Origins: A Cure for the Common Cold?
Not quite. But Arab scholars laid the foundations of modern medicine.
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In the “General Prologue” of The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer identifies the authorities used by his “Doctour of Physic.” The list includes four Arab physicians: Jesu Haly (Ibn ’Isa), Razi (Al-Razi, or Rhazes), Avycen (Ibn Sina, or Avicenna) and Averrois (Ibn Rushd, or Averroes).
These four did not make Chaucer’s list only to add an exotic flavor to his late-14th-century poetry. Chaucer cited them because they were the great medical authorities of the ancient world—physicians whose textbooks were being used in European medical schools and would continue to be used for centuries to come.

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