Medical science from the Golden Age of Islam, published in Latin in the 16th century

Ali ibn al-Abbas al-Majusi, Ala al-Din (Haly Abbas). Liber totius medicine necessaria.

Lyon, Jacques Myt, 1523.

8vo (150 x 205 mm). (8), 5-319 ff. Printed in two-column blackletter, title-page in red and black. With woodcut capitals and elaborate woodcut title-page. Modern full calf with inset original or roughly contemporary calf on each cover, titled in gilt on spine. Marbled flyleaves; endpapers retouched and mottled.


First edition under this title of this immensely influential work by 'Ali ibn al-'Abbas al-Majusi (d. ca. 990), physician of the Muslim Golden Age, known in Europe by his Latinized name, Haly Abbas. Titled "Kamil al-sina'a al-tibbiya" or "Kitab al-Maliki" in Arabic, Al-Majusi's treatise was first published (in Latin translation) in Venice in 1492 under the title "Liber regalis". The book's twenty chapters on the theory and practice of medicine (ten dedicated to each) describe "how [al-Majusi] has studied and used indigenous medicinal plants, as well as animal and mineral products, as therapeutics", and even provides its 16th century reader with what has been called an "interesting, surprisingly accurate, and almost modern description" (DSB) of pleurisy, an inflammation of the lining between the lungs and the chest wall.

Alongside Abu Bakr al-Razi (Rhazes), Isaac Israeli ben Solomon (Isaac Judaeus), and Ibn Sina (Avicenna), al-Majusi is a representative of the first phase of Arabic medicine which flourished during the Muslim Golden Age and which had an incalculable impact on European and modern Western medicine. In Europe, the textbook was first partially translated into Latin around 1087 by Constantinus Africanus (d. before 1099). A more complete and accurate translation was made by Stephen of Pisa and Antioch in 1127 during the 12th Century Renaissance, which was widely distributed and remained in use long enough to even serve as the basis for the first printed editions of 1492 and 1523, nearly four hundred years later.


Flyleaves soiled, a spot of soiling and rubbing to margin of title-page; otherwise remarkably bright and clean. Well preserved.


Adams A 746. BM-STC French 11. Durling 168. Wellcome 3048. DSB IX, 41.

Art.-Nr.: BN#63033 Schlagwörter: , ,