A Brief Overview of History of Medicine in Iran. Mehran Moghaddam, Ph.D. Signal Pharmaceuticals, LLC A wholly owned subsidiary of Celgene Corporation March 7, 2007. If you don’t know where you’ve been…. Main sources of Information: Medicine in Persia by Cyril Elgood, M.D. (1892), and
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Mehran Moghaddam, Ph.D.
Signal Pharmaceuticals, LLC
A wholly owned subsidiary of Celgene Corporation
March 7, 2007
Main sources of Information:
Medicine in Persia by Cyril Elgood, M.D. (1892), and
Considering all the negative propaganda about Iran and Iranians these days, it is critical to know about our heritage and who we really are. Of interest to this presentation is the role Iranians have played in the development of medical sciences.
Let’s go back to the beginnings of Iran as a unified multicultural country. The above map shows that Iranian borders extended into three continents of Africa, Europe and Central Asia, 25 centuries ago. Clearly, in an Empire that large and as prosperous as Achaemenid (Hakhamaneshi) Iran, there was a need for a healthcare system during times of peace and war. This role was originally entrusted to the Magi, the Zoroastrian (Zarthushti) priests.
“Wise Men of the East” in Romanesque mosaic from the Basilica of St Apollinarius in Ravenna, Italy.
Gothic depiction of the adoration of the Magi from Strasbourg CathedralThe Magi – Zorastrian Priests(Etymology of the word “Magic”)(Birth of Zoroasterianism to 622 A.D.)
Diseases were thought to be caused by the evil and the solution to that
was provided by the good spirit. The Magi had a knowledge of medicinal properties
It appears that surgeries took place in ancient Iran. Furthermore, there were
rules and regulations for practice of medicine.
By moving forward about 1000 years we can develop a better understanding of pre-Islamic practice of medicine in Iran.
Iranian capital for ~800 years. Measuring about 30
square kilometers, it was known as the largest city in the
world from 570-637 A.D. (Wikipedia)
During the Sassanid (Sasanian)
era, Iran had been restored to its previous grandeur. By 610 A.D., Ctesiphon (Tisfun), around 20 miles south of today’s Baghdad had been the capital of Iran for 800 years and Jundi Shapur had develped into a medical and industrial center.
With demise of the Iranian Sassanid empire and inception of Islamic era, the 800
year old capital of Iran, once the largest city in the world, fell to ruins (left). With
gradual destruction of Jundi Shapur (right), the center of learning shifted to Baghdad
A large percentage of the most prominent figures responsible for the development of “Arabian Medicine” were Persians. The fact that they assumed Arabic names (probably a wise decision considering Iranians were second class citizens in their own country) and wrote in Arabic (or else their writing would become obsolete and remain largely unread in the Islamic Empire) caused a confusion about the ethnicity of these prominent physicians.
I recommend that in order to remember these names, you simplify them as follows:
Jabir Ibn Hayyan = Hayyan, Mohammad Ibn Zakarya Razi = Razi …..
VeinsSina’s Contributions (continued)
He was referred to as Jurjani because in the Arabic alphabet there are no letter
to sound like “گ”. Another example: Nargess was called Narjess.
No more prominent names due to sparse Activity
in the medical field!
I hope that once again we witness presence of Iranians as the leaders in the fields of medicine and pharmaceutical sciences in the near future
For more information on Iranian Scientist, please look up: