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The World of Pharmacy and Pharmacists in Mamlūk Cairo

By Dr. Leigh Chipman

The World of Pharmacy and Pharmacists in Mamlūk Cairo, published by Brill,  is the first detailed analysis of an immensely popular 13th c. Arabic guide for pharmacists, Minhāj al-dukkān (“How to manage a pharmacy”), by Abū ʾl-Munā al-Kūhīn al-ʿAṭṭār (fl. 1260), dating from a time in which Jewish physicians and pharmacists worked alongside Muslim and Christian practioners. This is the first attempt to explore the full spectrum of pharmacy in the medieval Arabic world: identification of the materia medica and methods of preparation; pharmacy’s place within the sciences and particularly its relationship with medicine; the social position of the pharmacist and his role in the marketplace and the hospital; the economics of pharmacy; legal aspects of pharmacy; and the image of the pharmacist in literature and drama. The result is a full and nuanced picture of a section of society usually invisible.

Readership: All those interested in the history of pre-modern medicine and science (particularly pharmacy and materia medica), and in the social and intellectual history of the Middle East, especially during the Mamlūk period.

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