The World's Earliest History of Medicine

Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 18:00 to 19:00

In the mid-thirteenth century Ibn Abi Usaybiʿah (d. 1270), a practising physician in Syria, produced the earliest comprehensive history of medicine from any land.

His book "The Best Accounts of the Classes of Physicians," written in Arabic, covers 1700 years of medical practice, from the mythological beginnings of medicine with Asclepius through Greece, Rome, and India, down to the author's day. It is the earliest comprehensive history of medicine (from any land), incorporating accounts of over 442 physicians – their training, practice, and medical compositions – all interlaced with amusing poetry and anecdotes illustrating their life and character.

Professor Emilie Savage-Smith (University of Oxford) will talk about the major project she is leading to edit and translate the entire treatise and make it available to everyone.

Please book your free ticket through the Museum’s Eventbrite page at

Museum of the History of Science, Broad Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3AZ