Serapion, John

, or John the son of Serapion, an Arabian physician, lived between the time of Mesne and Rhazes, and was probably the first writer on physic in the Arabic language. Haly Abbas, when giving an account of the works of his countrymen, describes the writings of Ser.ipion, as containing only an account of the cure of diseases, without any precepts concerning the preservation of health, or relating to surgery; and he makes many critical observations, which, Dr. Freind observes, are sufficient proofs of the genuine existence of the works ascribed to Serapion, from their truth and correctness. Rhazes also

1

Eloy, —Dict. Hist. de Medecine.- Rces’s Cyclopædia,

| quotes them frequently in his “Continent.” Serapion must have lived towards the middle of the ninth century, and not in the reign of Leo Isaurus, about the year 730, as some have stated. One circumstance remarkable in Serapion, Dr. Freind observes, is, that he often transcribes the writings of Alexander Trailian, an author with whom few of the other Arabians appear to be much acquainted. This work of Serapion has been published, in translations, by Gerard of Cremona, under the title of “Practica, Dicta Breviarum;” and by Torinus, under that of “Therapeutica Methodus.” There is another Serapion, whom Sprengel calls the younger, and places 180 years later than the former, and who was probably the author of a work on the materia medica, entitled “De Medicamentis tarn simplicibus, quam compositis.” This work hears intrinsic evidence of being produced at a much later period, since authors are quoted who lived much posterior to Rhazes. 1
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Ireind’s Hist, of Physic. Rees’s Cyclopædia,