This is the area where Bukhara was located. It was roughly on the border of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan
Early Life Avicenna was a very bright young child. At the age of ten he boasted that he had read the entire Quran. One day a man by the name of Nateli came to the town of Bukhara where Avicenna’s family moved to live. Nateli was a renown philosopher of the time. Avicenna’s father asked Nateli to teach his son and invited him to live in their house. After experiencing Avicenna’s high intelligence Nateli told his father that he should not engage in anything but learning. Avicenna engaged himself and became a well learned man
Early Life Continued One day a reining prince of the land by the name of Nuh ibn Mansur fell ill. His physicians immediately called for Avicenna to help. Avicenna successfully treated the prince and, as a reward, was given access to the library of the Saminad rulers. It was in this library where Avicenna spent spent his time “I saw books whose very names are as yet unknown to many—works which I had never seen before and not seen since. I read these books, taking notes of their contents.” -Avicenna
Writing and Temperament Avicenna grew up in a household that had unorthodox religious views. This element of his atmosphere shows in his thoughts and writings. Avicenna studied many topics including philosophy, theology, geometry, and medicine. He believed that philosophy religion and science were all related. This is known as a holistic view.
Ancient Science of the Persian Renaissance Avicenna grew up in the Persian Renaissance, a time where an explosion of knowledge occurred. Breakthroughs were made in philosophy, science, mathematics, and medicine. Arabic society was change by new technologies in the fields of science, medicine, and reason.
Healthcare in the Ancient Arabic World Hospitals were built in all major cities. Some hospitals such as the Qalawun could carry up to 8000 people. The medical ethics of Ancient Arabia were strong. All patients were cared for regardless of wealth or background. Physicians would even go to patients houses to give medical care there.
Ancient Healthcare Continued Abu al-Qasim is considered the father of modern surgury. He invented many sugical instuments. Ammar ibn Ali al-Mawsili invented the first injection syringe. Abu al-Qasim also invented plaster which is still used today.
Avicenna pioneered the idea of taking pulse from the wrist. He reasoned that the wrist was easily accessible and did not stress the patient out by having to expose his or her body. Avicenna also created the idea of intubation. Intubation is the process of inserting a tube into the trachea of a patient to facilitate breathing. This method is still used today. Air Intake
In the Canon of Medicine Avicenna presents many groundbreaking ideas. He discovered that many diseases had a contagious nature. For example he proposed that tuberculoses was contagious In order to combat the contagious nature of tuberculosis and other diseases he proposed the idea of quarantine to limit the spread of the disease. Avicenna realized that tuberculosis was spread through water and food so he quarantined these resources too. He also introduced the world to experimental medicine and clinical trials. He proposed seven rules one must follow when testing new drugs. These seven rules laid down the foundation of modern experimental pharmacology methods.
Seven Rules of Testing Drugs 1)“The drug must be free from any extraneous accidental quality.” 2)"It must be used on a simple, not a composite, disease.” 3)"The drug must be tested with two contrary types of diseases, because sometimes a drug cures one disease by Its essential qualities and another by its accidental ones.” 4)"The quality of the drug must correspond to the strength of the disease. For example, there are some drugs whose heat is less than the coldness of certain diseases, so that they would have no effect on them.” 5)"The time of action must be observed, so that essence and accident are not confused.” 6)"The effect of the drug must be seen to occur constantly or in many cases, for if this did not happen, it was an accidental effect.” 7)"The experimentation must be done with the human body, for testing a drug on a lion or a horse might not prove anything about its effect on man."
Steam Distillation Avicenna invented the method of steam distillation to manufacture essential oils. Steam distillation works by bubbling steam through a heated mixture of raw materials. The steam will cause some of the compound within the raw material to vaporize with the steam When the steam is condensed the compound within the steam condenses to a liquid state which results in a oily layer above the water Click here for more on steam distillation
Another Steam Distillation Apparatus Click here for more distillation information
What Happened to Islamic Science? Many of the masterworks of the Islamic Golden Age have been lost. The Islamic world has been decimated by war for almost one thousand years. Among the most destructive violent events are the Crusades and the Mongol Invasion.
The Crusades A martial society developed in Europe around 1000 C.E. Noble aristocrats fought each other for land. In order to shift noble violence away from Christendom Pope Urban II urged Western knights to use their arms to take the holy land back from the Muslims. In return the pope promised the nights wealth and forgiveness of their sins. Jerusalem is the holy land of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The fight for Jerusalem left Arabic social structure in shambles. They did not have enough time to establish stability for the next conflict was on the horizon.
Mongol Invasion In 1258 the Mongol’s ravaged the town of Bagdad and then overtook most of the middle east. After many decades the Mongol invasion fizzled out. However the middle east was in shambles. The irrigation system of the great Mesopotamia were permanently destroyed by the warfare. With scattered governments and dwindling resources the Islamic Golden Age was officially at an end.
Evaluation Describe two inventions by Avicenna. Give an example of a modern medical technology you feel strongly relates to the medicine of ancient Arabia. Explain the correlations. Compare the ethics of medicine today to the medical ethics practiced during the Islamic Golden Age. Do you think our modern society is more ethically evolved? Explain…( hint: health insurance, pharmaceutical companies, privatization.) Draw the process of steam distillation to the best of your ability. Include captions that explain the function of each part of the steam distillation apparatus. Describe a historical event you believe had the biggest impact on the fall of Arabic Civilization.
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