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SYRIAN ANATOMY, PATHOLOGY AND THERAPEUTICS: "The Book of Medicines" (1913) by E. A. Wallis Budge (2 Volumes with Dust Jackets)

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SYRIAN ANATOMY, PATHOLOGY AND THERAPEUTICS: "The Book of Medicines" (1913) by E. A. Wallis Budge (2 Volumes with Dust Jackets)

895.00

BUDGE, E. A. Wallis

Syrian Anatomy, Pathology and Therapeutics or "The Book of Medicines". The Syriac Text, Edited From a Rare Manuscript, with an English Translation, etc.

London: Humphrey Milford/Oxford University Press, 1913. First Edition. Two-Volume Set; Vol I: Introduction, Syriac Text; Vol II: English Translation and Text, index. Published under the direction of the Royal Society of Literature of the United Kingdom. Thick 8vo. Hardcovers bound in red cloth with gilt spine titles. In the original dust jackets. Black endpapers. Title pages in red and black. clxxviii + 614 (Syriac text paginated right to left), xxv + 804 pp. The complete contents are shown in the photos.

A couple of corner bumps, otherwise the books are in near fine condition in the scarce dust jackets, also near fine. A beautiful set, and quite rare in this condition.

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The present work contains the text of the great Syriac "Book of Medicines", edited from a manuscript that was in Budge's possession, and an English translation of the same, with a lengthy Introduction, Index, etc. The first section of the book consists of lectures upon Human Anatomy, Pathology, and Therapeutics, to each of which is added a series of prescriptions of the most detailed character, which the author recommends to be administered in the treatment of the various diseases described in the Lecture preceding. These Lectures were translated from Greek into Syriac by a Syrian physician, who was probably a Nestorian (named after the theolgian Nestorius [368-450]), and who was well acquainted with Greek and Syriac; and he may well have been attached to one of the great Medical Schools, which existed at Edessa (Urfa) and Amid (Diarbekir), and Nisibis, in the early centuries of the Christian era. Unfortunately, the name of neither author nor translator is given. 

The system of medicine expounded in the Lectures is, fundamentally, that of Hippocrates, the "Father of Medicine", whose actual words are quoted in many places. The Lecturer, like Hippocrates, regarded diseases as the result of perfectly natural causes, and thought that they were produced by interference with the laws of nature. Throughout his work the Lecturer inculcates persistently the great importance of what physicians call prognosis, diagnosis, semeiology, actiology and dietetics. The eye, the ear, the nose, and the hand must all help the skilled physician in treating diseases, and the appearance of every member of the patient will tell him something about the disease that he is called in to heal. 

The second section of the "Book of Medicines" is astrological in character, and was included in the manuscript by some student or scribe who could not free himself from the trammels of the beliefs of some of his contemporaries. Not satisfied with the medical system of Hippocrates, he has concentrated more on omens, spells, divinations, and planetary forecasts. 

The third section contains four-hundred prescriptions, many of them of a most extraordinary character; these were perhaps written by "physicians" who were ignorant and superstitious. These prescriptions have, however, some value, for they illustrate the folklore of a part of Mesopotamia, and preserve a number of popular beliefs and legends about birds, animals, magical roots, etc. The curious enquirer will find many parallels to them in statements made in medieval "Bestiaries".