The zenith of medical knowledge and its systematic organisation in the ancient Greek-Roman world reached its pinnacle in Galen in the 2nd century AD. The decline that followed was accentuated by the split of the Roman Empire to East and West and the latter extinction by the period of migration. The Byzantine Empire of the East preserved many of the achievements of ancient times (most of the medical texts were in Greek) but further development and spread of knowledge only started with the translations of medical texts to Syriac, Persian and Arabic. In the religious turmoil of the early medieval times, a condemned Christian sect, the Nestorians, found refuge in the Eastern Caliphates and greatly contributed to the transmission of medical knowledge and texts previously in Greek to their, religiously much more tolerant and knowledge hungry, new Masters. The expanding Islamic world not only acquired, preserved and added to that but also transmitted back to Medieval Europe mostly trough the Iberian peninsula. Until The European Renaissance (14th century onwards) ancient medical texts were acquired from translations of Arabic to Latin. Such thriving cultural centres as Cordoba and Toledo and such persons like Gerard of Cremona played an unparalleled part of that process. The authors will give a summary and assessment of this fascinating process focused on the maxillofacial region.
Transmission of surgical knowledge of the head and neck from the ancient Greek-Roman period to early medieval Europe: the significance of Islamic role from Baghdad to Cordoba
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