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Avicenna. Engraving of the Persian physician and philosopher Avicenna (980-1037). Avicenna's Arabic name was 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 (Al Qanun) and the Book of Healing. His medical 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 books on astronomy, alchemy and other topics.
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