, called also Albubecar Mohamed, one of the most distinguished of the
, called also Albubecar Mohamed, one of the most distinguished of the Arabian physicians, was born at Rei, in the province of Chorosan, about the year 852. He was first much addicted to music, and is said not to have studied medicine until he was thirty years of age, when he removed to Bagdad, became indefatigable in his application, and having obtained the highest reputation, was selected out of a hundred eminent physicians, who were then resident at Bagdad, to superintend the celebrated hospital of that city. His biographers speak of him as the Galen of the Arabians; and from his long life and constant practice, during which he paid the most assiduous attention to the varieties of disease, he obtained the appellation of the experimenter, or the experienced. He was said also to be profoundly skilled in all the sciences, especially in philosophy, astronomy, and music. He travelled much in pursuit of knowledge, and made frequent journies into Persia, his native country, and was much consulted by several princes, particularly by Almanzor, the chief of Chorasan, with whom he frequently corresponded, and to whom he dedicated several of his writings. Two hundred and twenty-six treatises are said to have been composed by Rhazes, among which the ten books addressed to his patron Almanzor, were designed as a complete body of physic, and may be deemed the great magazine of all the Arabian medicine; the ninth book, indeed, which treats of the cure of diseases, was in such general estimation for several centuries, that it was the text-book of the public schools, and was commented upon by the most learned professors. Yet, like the rest of the Arabian writings, it contains very little more than the substance of the works of the Greeks, from whom the Arabians borrowed almost all their medical knowledge. They have, indeed, and Rhazes in particular, given the first distinct account of the small-pox; and Rhazes wrote also the first treatise ever composed respecting the diseases of children. His book on the affections of the joints contains an account of some remarkable cures, effected chiefly by copious blood-letting. He describes the symptoms of hydrophobia very well; and also some diseases peculiar to eastern countries, and first noticed the disease called spina ventosa. Rhazes had the reputation of being a skilful alchemist; and is the first, as Dr. Freind has shewn, who mentions the use of chemical preparations in medicine. He has a chapter on the qualifications of a physician; and a singular tract on quacks and impostors, who appear to have been at least as numerous, and ingenious in their contrivances as in more recent times.