The Latin version of Averroes’ Long Commentary on the Metaphysics was very influential and exists in a huge number of manuscripts. The critical edition produced at the research unit “History of Philosophy and of the Sciences in the Graeco-Arabic-Latin Tradition” at the University of Würzburg is based on the manuscripts C (Paris, Bibl. Nat., lat 15453, 13th cent.), On (Oxford, New College Library 284, 13th cent.), Vx (Vatican, BAV, Vat. lat. 2080, early 14th cent.), Wi (Vienna, ÖNB 185, 13th century) and the editions I (Editio princeps 1473) and Z (Venice, Giunta, 1562, the version used up to now). In addition, an English translation of the Latin version is also being prepared. The editors are Prof. Dr. Dag Nikolaus Hasse, Dr. Stefan Georges, and Dr. des. Jens Ole Schmitt.
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When analysing the importance of medicine in a courtly context of 12th century Andalusia, the persona and works of Averroes present themselves as a reliable source of information. The reason for this, on the one hand, is the broad amount of literature that the author provided and, on the other hand, the influential role he played in the society of his time. The results of the analysis will not only include findings pertaining to the field of medicine in the context of the Almohad caliphate, but will simultaneously convey information concerning the interests and functions of the Almohad royal court in general. This is due to the fact that the medical activities recorded during this period apparently held a certain public influence, the extent of which, however, remains rather unknown to this day.
The potential of researching Averroes’ medical achievements lies not only in the possibility of extending our knowledge of the person himself, it also allows us to integrate these findings into a broader picture. An embedding of the history of sciences in the Islamic world in social contexts is necessary, in order to form a biographical and academic connection between different actors of this time period. This raises the question of the role medicine used to play in the social environment of the Almohad court: How did these doctors, in our case Averroes, practice medicine? Answers to this question are promised by two approaches: for one, clarification and identification of Averroes medical work, and secondly, the option of studying how his medical research was embedded into the context of the social environment of the Almohad court, in which medicine quite obviously played a very special role.
A DFG funded research project at the Thomas-Institute, University of Cologne, directed by Dr. Raphaela Veit; collaborator Dr. Carsten Schliwski. Contact