PAUL OF AIGINA
A famous physician of Alexandria who lived in the mid-seventh century. While he was still a student in 641, Alexandria was taken by the Arabs. He is known to the Arabs as Bulus, or Fulus, al-Ajanti or al-Qawabili (the obstetrician).
His principal work is a large medical collection in seven books entitled Memoirs that was translated into Arabic by the famous Nestorian physician and translator of Baghdad, Hunayn ibn Ishaq (d. 873) with the title al-Kunnash or Kunnash al-Thurayya (collection of the Pleiades). In the eighth century another Nestorian, Jibrl ibn Bukhtishu‘ ibn Jurjis, a physician of Baghdad, composed glosses (hawashi) to the collection, which had not yet been translated.
This work had a considerable influence on Arab medicine, particularly ophthalmology. Hunayn ibn Ishaq quotes it several times in his treatise on ophthalmology. Muhammad ibn Zakariyya al-Razi (865?-925?), the most famous Muslim physician of his age, quotes it approximately one hundred times in his medical encyclopedia, the Continens of the Latins. It was subsequently employed by many others in the Middle Ages; for example, Abu al- Qasim al-Zahrawi of Cordoba (c. 950), ‘Ali ibn al-‘Abbas al-Majusi (c. 960), the great Avicenna (980-1037), al-Kuhin al-‘Attar the Jew (in 1260), and Najm Kuhin al-‘Attar the Jew (in 1260), and Najm al-Din Mahmud al-Shirazi (d. 1330).
Six works have survived in Arabic under the name of Paul of Aigina: al-Kunnash; Tadbir al-Hawamil (Concerning the Correct Treatment of Pregnant Women); Tahzil al-Siman (Slimming Cure for the Obese); ‘Ilal al-Nisa’ (Concerning Women’s Illnesses); Tadbir al-Sabi wa-‘ilajuh (Concerning the Correct Treatment and Care of the Infant); and a manual of toxicology, extant in Hebrew.
- Muhammad ibn Zakariyya al-Razi. Al-Hawi fi al-tibb. n.p., n.d., repr. Cairo, 1955.
- Ullmann, M. Die Medizin im Islam, pp. 86-87 (with bibliography). Leiden, 1970.
KHALIL SAMIR, S.J