Friday, March 20, 2015

A00059 - Ibn al-Wafid, Author of The Book of Simple Drugs

Ibn al-Wafid
Ibn al-Wafid (Ali Ibn al-Husain Ibn al-Wafid(997-c.1074), known in Latin Europe as Abenguefit, was a pharmacologist and physician from Toledo. He was the vizier of  Al-Mamun of Toledo. His main work is Kitāb al-adwiya al-mufrada (The Book of Simple Drugs) (كتاب الأدوية المفردة, translated into Latin as De medicamentis simplicibus).
Ibn al-Wafid was mainly a pharmacist in Toledo, and he used the techniques and methods available in alchemy to extract at least 520 different kinds of medicines from various plants and herbs.
Ibn al-Wafid's student Ali Ibn al-Lukuh was the author of ʿUmdat al-Ṭabīb fī Maʿrifat al-Nabāt li kulli Labīb, a famous botanical dictionary.
Kitāb al-adwiya al-mufrada (The Book of Simple Drugs) ran to five hundred pages, taking twenty-five years to compile.  The Latin translation, De medicamentis simplicibus is only a fragment of all his work.  
As well as investigatin the action of drugs, sleep and bathing, Ibn al-Wafid also wrote on farming, because agriculture, plant cultivation, botany, chemistry and medicine were closely linked.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A00058 - Yasar Kemal, Master Turkish Novelist

Yasar Kemal, Yasar also spelled Yashar, original name Kemal Sadik Gogceli, (b. 1923, Hemite, Turkey - d. February 28, 2015, Istanbul) was a Turkish novelist of Kurdish descent best known for his stories of village life and for his outspoken advocacy on behalf of the dispossessed. 

At age five, Kemal saw his father murdered in a mosque and was himself blinded in one eye.  He left secondary school after two years and worked at a variety of odd jobs.  In 1950, he was arrested for his political activism, but he was ultimately acquitted.  The following year, Kemal moved to Istanbul and was hired as a reporter for the daily newspaper Cumhuriyet, where he worked in various capacities until 1963.  During this time, he published a novella, Teneke (1955, "The Tin Pan"), and the novel Ince Memed (1955, Memed, My Hawk).  The latter, a popular tale about a bandit and folk hero, was translated into more than twenty (20) languages and was made into a movie in 1984.  Kemal wrote three more novels featuring Memed as the protagonist.  In 1962, he joined the Turkish Labour Party, and in 1967, he founded Ant, a weekly political magazine informed by Marxist ideology.  He was arrested again in 1971, and in 1996 a court sentenced him to a deferred jail term for alleged seditious statements about the Turkish government's oppression of the Kurdish people.

Kemal's other novels include the trilogy Ortadirek (1960, The Wind from the Plain); Yer demir, gok bakir (1963, Iron Earth, Copper Sky), Olmez otu (1968, The Undying Grass), and Tanyeri horozlan (2002, The Cocks of Dawn).  He also published volumes of nonfiction -- including Peri bacalan (1957, The Fairy Chimneys),  collection of reportage, and Baldaki tuz (1974, The Salt in the Honey), a book of political essays -- as well as the children's book Filler sultani ile kirmizi sakalli topal karinca (1977, The Sultan of the Elephants and the Red-Bearded Lame Ant).  In 2007, an operatic adaptation of Kemal's Teneke premiered at La Scala in Milan.

Friday, March 13, 2015

A00057 - Ibn al-Thahabi, Author of First Known Alphabetical Medical Encyclopedia

Ibn al-Thahabi
Ibn al-Thahabi (Abu Mohammed Abdellah Ibn Mohammed Al-Azdi) (Arabic: ابو محمد عبدالله بن محمد الأزدي‎) (ca. ? - 1033, in Valencia, Al-Andalus [Islamic Spain]), known also as Ibn Al-Thahabi, was an Arab physician, famous for writing the first known alphabetical encyclopedia of medicine.

He was born in Suhar, Oman.  He moved then into Basra,  then to Persia where he studied under Al-Biruni and Ibn Sina.  Later he migrated to Jerusalem and finally settled in Valencia, in Al-Andalus (Islamic Spain).

He is famous for his book Kitab al-Ma'a (The Book of Water), which is a 900 page medical encyclopedia that lists the names of diseases, its medicine and a physiological process or a treatment. It is the first known alphabetical classification of medical terms. In this encyclopedia, Ibn Al-Thahabi not only lists the names but adds numerous original ideas about the function of the human organs. It also contains a course for the treatment psychological symptoms. The main thesis of his medication is that cure must start from controlled food and exercise and if it persists then use specific individual medicines.  If it still persists, then use medical compounds. If the disease continued, surgery was performed.