Option One: Transmission of Medical Knowledge
Was there really a ‘European medicine’ which was distinct from ‘Islamic medicine’ practiced in medieval Europe?
European medicine is not distinct from Islamic medicine it shares the same roots and the differences are too unimportant to separate them. Both cultures use the same method to diagnose a disease or illness such as reason and observation; the Physician would observe that a patient was expelling blood from a wound and as blood is crucial for life then that patient may die. Some would argue that Islamic and European medicine are in fact distinct because although they share the same roots, Islamic medicine covered a far wide spectrum of treatment and developed medicine to a much more sophisticated level. But I aim here to show that they are fundamentally the same.
When I speak of ‘European medicine’ I am referring to the medical ideas that originated from Hippocrates (lived around 460-370 BCE) well known as the Humoural Theory; a theory based on four main bodily fluids acting harmoniously for stable health. ‘European Medicine’ was translated into Latin from Islamic scripts that were originally translated from ancient Greek scripts.
The Humoural theory (AA100: The Arts Past and Present: cultural Encounters, figure 5.2, page 153), also known as the “Hippocratic doctrine of four humours”, was adopted by the Islamic world from the seventh century CE in a period of economic growth. Military conquests brought Islamic scholars into contact with the Greek language and ideas. Islamic rulers and traders became very wealthy and powerful. Between the eighth and eleventh centuries, hundreds of Greek texts were translated into Arabic, these texts included medical scripts. This gave Islamic scholars a basis for medicine that was not distinct from European medicine.
Before the Translation movement, Islamic medicine had no theoretical framework and was referred to as ‘folk’ medicine to differentiate it from...