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Ibn Juljul, Sulaymān Ibn H

Ibn Juljul, Sulaymān Ibn Ḥasan

(b. Córdoba, Spain, 944; d. ca. 994)

medicine, pharmacology.

Ibn Juljul’s course of studies is known through his autobiography, preserved by Ibn al-Abbar. He studied medicine from the age of fourteen to twentyfour with a group of Hellenists that had formed in Cordoba around the mink Nicolas and was presided over by the Jewish physician and vizier of ‘Abd al-Rahman III, Hasday ibn Shaprut. Later he was the personal physician of Caliph Hisham II (976-1009). The famous pharmacologist Ibn al-Baghunish was his disciple.

Among Ibn Juljul’s works is Tabaqāt al atibbāʾ wa’l-hukamả (“Generations of physicians and Wise Men”). It is the oldest and most complete extant summary in Arabic except for the work on the same subject written by Ishaq ibn Hunayn, which is inferior to that of Ibn Juljul—on the history of medicine. It is of particular interest because Ibn Juljul uses both Eastern sources (Hippocrates, Galen, Dioscorides, Abu Ma’shar) and Western ones. The latter had been translated into Arabic from Latin at Córdoba in the eighth and ninth centuries and include Orosius, St. Isidore, Christian physicians, and anonymous authors who served the first Andalusian emirs. The work has frequent chronological mistakes, especially when it deals with the earliest periods, but it never lacks interset.

The Tabagat contains fifty-seven biographiesà grouped in nine generations. Thirty-one are of oriental authors: Hermes I, Hermes II, and Hermes III, Asclepiades, Apollon, Hippocrates, Discorides, Plato, Aristoltle, Socrates, Democritus, Ptolemy, Cato, Euclid, Galen, Al-Hārith al-Thaqafi, Ibn Abi Rumtha, Ibn Abhar, Masarjawayhi, Bakhtīshūʿ, Jabril, Yuhanna ibn Māsawayhi, Yhannā ibn al-Bitriq, Hunaya ibn Ishāq, al-Kindi, Thābit ibn Qurra, Qusta ibn Lūqā, al-Rāzī, Thabit ibn Sinān, Ibn Wasif, and Nastās ibn Jurahy. The rest of the biographies are of African and Spanish scholars, who generally are less well-known than the Eastern ones. Since he knew many of the latter and possibly attended some of them, there is no reason to question the details given concerning their behavior or illnesses. The remarks on these topics are not real clinical histories but transmit details (allergic asthma, dysentery, and so on) that give a clear idea of life in Cordoba in the tenth century.

Ibn Juljul also provides interesting information about the oldest Eastern translations into Arabic, in the time of Caliph ‘Umar II (717-719), when he states that the latter ordered the translation from Syriac of the work of the Alexandrian physician Ahran ibn A’yan (fl. seventh century). One should not disdain his reflections on the causes hindering the development of science when, referring to the East, he justifies not mentioning more scholars from this region after al-Radi’s caliphate (d. 940), saying:

In later reigns there was no notable man known for his mastery or famous for his scientific contributions. The Abbasid empire was weakened by the power of the Daylamites and Turks, who were not concerned with science: scholars appear only in states whose kings seek knowledge [Tabaqāt, p. 116].

Tafsir asmāʾ al-adwiya al-mufrada min kitab Diyusquridus, written in 982, may concern a copy of Dioscorides’ Materia medica. In it is a text, quite often copied, on the vicissitudes of the Arabic translation of the famous Greek work. Maqāla fi dhikr al-adwiya al-mufrada lam yadhkurhā Diyusqūridūs is a complement to Dioscorides’ Materia medica. Maqala fi adwiyat al-tiryaq concerns therica. Risalat al-tabyin fi ma ghalata fihi baʿd al-mutatabbibin probably dealt with errors committed by quacks.

Ibn Juljul may be the author of the De secretis quoted by Albertus Magnus in his De sententiis antiquorum et de materia metallorum (De mineralibus III, 1. 4), which is attributed to a certain Gilgil.

The work of Ibn Juljul must have remained popular in Muslim Spain for a long time; otherwise we could not account for the frequent references given by a botanist such as the unnamed Spanish Muslim studied by Asin Palacios.


I. Original Works. A list of MSS is in C. Brockelmann, Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur, I (Weimar, 1898), 237, and Supplementband, I (Leiden, 1944), 422. The text of Tabaqat... is available in a good ed. by Fu ad Sayyid (Cairo, 1955); the last chapter of this work has appeared in Spanish trans. by J. Vernet in Anuario de estudios medievales (Barcelona), 5 (1968), 445-462.

II. Secondary Literature, See G. Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science, I (Baltimore, 1927), 682; Ibn al-Abbamacr;r, Takmila, A. Gonzàlez Palencia and M. Alarcón, eds. (Madrid, 1915), p. 297; Ibn Abi Usaybi’a, ’Uyūn al-anbā fi tabaqāt al-atibbā, edited and translated into French by H. Jahier and A. Noureddine (Algiers, 1958), pp. 36-41; and Miguel Asin Palacios, Glosario de voces romances registradas por un botànico anànimo hispanomusulmàn (siglos Xl-Xll) (Madrid-Granda, 1943), index.

J. Vernet

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