History : Nov-Dec 2016
70 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016 HOUSE CALLS A doctor visits a patient in this vibrantly colorful miniature (above) from a 14th-century Persian copy of the Maqamat, held in the collection of the Austrian National Library in Vienna. MUSLIM MEDICAL SCHOOLS THE MOST IMPORTANT institution for imparting knowl- edge about medicine and other disciplines was the madrassa, a school built in, or alongside, a mosque. Many madrassas became highly specialized acad- emies, often with close links to hospitals. Notable hospitals were in Cairo, Harran (in modern-day Turkey), and Baghdad, where students would often visit patients to observe their treatment at the hands of qualified doctors, in much the same way as medi- cal interns and residents do today. A basic part of theoretical training was learning summaries in verse form, such as Avicenna’s Poem of Medicine. There were also question-and-answer drills on medical compendia, such as the Paradise of Wisdom, compiled by Ali ibn Rabban al-Tabari around 850. BRIDGEMAN/ACI AKG/ALBUM A DOCTOR INSTRUCTS STUDENTS IN THIS 17TH-CENTURY MINIATURE.