A work by Muhammad ibn Abi al-Fath dated 1199, is the oldest and richest example of these treatises. The manuscript was probably composed for a very special patron who wished to learn about medicines and to gaze on magnificent coloured illustrations. The original manuscript is held in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris (Ms arabe 2964).
The manuscript, written in ancient Arabic with notes in Persian, has 72 pages embellished with magnificent miniatures featuring traditional Arabic motifs. The initial calligraphic pages in Kufic characters present the nine learned physicians (Andromachus the Elder, Heraclides, Philagrius, Proclus, Pythagoras, Marinus, Magnus of Mesa, Andromachus the Younger, Galen), each with his own recipe for theriac, some prepared using one hundred different ingredients. Twelve pages are dedicated to illustrating the plants used for the preparation of the medicine: these include rocket, liquorice, cardamom, opium, white pepper, incense, capers, acacia, valerian, black pepper, garlic and wild leek.
Aboca Edizioni publishes this work of certain interest to scholars of botany and the history of medicine. It includes illustrations of the medicinal plants used in the Arab world in the recipes drawn up by the most important physicians in the Greek tradition, such as Galen of Pergamum and Andromachus.
- Marie G. Guesdon
- Oleg Grabar
- Anna Caiozzo
- Françoise Micheau
- Jaclynne J. Kerner.