ANTYLLUS ON THE BLADDER STONE IN AL-RZS KITB AL-W (RHAZES LIBER CONTINENS) A NEW SOURCE FOR UROLITHIASIS AND LITHOTOMY IN ANTIQUITY

Mathias Witt

Abstract


The late Alexandrian physician Antyllus (approx. 2 nd century AD) was one of the most important surgeons of Graeco-Roman antiquity and the only ancient surgeon whose writing is quoted in the Arab world. The fragments of his handbook transmit a part of the knowledge from the Alexandrian period, in which surgery reached its climax. The original surgical treatises of this era have all been lost as has been Antyllus' handbook. However, numerous Greek and Arabic fragments of it still survive in compilations. The present paper provides a first edition of Antyllus chapter on lithotomy, reconstructed from the Arabic. Lithotomy was one of the most serious interventions of elective surgery practised during antiquity. This topic is particularly well covered in the Arabic Antyllus fragments, so that the chapter can probably almost be entirely reconstructed. Several new insights into the diagnosis and treatment of urolithiasis in antiquity can be retrieved from this chapter, facts that were hitherto unknown from other ancient sources. A comparison of the reconstructed chapter with the same one in the Byzantine compilation by Paul of Aegina further reveals that Paul used Antyllus as his unquoted source, making some modifications and shortening the text.

The Arabic fragments mentioned can be found in al-Rzs Kitb al-w (Rhazes' Liber Continens), which is currently only available through incomplete and philologically inadequate Latin and Arabic editions. Considerations for a new standard for editions from the w are outlined in this paper as well. For this edition, manuscripts were collated that have not been used by scholars so far.


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