Black Death & Moorish Physicians


Just a bit off on the tangent regarding this news ‘Black Death pit’ unearthed by Crossrail project: It was western Arabism that provided the world with the most concrete affirmation of the doctrine of the contagious character of disease. The cause of that discovery was the same plague that ravaged the world in the 14th century, causing Black Death. The plague travelled from India to China, Russia, Syria and finally struck the Europe. Many accounts record that nearly half of the population of western Europe suffered the “Black Death” caused by the plague.

It was two Moorish doctors from Granada, Ibn-Khatib and Ibn-Khatima, who found out that the “Black Death” was caused by contagion carried by rats and fleas.

Both of them wrote treatises regarding the plague. Ibn-Khatib wrote “On the plague” which was then remarkable for its courage and idea in defence of the contagion. He argued against the prevalent and popular belief that contagion wasn’t the wrath of God. It apparently required courage to defy the popular religious beliefs prevalent in both Europe and Asia which associated the contagion with God’s wrath.

Ibn-Khatima’s work in original Arabic is still preserved in Escurial.

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2 Responses to Black Death & Moorish Physicians

  1. wawipiha says:

    I suggest “The Dark Traveller” by Cindy Wright.This book is really good and it is about the Black Death!It is well written and it has illustrations that can help enhance the reader’s experience. You will be shock to know how many pseudo-cures had been created to fight the Bubonic Plague. Some are sure to make one shudder.
    DO NOT MISS OUT this GOOD READ! Trust me,this book is really worth your money.

    • Absar says:

      I will try to find out this book. However, the references I have mentioned in my blog regarding the work of Ibn-Khatima and Ibn-Khatib are not apocryphal as many different accounts have reported the same. The Dark Traveller may present a different picture it seems, and so it would be interesting to critically evaluate both the accounts.

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