The Canon of MedicineBMJ 2009; 339 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b5358 (Published 09 December 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b5358
- Gavin Koh, honorary specialist registrar in infectious diseases, University of Cambridge
The Canon of Medicine is one of almost 450 treatises written by the Persian polymath Ibn Sīnā (better known in Europe as Avicenna, c980-1037). The modern world has called him an astronomer, chemist, logician, mathematician, physicist, poet, and teacher; but to the Muslim world he was “prince of physicians” and pinnacle of the 10th century Persian renaissance.
Ibn Sīnā was born to a scholarly Persian family in Bukhara (a city on the Silk Road and capital of the Samanid empire). He had memorised the Quran by age 10 and mastered astronomy, law, mathematics, and philosophy before beginning to study medicine at 16. He …