Farid Alakbarli. Medical Manuscripts of Azerbaijan.
Baku, HAF, 2006, 220 P.
Internet version of the book.
C O N T E N T S
CHAPTER 1. MEDIEVAL MEDICAL MANUSCRIPTS OF AZERBAIJAN
§ 1. MEMORY OF THE WORLD PROGRAM OF UNESCO
§ 2. BAKU'S INSTITUTE OF MANUSCRIPTS
§ 3. HISTORY OF AZERBAIJANI MANUSCRIPTS
§ 4. UNIQUE MEDICAL MANUSCRIPTS
§ 5. LIST OF PRINCIPAL MEDICAL TEXT
CHAPTER 2. HISTORY OF MEDICINE IN AZERBAIJAN
§ 1. HISTORICAL SURWAY (4TH MILLENNIUM BC - 1940 AD)
§ 2. FAMOUS PHYSICIANS OF MEDIEVAL AND POST-MEDIEVAL
AZERBAIJAN (10th - 19th AD)
CHAPTER 3. PREVENTION OF DISEASES AND HEALTHY WAY OF LIFE
§ 1. HEATH PROTECTION IN ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL AZERBAIJAN
§ 2. SIX MAIN CONDITIONS OF HEALTH PROTECTION
§ 3. PROTECTION OF ENVIRONMENT
§ 4. RATIONAL CONSTRUCTION OF HOUSES
§ 5. PHYSICAL TRAINING
§ 6. THE REGIME OF LABOR AND REST
§ 7. REGULATION OF EMOTIONS
§ 8. REGULAR PURIFICATION OF ORGANISM
§ 9. ADAPTATION OF CLOTHES
§ 10. TREATMENT BY ENERGY OF COLOR
§ 11. HEALTHY NUTRITION
§ 12. NUTRITION FOR LONGEVITY
§ 13. MEDICAL WINES
§ 14. NUTRITION AND ETIQUETTE
CHAPTER 4. FOLK MEDICINE OF MEDIEVAL AZERBAIJAN
§ 1. PROFESSIONAL AND FOLK MEDICINE
§ 2. HERBS IN FOLK MEDICINE
§ 3. FOLK SURGERY
§4. CHILDAGH - FOLK REFLEXOTHERAPY
§ 5. FOLK MEDICINE AND MAGIC
CHAPTER 5. PROFESSIONAL MEDICINE IN MEDIEVAL AZERBAIJAN
§ 1. MEDICAL THEORY
§ 2. COMPLEX TREATMENT
§ 3. TREATMENT METHODS
§ 4. SURGICAL TREATMENT
§ 5. WHAT IS AROMATHERAPY?
§ 6. ANCIENT BELIEFS
§ 7. ESSENTIAL OILS
§ 8. LUXURY TREATMENTS
§ 9. AROMATIC HERBAL BATHS
§ 10. HISTORY OF AROMATIC BATHS
§ 11. BATHHOUSES
§ 12. THE FRAGRANT BATH
§ 13. THE POWER OF SMELL
§ 14. MUSIC THERAPY
§ 15. HEALING PROPERTIES OF AZERBAIJANI INSTRUMENTS
§ 16. MAGIC IN MEDICAL MANUSCRIPTS
CHAPTER 6. MEDIEVAL PHARMACOLOGY
§ 1. INTRODUCTION
§ 2. STUDIED MANUSCRIPTS
§ 3. RESEARCH METHODS
§ 4. SYSTEMATICAL ANALYSES OF THE IDENTIFIED SPECIES
§ 5. DESCRIPTION OF PLANT SPECIES IN MEDIEVAL SOURCES
§ 6. THERAPEUTIC APPLICATION OF HERBS
§ 7. SOME “FORGOTTEN" BOTANICALS OF THE MIDDLE AGES
§ 8. ANIMALS USED IN TRADITIONAL MEDICINE OF MEDIEVAL
§ 9. MEDICINES OF MINERAL ORIGIN
§ 10. MEDICINES WITH COMPLEX COMPOSITION
§ 1. MEMORY OF THE WORLD PROGRAM OF UNESCO
The Memory of the World Program is carried out by UNESCO to discover and protect the most important, rare and unique written documents which are crucial and irreplaceable not only for separate regions, states or nations, but for the humankind in the whole. Now several medieval manuscripts from Azerbaijan have been added to this list.
The Institute of Manuscripts of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences has a collection of 390 early medical documents, which include 363 manuscripts dating from the 9th century. Most are written in Arabic - the literary script of the day. Of these, 70 are in the Arabic language, 71 in Turkic languages (Azeri, Ottoman Turkish, Tatar, Kumyk, Uzbek), and the remainder in Persian.
The present collection of medical manuscripts is unique. Some of these manuscripts are available only in this collection. Only a few manuscripts of other books have been recorded in the manuscript depositories of the World.
However, all of these books are fundamental works and once were widely used all over the Muslim World. With time many manuscripts were lost. Therefore, the present collection is unique and irreplaceable. It is kept by the Institute of Manuscript of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (IMANAS) named after Muhammad Fuzuli.
The Manuscript Institute is fortunate to have some unique treasures in their collection. For example, we have one of the oldest copies of "Canon of Medicine" (1030) by Ibn Sina, who was known in the West as Avicenna (980-1037). The manuscript was copied in 1143 about a hundred years after the physician's death. Avicenna, born in Bukhara (Uzbekistan), went on to do much of his medical observation in Azerbaijan and Iran. "Canon", an encyclopedic work in Arabic, is considered to be the single, most famous book in medical history - both in the East and in the West.
In 29 July 2005, UNESCO officially included three medieval medical manuscripts from the Institute of Manuscripts of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences into the register of the Memory of the World Program, which includes the most unique and irreplaceable written monuments of the humankind. The Certificate confirming this decision was presented to the Institute of Manuscripts by Dr. K. Matsuura, the head of UNESCO. These manuscripts are listed below.
CANON BY IBN SINA
The Manuscript Institute is fortunate to have some real treasures in their collection. For example, it preserves one of the oldest copies of the second volume of “Canon of Medicine” (1030) by Ibn Sina, known in the West as Avicenna (980-1037). The manuscript was copied in 537 Hijra (1143) in Baghdad.
The second book is primarily devoted to pharmacology. It contains pharmaceutical descriptions of hundreds of natural medicines: plants, minerals and animal substances. The uniqueness of the manuscript is in that it is one of the most ancient manuscripts of “Canon” in the world which was copied only 104 years after the author's death. Avicenna's manuscript is considered to be the most reliable in the world. The second volume of “Canon of Medicine” was translated into Uzbek and Russian basically from the abovementioned Baku manuscript (Tashkent, 1980-1982).
Avicenna, born in the town of Afshana nearby Bukhara (Uzbekistan), did much of his medical observation later on in Persia and Azerbaijan. "Canon," an encyclopedic work in Arabic, is considered to be the single, most famous book in medical history - both in the East and in the West.
During the Middle Ages, the “Canon of Medicine” influenced the development of medical sciences in the whole Muslim World and Christian Europe. In the 12th century, the Canon was translated from Arabic to Latin by Gerard of Cremona (1140-1187) and used as a medical textbook in European universities. The book was held in such reverence that Michelangelo was recorded as saying: "It is better to be mistaken following Avicenna than to be true following others." 
The manuscript is written on the thick white paper. The text is black, titles are written in red ink. Format: 18x20 cm, number of leaves: 186, code: M136/17026
"ZAKHIRAI-NIZAMSHAHI" BY RUSTAM JURJANI
This book was written in the 13th century and imitates the famous medical book by Zeynaddin Jurjani. Rustam Jurjani's manuscript is unique, because it is the only manuscript of this book in the world.
“Zakhirai-Nizamshahi” by Rustam Jurjani is the original work resembling “Zakhirai Kharazmshahi” by Zeynaddin Ibn Abu Ibrahim Jurjani (12th century), the famous Central Asian author. The manuscript is unique and is not found in other manuscripts deposits in the world. In any case, its name is not shown in any known catalogues of the world.
The date of compilation is not known, but the manuscript was copied in the 16th century (954 by Hijra). The book provides descriptions of pharmaceutical properties of medicinal herbs, animal substances, minerals and complex medicines. It influenced the development of medicine and pharmacology in Persian-speaking countries and those areas where Persian was in use. It was partially researched in Azerbaijan. The work is preserved as a manuscript and still is not translated and published.
The manuscript was written in the nasta'lik script on white paper in black ink. The titles are written in red ink. The binding is of black leather. The first page is decorated with an ornament. The format: 16x25 cm, number of leaves - 487, code M220/5305.
AL-MAQALATUN SALASUN (THIRTIETH TREATISE) BY ABULKASIM ZAKHRAVI
One of the tomes of a comprehensive book about “Surgery and Surgical Instruments” written in Arabic. This unique manuscript is one of the rarest and most ancient manuscripts of this book in the World. The book contains pictures of approximately 200 medieval surgical instruments. Zahravi (who died in 1013) is the only medieval author who provides pictures of so many surgical instruments, and explains methods of their application. This work influenced the development of surgery in the Muslim East and Europe.
Abulkasim was born in Andalusia (Spain) when this country was under the Arab rule. During many centuries Zakhravi's book was the most authoritative textbook on surgery both in East and West. In medieval Europe Abu al-Qasim was known as Abulcasis or Albucasis (the Latinized form of "Abulkasim") 
Al-Zahrawi is believed to have been born in the city of al- Zahra, six miles northwest of Cordoba, sometime between 936 and 940. It was here that he lived, studied, taught and practiced medicine and surgery until shortly before his death in about 1013, two years after the sacking of al-Zahra.
Because al-Zahra was pillaged and destroyed, little is known about its illustrious son El Zahrawi. He was first mentioned by the Andalusian scholar Abu Muhammad bin Hazm (993-1064), who listed him among the great physician- surgeons of Moorish Spain. The first known biography of al-Zahrawi, however, appeared in al-Humaydi's Jadhwat al-Muqtabis (On Andalusian Savants), completed six decades after al- Zahrawi's death. It is clear from al-Zahrawi's life history and from his writings that he devoted his entire life and genius to the advancement of medicine as a whole and surgery in particular. Al-Zahrawi wrote a medical encyclopedia spanning 30 volumes which included sections on surgery, medicine, orthopedics, ophthalmology, pharmacology, nutrition etc. This book was known as al-Tasrif and contained data that al-Zahrawi had accumulated during a career that spanned almost 50 years of training, teaching and practice. He apparently traveled very little but had wide experience in treating accident victims and war casualties .
The most importance treatise is the one on surgery. This monumental work was the first in Arabic to treat surgery independently and in detail. It included many pictures of surgical instruments, most invented by al-Zahrawi himself, and explanations of their use. Al-Zahrawi was the first medical author to provide illustrations of instruments used in surgery. There are approximately 200 such drawings ranging from a tongue depressor and a tooth extractor to a catheter and an elaborate obstetric device.
The facsimile of the Baku manuscript and its translation into Russian by Professor Ziya Bunyadov was published in Moscow in 1983.
§ 2. BAKU'S INSTITUTE OF MANUSCRIPTS
There is a wide spread opinion that scientific and cultural progress of the mankind is associated with intellectual achievements of last centuries. However, medieval manuscripts prove that science has very ancient roots.
Since antiquity, there were large libraries in Azerbaijan. For example, the library of the Maraga observatory (13th century) possessed 400,000 books - it is a great number even for our time.
Most of these books were lost during centuries, but certain part reached our times and is treasured in the Institute of Manuscripts (Baku). The Institute of Manuscripts of the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences is a center for collecting, systematizing, storing and publishing medieval manuscripts. It currently includes about 12 000 medieval handwritten books in languages that include Azeri, Turkish, Uzbek, Persian, Arabic, Georgian, Russian, Hebrew, Armenian and Aramaic. These texts help us understand what scholars from the Middle Ages thought about medicine, astronomy, mathematics, poetry, philosophy, law, history and geography .
The basis for the Institute was laid in 1924, when the first all- Azerbaijan Regional Congress was held in Baku. The Congress decided to organize a scientific library with a special department dedicated to ancient manuscripts and rare books. At first, this library was part of the Investigation Society of Azerbaijan; then it became attached to the Nizami Institute of Literature. In 1950 the Manuscript Department of the Institute of Literature became the Manuscript Fund, the independent center of scientific research. In 1986, its name was changed to the Institute of Manuscripts.
Many of the ancient manuscripts found at the Institute came from the private collections of Azerbaijan's most prominent 19th- and early 20th-century thinkers, including Abbasgulu Agha Bakikhanov, Mirza Fatali Akhundzade, Abdulgani Afandi Khalisagarizade, Husein Afandi Gaibov, Bahman Mirza Qajar and Mir Mohsun Navvab. It continues to collect manuscripts, rare books and historical documents from all over Azerbaijan.
The Institute is located in the former Muslim Female Boarding School, which was built by Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev between 1898 and 1901. This was the first secular girl's school in the Muslim East. In 1918, when the Russian Empire collapsed and Azerbaijan became independent, Taghiyev gave the building to the government of Azerbaijan to be used for ministers' offices. In 1920, the Soviet Power was established in Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic was declared. In the Soviet period, this building housed the High School named after Huseyn Javid, the famous Azeri playwright. Then, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic (the governing body of Parliament) was located there. Since 1978, the building has housed what is now called the Institute of Manuscripts of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences.
§ 3. HISTORY OF AZERBAIJANI MANUSCRIPTS
Few countries have gone through as many alphabet changes as Azerbaijan. In the 20th century alone, it has officially used four different scripts. Prior to that time, especially before the Arabic script was introduced in the 7th century, various other alphabets were used. Many examples of these scripts - especially those beginning with medieval times - are on display at the Institute of Manuscripts in Baku. Visiting Baku's Institute of Manuscripts and seeing their exhibits of manuscripts in various alphabets is like taking a walk back through time. Despite the fact that the Arabic script was in use between the 7th century and 1929, few young people in the Azerbaijan Republic can read it these days, even though their grandparents grew up learning it at school. Note that in Iran, where an estimated 25 to 30 million Azerbaijanis live, the Arabic script is the official state alphabet.
One of the earliest alphabets in the region was a cuneiform script, made up of wedge-shaped characters, which were created by pressing a stylus into clay. According to ancient Assyrian and Greek sources, this script was used in Southern Azerbaijan (Kingdom of Mannai) during the 9th century BC. Nowadays, this region is in contemporary Iran. Next came an ancient Aramaic script that was used by the Medes that lived there between the 6th and 1st centuries BC.
The so-called "Avestian" and "Pahlavi" alphabets were widespread in Southern Azerbaijan, Iran and Central Asia during the first centuries AD (before Islam came to the region). The Avesta, the holy book of the Zoroastrians (the ancient religion of Azerbaijan and Iran), was written with the Avestian script. Pahlavis (Parthians) were the ancient tribes from Afghanistan and Central Asia that conquered Iran and Azerbaijan in the 3rd century B.C.
Beginning in the 4th century AD, natives of Northern Azerbaijan (Caucasian Albania) began using an Albanian script. While there are no extant manuscripts in our Institute from this time period, there are some monumental Albanian stone carvings on exhibit at the Museum of History of Azerbaijan (Taghiyev Museum) nearby. An Albanian manuscript was discovered not long ago in the Orthodox Monastery in Egypt by Prof. Zaza Alexidze.
The nomadic Turkic tribes that inhabited Azerbaijan between the 4th and 8th centuries AD used a runic script, another version of which is also indigenous to some of the Germanic peoples of Northern Europe, Britain, Scandinavia and Iceland. Examples of this type of writing can be found carved on the Garga Dashi rocks near the Nuvadi settlement.
Azerbaijanis resided in this district of Megri (Mehri) in contemporary Armenia before they were ousted about ten years ago. However most of carvings in the runic script have been found in Siberia and Mongolia (Orkhon-Yenisey inscriptions). This alphabet has been carefully studied and documented
After the Arabs conquered the region and brought Islam in the 7th century AD, the Arabic alphabet became the standard script. The Institute has 11 000 samples of early Arabic script texts, dating as far back as the 9th century. The ones I've studied the most are the 70 handwritten Turkic texts devoted to medicine, including Tibbname (Book of Medicine), written by Muhammed Yusif Shirvani in Azeri in 1712.
Other Arabic-script works are poetry by such famous Turkic Azeri writers such as Muhammad Fuzuli, Imadaddin Nasimi, Jahanshah Hagigi, Shah Ismail Khatai and Molla Panah Vagif, etc. There are also books in the fields of astronomy, astrology (Turk Illeri) and history (including several books on the history of Karabagh, called Garabaghname).
As might be expected, it soon became clear that the Arabic alphabet was not a perfect fit for the Azeri Turkic language. For instance, medieval Azerbaijani writers found that they had to add a new letter to the Arabic alphabet to represent a nasal consonant sound found in medieval Azeri and other Turkic languages. The consonant sounded similar to the "ng" in the English word "ring". For example, the Azeri word for sea, "Daniz", was pronounced "Dangiz". "Alini yu!" (Wash your hands!) was pronounced "Alingi yu!" There was no letter for this "ng" sound in the Arabic alphabet, since it wasn't indigenous to either the Persian or Arabic language.
The new letter became known as "saghir-nun" (little nun, "nun" being the original Arabic letter representing the "n" sound). Strangely, this sound was represented by adding three dots above the letter "kaf" - "k", not above "nun".
You won't find the "saghir-nun" in manuscripts beyond the Turkic regions. Evidence is only found in Azerbaijan, Turkey and Central Asia. Poems by Nasimi (14th century) and Fuzuli (16th century) both use this letter. Even though this sound gradually disappeared from literary Azeri, the letter remained in the script up until the beginning of the 20th century. For example, you can find it in Sabir's satire, Hop Hop Name (1922).
Therefore, there were three forms of the Arabic script spread throughout the region of Azerbaijan - Arabic, Persian and Turkic. Along with "saghir-nun", the Azeri variant of Arabic included letters that had been invented by medieval Persians. These included the letters called "gafe-farse", "Zhe" (the French “j”, in the word “Jean”), "pe" and "chim". As a result the pure Arabic script contained 28 letters, Persian had 32, and Azerbaijani Turkic had 33 (all the Persian letters plus "saghir-nun").
All medieval Azeri texts were written in the slightly Arabic script modified for Persian. Of course, it was insufficient and nadequate and didn't meet the requirements of the Azerbaijani language. For example, some sounds had duplicate letters (2 letters represent "t", 3 for "s" and 4 for "z").
And none of the short vowel sounds were represented at all (a, i, o, u). Mirza Fatali Akhundov (1812-1878) was one of the first Azerbaijanis to initiate any serious thought on reforming the Arabic script for Azeri. Other outstanding voices in the movement of reform were Mahammadagha Shahtakhtinski, who proposed various reforms between 1879 and 1902. Due to technical difficulties, none of these alphabets was implemented. In 1903, Shahtakhtinski founded the newspaper "Shargi Rus" (Russian East) primarily to discuss alphabet reform. In 1880, Chernyayevsky wrote a book about Arabic reform. That same year, Mirza Rida Khan Danish published a project introducing a Latin script called "Alphabet Rushdia."
Between 1832 and 1920, at least 140 magazines and newspapers were published in Azeri using the Arabic script. It was an amazing number of publications for that period and illustrates how highly the written word was esteemed. Most of these newspapers and magazines are viewed as treasures at the Institute of Manuscripts and various other archives in Baku. They include the following: Azerbaijan (1918-1920), Achig Soz (1917-1918), Babayi-Amir (1915-1916), Bayraghi-Adalat (1917), Basirat (1915-1916), Baki Fahla Konfransinin Akhbari (1919), Bahlul (1907), Burkhani- Hagigat (1917), Dabistan, Valideyna Makhsus Varaga (1906), Gardash Komayi (1917), Fuyuzat, Gurtulush (1915-1920), Dan Yildizi, Dabistan (1907), Dilimizin islahi, Dirilik (1914, 1915), El Hayati (1918), Zanbur (1910-1919), Mazali, Ziya (1880-1883), Igbal (1913-1914), Irshad (1904), Yeni Fuyuzat (1910-1911), Yeni Irshad (1912), Yeni Igbal (1916) and Molla Nasraddin (almost the entire collection during its 25-year duration, 1906-1931).
Also, some magazines were published in Azeri in Tbilisi (Georgia), such as Ziya and Akinchi. Burkhane-Hagigat was published in Erivan (present-day Yerevan, Armenia). The Azerbaijani magazines and newspapers that were published in the Arabic script (1920-1929) during the early Soviet Period were primarily devoted to various political and social problems related to work, culture, art and education. Written from a Soviet (Marxist-Leninist) ideological perspective, they were full of caustic criticism against Islam and the Arabic script. The State obviously wanted to set the stage for ridding the country of Arabic and introducing a new script - Latin.
There are scores of Soviet-period editions written in Arabic archived in our Institute. They include Azerbaijan Hamkarlar Harakati (1926), Azarbaycan Ali Igtisad Shurasinin Akhbari (1922), Baki Shurasi Khabarlari (1928), Beshillik (1926), Bolshevik (1927), Gizil Baki (1925), Gizil Galam (1924), Gizil Yardim (1926), Gizil Ganja (1924), Gizil Talaba (1924) and Gizil Sharg (1923).
We have quite a number of manuscripts and books in Azeri that were published in Southern Azerbaijan (now Iran) and written in the Arabic script. Among them are newspapers and magazines published in Tabriz during the national movement of the 1940s during the Soviet occupation and the government of Pishavari, as well as later. These include: Azerbaijan (published by the Azerbaijan Democratic Party) (1941, 1954-1955); Azad Millat (Independent Nation) (1946) and Vatan Yolunda (In the Name of Motherland) (1942). When Azerbaijan decided to switch to a Latin alphabet during the early Soviet period (1929-1939), many of the Arabic publications changed to the new script. The ones that continued to publish in Arabic were used by the Soviet government to issue propaganda bitterly criticizing Islam and the Arabic script. From the late 1920s onwards, there was a widespread campaign to destroy all Arabic texts, whether they related to religion, science, medicine or literature.
A number of the periodicals published in the early Latin script are kept at our Institute. They include: Gizil Araz (1938), Gizil Shafag (1930), Adabiyyat Gazeti (1936), Adabiyyat Jabhasinda (1930), Zagafgaziya Bolsheviki (1931), Zarba (1932) and Ingilab ve Madaniyyat (1928-1933). These documents often emphasized that the transition to the Latin alphabet played a valuable role in the struggle against illiteracy in Azerbaijan. The transition to Cyrillic began in 1939, when the Stalinist repression was at its height. After gaining independence in 1992, the Azeri Latin Script was reintroduced in Azerbaijan.
§ 4. UNIQUE MEDICAL MANUSCRIPTS
In order to find out the total number of manuscripts on medicine and pharmacy the funds and catalogs of the Institute have been examined by the author of the present work. It has been revealed that the Institute's collection includes 363 medieval manuscripts and 27 old printed books on medicine and pharmacognosy written in the following languages: Persian - 222 manuscripts, Turkic (Old Azeri and Old Turkish) - 71 manuscripts, and Arabic - 70 manuscripts.
All studied sources can be divided into several categories:
1. Fundamental medical encyclopedias or pharmacopoeias which throw light to all questions of theoretical and practical medicine or pharmacognosy.
2. Small medical encyclopedias and short reference-books on pharmacognosy.
3. Different treatises devoted to the separate scientific questions.
4. Anonymous notebooks and separate pages containing some recipes or quotations from different, often unknown, sources.
Among sources which belong to the first category we should mark such fundamental works as: "al-Kanun fi at-Tibb" by Abu Ali Ibn Sina (980-1037 AD), " Kitab al-Hawi" by Abu Bakr ibn Zakariya ar-Razi (865-925 AD), "Jam' al-Bagdadi" by Yusif bin Ismail Khoyi (d.1311 AD), "Jam' al-adwiyya" by Ibn al-Beithar al-Andalusi (13th century), "Tuhfat al-mu'minin" by Sayyid Muhammad Mu'min (d.1697 AD) "Mahzan aladwiyya" by Muhammad Huseyn Khan Samarkandi (18thcentury), etc.
Books which belong to the second category are very valuable for studying the problem as well. Among them there are such books as: "Kitab al-Hafi fi Ilm al-Madawi" by Mahmud bin Ilyas at-Tabrizi al-Shirazi (13th century), "Kifayyat al- Mujahida" (1523 AD) by Mansur bin Muhammad, "Jam' al- Fawa'id" (1511 AD) by Yusif bin Muhammad al-Harawi, "Dastur al-Alaj" by Sultan Ali Khorasani (16th century), "Siraj at-Tibb" by Hasan bin Riza Shirvani (17th century), "Fawa'id al-Hikmat" by Haji Suleyman Kajar Iravani (17th century), "Tibbnama" (1711 AD) by Muhammad Yusif Shirvani, "Manafe' an-Nas" by Muhammad Attar Salyani (18thcentury).
Considerable facts about some points of medieval health protection concept may be found also in works that belong to the third category (so-called treatises). As mentioned above, they deal with individual scientific issues and therefore are not universal medical books (encyclopedias). These books throw light on individul branches of the medicine including the pediatric, anatomy, surgery, ophthalmology, gynecology, psychology, dietology, etc. Among them, there are following sources: "Kitab al-Jarrahi" by Abu al-Qasim az-Zahrawi (13th century), "Hirga" by Murtaza Gulu Shamlu (17th century),"Kitab-i Ruju' ash-Sheykh dar Tagviyyat-i Bah" by Sheykh Ajal ash-Sharif (17th century), "Zad al-Musafirin" (written in 1729 AD) by Muhammad Mahdi bin Ali Nagi, "Mualijat-i Munfarida" (written in 1775/6 AD) by Abu al- Hasan Maragi, etc.
As to the writings belonging to the third category (separate pages and anonymous notebooks dated mainly late 19th - early 20th centuries) most of them do not re p resent a significant scientific interest.
The classification of the studied books according to degrees of their popularity also has been carried out in this study. It has been established that the manuscripts of following books are treasured in the Institute in the greatest number:
1. "Tuhfat al-Mu'minin" (written in 1669 AD) by Sayyid Mir Muhammad Mu'min (d. 1697 AD) - 37 manuscripts.
2. "Zad al-Musafirin" (written in 1728 AD) by Muhammad bin Ali an-Nagi - 13 manuscripts.
3. "Karabadin" by Muzaffar bin Muhammad Huseyn Shafa'I (1586/7-1628/9 AD) – 9 manuscripts.
4. "Ikhtiyarat-i Badi'i" (written in 1368 AD) by Ali bin al- Huseyn al-Ansari (1329 - 1404 AD) -5 manuscripts.
All mentioned manuscripts have been collected from various regions of Azerbaijan. They have been copied in our country and belonged to Azerbaijani owners. Based on this, one may conclude that mentioned books were widely used by the medieval Azeri physicians and, therefore, these writings may be considered as the most popular medical books of the Medieval Azerbaijan. Besides, the Institute of Manuscripts has a large number of Persian manuscripts written by the European physician Shlimer Firengi (or Felemenki) for the Iranian ruler Nasiraddin-shah Kajar. These books were written in the second half of the 19th century and expound the ideas of the Western medical science. As contents of these books have nothing to do with the concepts of the traditional Azerbaijan medicine, they have not been included in the list of the most popular Azerbaijan sources.
Important medical manuscript found at the Institute is "Souls of Bodies" (Arvah al-Ajsad) by Shamsaddin ibn Kamaladdin Kashani. This medical encyclopedia was copied at the end of the 17th century on high-quality European paper with filigree. In his volume, Kashani gives an exhaustive explanation of all kinds of medicine and diseases, from the simplest to the most complex.
Before writing the book, Kashani carefully studied the works of his predecessors, including ancient and medieval physicians like Hippocrates, Galen, Zakaria Razi, Ismayil Gurgani and Ibn Baitar. His encyclopedic work is of great importance because it is not registered in any known and published catalogues or reference books in the world manuscript depositories.
The Institute houses the 17th century manuscript of “Kifayati-Mansuri” (“Sufficient from Mansur”) written by Mansur ibn Muhammad ibn Yusif in 1423. The manuscript contains anatomic images of the human body.
Some of the most fundamental Azerbaijani works in the Institute's medical collection include: Mahmud Ibn Ilyas' 14th century work, entitled "Comprehensive Book On Medicine” ("Kitab al-Havi fi Elm al- Madavi”), is a comprehensive, 1200-page book describing fundamental ideas about medicine, symptoms and causes of specific diseases, and treatments. Ilyas gained his experience while living in Tabriz and Shiraz, and traveling to many different Eastern countries.
Azerbaijani scholar Yusif ibn Ismayil Khoyi (also known as Ibn Kabir) worked as a doctor in the palaces of the Arabian caliphs in Baghdad. He is known for his comprehensive pharmacology written in Arabic in 1311. Several thousand medicinal herbs are identified in "The Necessary Things For a Doctor So As Not To Increase His Ignorance" ("Ma la Yasa al-Tabib Jahlahu"), often referred to by its shortened title "Baghdad Collection" ("Jami al-Bagdadi").
Mir Muhammad Mumin (died in 1697), a palace physician for Suleyman Safavi, wrote many informative works in Persian including "Tuhfat al-Muminin" (1669). This encyclopedic work includes the names of more than 4,000 herbs, animals, minerals and other ingredients used in medicine. Mumin describes the name of each herb, its specific features, where it can be collected, other regions where it is available, and its names in other languages, such as in Chinese or Hindi dialects. The Institution owns 33 complete manuscripts and 4 fragmentary copies of this work.
Anonymous "Tibbname" ("Book of Medicine") was written in Azeri in 17th century. We have a manuscript which was copied by Muhammed Yusif Shirvani's - a palace physician for the governors of Shirvan in 1711/2. “Tibbname” recommends using natural materials to treat symptoms, such as rubbing a piece of lemon peel against your neck when tired. “Tibbname” also describes more complicated drugs, as well as uses for "non-indigenous" plants in the region such as potatoes and sunflowers.
In the 13th century, Nasiraddin Tusi wrote an extremely enlightening book entitled "Mineral Cures" ("Tansukh Name") which identifies the symptoms of a disease and possible treatments via minerals. These are identified by color, as well as region .
The list of the principal medical manuscripts from the Baku collection is given below. Azerbaijani scientists investigate and translate medieval medical manuscripts from the Baku collection. Many scientific works on the history of medicine in Azerbaijan appeared in 1950s and 1960s. Distinguished specialists in this field were Prof. I.K.Efendiyev, Prof. M.Efendiyev, Dr.Asaf Rustamov, Prof. Javad Tagdisi, Prof. Mammad Sadig Abdullayev, Prof. Yusif Kerimov, Dr. Nasib Geyushov, Prof. Mahbuba Veliyeva, Dr. Sugra Rustamova, etc.
In 1983, Prof. Ziya Bunyadov translated one of volumes of the work by the 13th century Andalusian Arabian author Abul-Qasim Zahrawi “About Suirgery and Instruments” from Arabic into Russian. In 1990, Farid Alakbarli translated the book by Muhammad Yusif Shirvani “Tibbname” (“The Book of Medicine”, 1711/2 AD) from Old Azeri into modern Azeri and Russian.
Starting from 1986, important investigations in the medieval Azerbaijani pharmacy and medicine are lead in the Institute of Manuscripts in Baku where 366 old medical manuscripts are kept. As a result, 724 species of medicinal plants, 150 species of animals and 111 species of minerals used in the medicine of medieval Azerbaijan have been identified and studied. Azerbaijan Association of Medical Historians (AAMH), which was founded in 2004, actively participates in this work. In February 2005, The First National Conference of AAMH was hold in Baku.
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© Farid Alakbarli, 2006. // "Elm" History & Heritage Website // Each quotation should be provided with full reference to the author.
© Farid Alakbarli, 2006. // "Elm" History & Heritage Website // Each quotation should be provided with full reference to the author.