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Catalogue: Medical Poetry

Blue arrow pointing to the right Kitāb ta‘līq nazīf ‘alá mabda'ī al-manzūmah fī uūl ‘ilm al-ibb   (MS A 87, item 11)
(A Polished Commentary on the fundamental features of 'The Poem on the Principles of the Art of Medicine')
كتاب تعليق نظيف على مبدئى المنظومه فى اصول علم الطب

Neither the author of the poem being commented upon nor the commentator is known. The otherwise unknown poem on medicine is divided into several unnumbered sections (fasls). After general medical principles,the subjects turn to the treatment of ailments that are classified according to the four humors (choleric, melanchonic, etc) and according to whether they are hot and dry, or hot and moist, or cold and dry, etc.

The unknown commentator was active at the beginning of the 16th century, for it is stated at the end of the commentary that the author finished the commentary on the 29th of the month of Muharram 910 [AD 16 June 1504].

No other copies are recorded.

Physical Description

Arabic. 16 leaves (fols. 125b-140b, line 15). Dimensions 23.2 x 15.8 (text area 16.5 x 12) cm; 21 lines per page. The title is given on fol. 125b lines 2-3. No author is named. The statement that the unknown author completed the commentary on 29 Muharram 910 [16 June 1504] is given on fol. 140b, lines 11-14.

The copy is undated. The general appearance of the paper, ink, and script suggests a date of the 18th century.

The text is written is a fairly careful naskh script. The commentary is written in black ink, with the poem being commented upon written in red ink. The letter dal has a dot beneath. There are catchwords.

There are extensive marginalia.

The ivory paper is thick and stiff, with visible laid lines and single chain lines (no evident watermarks).

The volume consists of 186 leaves. It is a mixed volume with 18 different items in it, copied by at least two different copyists. Item 1 (fols. 1a-3b) is an anonymous alchemical fragment (MS A 87, item 1), item 2 (fols. 4a-54a) is the abridgement of a treatise called al-Bayān by Ibn Jazlah (MS A 87, item 2), and item 3 (fols. 54b-64b) extracts from al-Bayān [by Ibn Jazlah] (MS A 87, item 3). Item 4 (fols. 65b-68a) is an anonymous, untitled essay on stones (MS A 87, item 4), item 5 (fols. 68b-74a) an anonymous collection of therapeutic procedures (MS A 87, item 5), and item 6 (fols. 74a-75b) on regimen for infants, extracted from Kitāb al-Bayān [? Ibn Jazlah] (MS A 87, item 6). Item 7 (fols. 76a-96b) is the anonymous treatise on materia medica (MS A 87, item 7); item 8 (fols. 97a-100a) an anonymous tract on medicinal oils (MS A 87, item 8), and item 9 (fols. 100b-121a) a magical-medical treatise by Ibn Tūmart al-Maghribī (MS A 87, item 9). Item 10 (fols. 121b-125a) is an anonymous alphabetical list of medicaments (MS A 87, item 10), and item 11 (fols. 125b-140b) is the commentary on an identified "poem on the principles of the art of medicine" here catalogued. Item 12 (fols. 140b-142a) contains selections from Kitāb al-āwī fī ‘ilm al-tadāwī by Najm al-Din al-Shirazi (MS A 87, item 12), and item 13 (fols. 142b-157b, 159a-172a) is an untitled anonymous treatise in five chapters on medicine, magic, and divination (MS A 87, item 13). Item 14 (fols. 172b-174a) is an anonymous tract on divination (MS A 87, item 14), item 15 (fols. 174b-175a) untitled extracts from medical writings (MS A 87, item 15), and item 16 (fols. 175a-181b) is an anonymous astrological treatise (MS A 87, item 16). Item 17 (fols. 182a-184b) is an anonymous treatise titled Dā'ir muibb fī ‘ilm al-ibb , on magical medicine (MS A 87, item 17), while the final item, item 18 (fols. 185a-186b), is an anonymous essay on the numerical values of letters and magic squares (MS A 87, item 18).


The volume is bound in pasteboards covered with brown leather, over which light-brown paper has been placed on the covers. There is a recent brown leather spine. The paper pastedowns are contemporary with the manuscript and are covered with miscellaneous notes.


There is an owner's signature dated 1268 [= 1851-2] on fol. 3b of the volume, and there are several owners's notes on fol. 4a.

The volume was purchased in 1941 by the Army Medical Library from A.S. Yahuda, who acquired it fram a dealer in Sanaa, the Yemen (ELS 2369).


Schullian/Sommer, Cat. of incun. & MSS., pp. 326-7 entry A87 (this item not described).

NLM Microfilm Reel: FILM 48-129 no. 4

Welcome Getting started Medieval Islam Catalogue Bio-bibliographies Glossary Abbreviations Credits About the Author Concordances A 1 - A 29 A 30 - A 59 A 60 - A 89 A 90 - A 92 P 1 - P 29 Authors, Translators & Commentators Copyists & Illustrators Owners & Patrons