University Press, 1997).


'A succinct and very useful introduction to the subject, and highly reommendable for everyone interested in the history of medicine.'
- Remke Kruk, Bibliotheca Orientalis
'Without question, this volume can be considered the best and most critical introduction to the field and a guide for future research.'
- Daniel Martin Varisco, AJISS
'Anyone interested in the history of Islamic science will find this a useful book to own.'
- Daniel Martin Varisco, AJISS
An outstanding contribution to a very important field. While there has been a great deal of new research on premodern medical texts from the Islamic world, there are few surveys written for a broader public. This text will make a lasting contribution to the history of science in general, and to the study of premodern Islamic medicine in particular.
- Jonathan Brockopp, Pennsylvania State University

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