Abu Ali al-Husain ibn Abdallah ibn Sina (980 - 1037)

Ibn Sina is more famously known by his Latin name Avicenna, although recently people have taken to refer to him as Ibn Sina. A Muslim physician and philosopher of the middle ages, ibn Sina wrote the most famous single medical book in history, The Canon of Medicine.

This prolific writer wrote about 450 works, 240 of which survived. Ibn Sina's other famous work aside from The Canon of Medicine is Kitab al-Shifa' or The Book of Healing. In this encyclopedic work, he discussed psychology, geology, mathematics, astronomy, and logic.

Like many of the philosophers during his time, ibn Sina sought a synthesis of philosophy and religion into a single metaphysical system.

Charles Mackay (1814-1889), from Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness Of Crowds


Avicenna, whose real name was Ebn Cinna, another great alchymist, was born at Bokhara, in 980. His reputation as a physician and a man skilled in all sciences was so great, that the Sultan Magdal Douleth resolved to try his powers in the great science of government. He was accordingly made Grand Vizier of that Prince, and ruled the state with some advantage: but, in a science still more difficult, he failed completely. He could not rule his own passions, but gave himself up to wine and women, and led a life of shameless debauchery. Amid the multifarious pursuits of business and pleasure, he nevertheless found time to write seven treatises upon the philosopher's stone, which were for many ages looked upon as of great value by pretenders to the art. It is rare that an eminent physician, as Avicenna appears to have been, abandons himself to sensual gratification; but so completely did he become enthralled in the course of a few years, that he was dismissed from his high office, and died shortly afterwards, of premature old age and a complication of maladies, brought on by debauchery. His death took place in the year 1036. After his time, few philosophers of any note in Arabia are heard of as devoting themselves to the study of alchymy; but it began shortly afterwards to attract greater attention in Europe. Learned men in France, England, Spain, and Italy expressed their belief in the science, and many devoted their whole energies to it. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries especially, it was extensively pursued, and some of the brightest names of that age are connected with it. Among the most eminent of them are Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas.

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