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Brill Launches Open Access Reference Work on the History of Medicine with the Wellcome Trust

Leiden / Boston / Paderborn / Singapore / Beijing – 30 January 2020

In conjunction with Oxford University and the Wellcome Trust, London, Brill proudly presents the new Open Access reference work A Literary History of Medicine - The ʿUyūn al-anbāʾ fī ṭabaqāt al-aṭibbāʾ of Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿah Online (LHOM). Thanks to the generous support of the Wellcome Trust, A Literary History of Medicine Online is freely accessible to all.

A Literary History of Medicine Online is the digital version of Brill’s A Literary History of Medicine - The ʿUyūn al-anbāʾ fī ṭabaqāt al-aṭibbāʾ of Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿah, edited and translated by Emilie Savage-Smith, Simon Swain and Geert Jan van Gelder, with Ignacio Sánchez, N. Peter Joosse, Alasdair Watson, Bruce Inksetter, and Franak Hilloowala. The work provides the first complete and annotated translation along with a new edition of the Arabic text showing the stages in which the author composed the work. Introductory essays provide important background.

Featured on Brill’s new and bespoke platform for text editions, Brill Scholarly Editions, LHOM offers a full-text searchable, complete, annotated translation along with a new edition of the celebrated, informative and entertaining history of medicine – the first of its kind – by Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿah (d. 1270), together with several introductory essays. The work is the earliest comprehensive history of medicine containing biographies of over 432 physicians, ranging from the ancient Greeks to the author’s contemporaries, describing their training and practice, often as court physicians, and listing their medical works; all this interlaced with poems and anecdotes.

Dr Jasmin Lange, Chief Publishing Officer at Brill, comments: “This outstanding publication is a perfect example of how scholars, funders and publishers work together to bring high-quality scholarship to every researcher that needs it. Reference works are key to advancing scholarship in the humanities. We are thankful to the Wellcome Trust for supporting this project which will spark and support many research projects on the history of medicine and beyond.”

Robert Kiley, Head of Open Research at Wellcome, added: “I am delighted that this reference work has been made freely available, so that everyone – scholars and non-scholars alike – can access this. The Literary History of Medicine will also be made available through PMC Bookshelf and Europe PMC, thus providing an opportunity to engage researchers working in very different disciplines”.

The LHOM is in particular of interest for scholars of the Greco-Roman legacy in Islam; ancient and medieval healthcare; Arabic literature and poetry; Christians and Jews in Islamic culture; and medieval history and society.

For more information please contact Ms. Stephanie Paalvast, Program Manager Open Access at Brill, via [email protected], or Ms. Kathy van Vliet-Leigh, sr. Acquisitions Editor at Brill, via [email protected].

About Brill
Founded in 1683 in Leiden, the Netherlands, Brill is a leading international academic publisher in Middle East and Islamic Studies, Asian Studies, Classical Studies, History, Biblical and Religious Studies, Languages & Linguistics, Literature & Cultural Studies, Philosophy, Biology, Education, Social Sciences and International Law. With offices in Leiden (NL), Boston (US), Paderborn (GER), Singapore (SG) and Beijing (CN), Brill today publishes over 300 journals and close to 1,400 new books and reference works each year, available in print and online. Brill also markets a large number of primary source research collections and databases. The company’s key customers are academic and research institutions, libraries, and scholars. Brill is a publicly traded company and is listed on Euronext Amsterdam NV. For further information, please visit

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