Article ID: CBB503925299

Galen’s Simples in Syriac (2020)


This article discusses the direct and indirect evidence for the transmission of Galen’s Simples in Syriac. It is suggested that it is likely that Sergius translated all eleven books, and that he did so as part of a translation project that by far exceeded the Alexandrian Galenic syllabus. Sergius probably did not distinguish between books 1-5 and 6-11 in the same way that unayn did, but instead considered all eleven books to be a coherent whole that moved from generalities to specifics. It is further suggested that the transmission of Galen’s Simples in two parts was something specific to the demands of the market in ninth-century Baghdad. The prestige of Sergius’s translation continued even into and beyond the period of Ḥunayn, suggesting that unayn’s influence was more limited than is often supposed, possibly due to sectarian reasons, especially Ḥunayn’s Nestorianism. In this context, the significance of the British Library manuscript only containing books 6-8 is reconsidered, as well as how the significance of Galen’s own proems may have changed over time.

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Article Matteo Martelli; Caroline Petit; Lucia Raggetti (2020) Introduction. New Perspectives on Galen’s Treatise On Simple Drugs and the History of Pharmacology. Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences (pp. 6-15). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Pormann, Peter E.
Cooper, Glen M.
Asúa, Miguel de
Burnett, Charles
Vazquez Bujan, Manuel Enrique
Garofalo, Ivan
Arabic Sciences and Philosophy
Galenos: Rivista di Filologia dei Testi Medici Antichi
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
Intellectual History of the Islamicate World
Dynamis: Acta Hispanica ad Medicinae Scientiarumque Historiam Illustrandam
Journal of World History
Royal College of Physicians of London
Walter de Gruyter
Brigham Young University Press
Transmission of texts
Arab/Islamic world, civilization and culture
Transmission of ideas
Hunain Ibn Ishaq, Abu Zaid, Al-'Ibadi
al-`Ibadi, Hunayn ibn Ishaq
Hippocrates of Cos
Hunain ibn Ishāq
John XXI, Pope
Time Periods
9th century
17th century
16th century
13th century
12th century
Baghdad (Iraq)
Scuola medica salernitana
Royal College of Physicians of London
Université de Montpellier

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