Date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 – 18:00 to 19:15

Location: The British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH

Photograph: A physician with two patients painted in Baghdad in 1224, from an Arabic translation of a Greek treatise on medicinal substances (Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institute)

Baghdad led the world in medicine and surgery during the Abbasid period. Following organised efforts to determine what earlier societies knew of medical care, Baghdadi physicians produced a rich and innovative medical literature while government officials demonstrated serious interest in public health. Muslim, Christian and Jewish physicians worked together in hospitals and served as court physicians. In this illustrated lecture for BISI,  Professor Emilie Savage-Smith will give examples of the treatments available in Baghdad during the ninth and tenth centuries for ailments such as asthma, hay fever, sore throat, infected tonsils, missing teeth, eye inflammations, cataracts, broken bones, embedded arrowheads, indigestion, diarrhoea, and dislocated shoulders.
Professor Savage-Smith recently retired as Professor of the History of Islamic Science at the Oriental Institute, Oxford University. Her current projects include: The Raised-Up Roof and the Laid-Down Bed: Stars, Maps and History in Medieval Islam  (with Y. Rapoport); a study of the treatment of cataracts in the medieval Islamic world; and A Literary History of Medicine: The Best Accounts of the Classes of Physicians by Ibn Abi Usaybi`ah (d. 1270), for which Professor Savage-Smith received a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award.

The lecture will be followed by a reception (from 19:15 to 20:00). We hope you can join us! Sign up here.