Avicenna, Islamic physician

Avicenna, Islamic physician

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Avicenna (980-1037), Islamic Persian physician and philosopher, at left, being received by Abu Ya'far, the governer of Isfahan, Persia, after fleeing from Hamadan sometime after 1024. Isfahan is near present-day Tehran, Iran. Avicenna is a Latinised form. His full Arabic name is Abu-Ali Al-Husain Ibn Abdullah Ibn Sina. Avicenna was an infant prodigy, able to recite the entire Koran at the age of ten, and was practising medicine before he was twenty. Basing much of his work on earlier Greek and Roman writers, he wrote medical treatises such as The Canon and The Book of Healing. His books were translated into Latin in the 12th century and were the basis of medicine in Europe until the time of the English physician William Harvey (1578-1657). Avicenna also wrote on astronomy and alchemy. Engraving from the 1883 edition of Vies des Savants Illustres.

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