Sulim L.G.

Sumy State University, Human Anatomy Chair


Anatomical learning, thus neglected by European nations, is believed to have received a temporary cultivation from the Asiatics. Of these, several nomadic tribes, known to Europeans under the general denomination of Arabs and Saracens, had gradually coalesced under various leaders; and by their habits of endurance, as well as of enthusiastic valour in successive expeditions against the eastem division of the Roman empire, had asquired such military reputation as to render them formidable wherever they appeared. After two century of foreing warfare or internal animosity, under the successive dynasties of the Omayyads and Abbasids, in which the propagation of Islam was the pretext for the extinction of learning and civilization, and the most remorseless system of rapine and destruction, the Saracens began, under the latter dynasty of princes, to recognize the value of science, and especially of that which prolongs life, heals disease and alleviates the pain of wounds and injuries.The caliph Mansur combined with his official knowledge of Moslem law the successful cultivation of astronomy; but to his grandson Manum belongs the merit of undertaking to render his subjects philosophers and physicians. By the direction of this prince the works of the Greek and Roman authors were translated into Arabic. The residue of the rival family of the Omayyads was prompted by motives of rivalry or honourable ambition to adopt the same course; and while the academy, hospitals and library of Bagdad bore testimony to the zeal and liberality of the Abbasids, the munificence of the Omayyads was not less conspicuous in the literary institutions of Cordova, Seville and Toledo. Notwithstanding the efforts of the Arabian princes, and the diligence of the Arabian physicians, little was done for anatomy, and the science made no substantial acquisition. The Koran denounces as unclean the person who touches a corpse; the rules of Islam forbid dissection; and whatever their instructors taught was borrowed from the Greeks.

The chief reason of their obtaining a place in anatomical history is, that by the influence which their medical autority enabled them to exercise in the Enropian schools, the nomenclature which they employed was adopted by European anatomists and continued till the revival of ancient learning restored the original nomenalature of the Greek phisicians.