Translated from the Arabic by Franz Rosenthal, MD. Price, $18.50. Pp 603. Pantheon Books, Inc., 22 E 51st St, New York 10022, 1958.
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The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History, written by Ibn Kahldun in 1377, contains interesting comments about the physicians and medicine of his time—when the medieval Islamic Empire was on the verge of crumbling at its last outpost, Granada.
Franz Rosenthal has completed the first translation of the Muqaddimah from the Arabic into English. Toynbee has called this work "undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that has ever been created by any mind in any time or place." Although the book is primarily a political history, it makes clear that large libraries were maintained by most important Muslim rulers, and learned scholars translated classics of Latin, Greek, Jewish, and Indian literature and medicine into Arabic.
An Arabic physician obtained a basic education in the "intellectual sciences," apparently the equivalent of the Medieval Italian "philosophy" and of our present liberal arts courses. The Arabic "sciences" were described as logic, geometry, arithmetic,
Raddin JB. The Muqaddimah.. Arch Intern Med. 1964;113(3):481-482. doi:10.1001/archinte.1964.00280090167048