The Canon: Essential Artillery of the Medieval Medical Student

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Khurram Jahangir Khan
Shiraz Noor


Avicenna, Ibn Sina, The Canon of Medicine, History of Medicine, Medical Education


A historical review of The Canon of Medicine by Persian physician and philosopher Avicenna (Ibn Sina 980-1037 C.E.): This paper follows the trajectory of the Canon’s use in medical education in Europe, from its translation into Latin in the twelfth century to its long-standing status as an introductory textbook from the fifteenth century onward. The changing role of the Canon in university curricula, which is perhaps its greatest historical legacy, attests to its durability as a medical encyclopaedia—just one of the many consequences of its unprecedented comprehensiveness and organization.