Ibn Abi Usaibia – the GAL entry, and the manuscripts

I have finally managed to find some hard information on Ibn Abi Usaibia (translation here), the two editions of the text, and the manuscripts of both.  What follows may be hard going; but it is almost entirely hard data.

A google search turned up this site.  It gives, thankfully, the GAL reference for Ibn Abi Usaibia, which means that, at long last, I can find the entry.  Here is the reference on the website.

BROCKELMANN KARL (1868-1956), Geschichte der arabischen Literatur. Weimar, Berlin 1898 ; Leipzig, C. F. Amelang 1901 [vi-265 p., 23 cm]; Leyde, E. J. Brill 1943 [2e sup.] ; Leyde, E. J. Brill 1996 [augm. et préface de Just Witkam] (I) p. 325-326; (sup. I) p. 560.

I.e. p.325-6 of volume 1 of the 1st edition, plus p.560 of vol. 1 of the supplement.

Here are the corresponding pages (p.397-8) from vol. 1 of the 2nd edition (which has the page numbers of the 1st ed. in the margin):

brockelmann2_vol1_397brockelmann2_vol1_398

And from the supplement:

 brockelmann2_suppl1b_560In the interests of googleability, here’s a transcription, with a few extra line breaks to make the detailed info more comprehensible.

10. Muwaffaqaddin a. ’l-`Abbās A. b. al-Q. b. a. Usaibi`a as-Sa`di al-Hazragi, geb. nach 590/1194 in Damaskus, wo sein Vater Augenarzt war, studierte Medizin in seiner Vaterstadt und am Nāsirischen Krankenhaus zu Kairo; besondere Anregung verdankte  er dem bekannten Arzt und Botaniker b. al-Baitār (S. 492). 631/1233 wurde er von Salāhaddin an einem neugegründeten Krankenhause zu Kairo angestellt, ging aber schon 632 an den Bimāristān an-Nuri zu Damaskus und 634 als Leibarzt des Emirs ‘Izzaddin Aidamur b. `Al. nach Safad. Dort starb er im Gum. I, 668/Jan. 1270.

Wüst. Gesch. 350, Leclerc II, 187/93. `Uyun al-anbā’ fi tabaqāt al-atibba’ (noch Patna II, 317,2469), in zwei Recensionen, einer v. J. 640/1242 und einer jüngeren mit manchen Zusätzen.

Hsg. v. A. Müller, Königsberg (Kairo) 1884.

Vgl. dens. ZDMG 34, 471, Travaux du VIe congr. intern, d. or. à Leide II, 218 ff., SBBA, phil.-hist. Cl. 1884, S. 857 ff.

and from the supplement:

10. Muwaffaqaddin a. ‘l-`Abbās A. b. al-Q. b. a. Usaibi`a (1) b. Halifa as-Sa`di al-Hazragi, geb. nach 590/1194 in Damaskus, wo er 632/1234 am Bimaristān an-Nuri angestellt wurde; 634 ging er als Leibarzt des Emirs `Izzaddin Aidamir b. `Al. nach Sarhad und starb dort im Gum, I, 668/Jan. 1270.

Nallino, `Ilm al-falah 64ff. K. `Uyun al-anba’ fi tabaqat al-atibba’, Hdss. noch Münch. 800/1, Wien 1164, Leid, 1062/4, Paris 2113/7, 5939, Nicholson JRAS 1899, 912, Fātih 4438, Top Kapu 2859/60, Sehid `A. P. 1923, Yeni 891/2, Köpr. 1104, Dämäd Ibr. 935, Kairo2 V, 275, Mosul 25,42, XIV, 26,78, Rampur, I, 642,176, Bank. XII, 786, Abkürzung Paris 2118.

S. noch Hamed Waly, Drei Kapp, aus der Ärztegeschichte des b. a. Us., med. Diss., Berlin 1911.

(1) So die Hds. Brit. Mus.

This is the origin of the “two recensions” story; there is one made in 1242 AD, and a “younger one, with some additions”.  The details may be found in Müller, Arabische Quellen zur Geschichte der indischen Medizin, in the ZDMG 34, starting on p.469 f., which may be found online here.  This also gives a list of manuscripts of the two recensions.

The JRAS (Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society) article is online, and consists of a list of Arabic manuscripts owned by orientalist Reynold A. Nicholson.  The Ibn Abi Usaibia ms. was copied in Constantinople in 1136 A.H. (=1758 A.D.), and has the inscription, “E. Libris Theodori Preston Coll. S. S. Trin. Cant. Socii Damasci 1848″, and a note stating that Mr Preston purchased it in Damascus for 900 piastres.  I wonder where his manuscripts are now.

The supplement gives a further list of manuscripts — supplemental to that in the ZDMG article –, as does the webpage with which we started:

  • Ms. Cod. Arab. 800, Berlin, Staatsbibliothek preußischer Kulturbesitz
  • Ms. Cod. Arab. 801, Berlin, Staatsbibliothek preußischer Kulturbesitz
  • Ms. 715, Universitätsbibliothek, Leipzig
  • Ms. 4781, Dublin, Chester Beatty Library
  • Ms. Ar. 2113, Paris, Bibliothèque de France
  • Ms. Ar. 2114, Paris, Bibliothèque de France
  • Ms. Ar. 2115, Paris, Bibliothèque de France
  • Ms. Ar. 2117, Paris, Bibliothèque de France
  • Ms. Ar. 2118, Paris, Bibliothèque de France
  • Ms. 2859/1, Istanbul, Topkapi Saray
  • Ms. 2859/2, Istanbul, Topkapi Saray, daté 1334

So we’re getting some real, useful information at last here.  Curious that the GAL mentioned a British Museum manuscript in the footnote as the source of the author’s full name, but does not give the shelfmark for it!  It is, no doubt, British Library Add. 7340, an exemplar of the longer recension, mentioned in the ZDMG article.

The Muller edition of Ibn Abi Usaibia is only in my hands in a rather rubbish-looking reprint, which I suspect is incomplete.  I wish the original was online!

3 Responses to “Ibn Abi Usaibia – the GAL entry, and the manuscripts”


  1. Douglas Galbi

    Impressive research! I hope it helps to push forward critical work on Ibn Abi Usaibia’s History of Physicians.

  2. stephan

    Is Usaibia an Arabic rendering of the relatively common Greek name Eusebius?

  3. Roger Pearse

    I’ve no idea – sorry.