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The edition is based mainly on the following manuscripts: Madrid, Escorial, árabe 804 (E); Madrid, Escorial, árabe 805 (S); Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, B135 sup. (M); Istanbul, Süleymaniye, Ayasofya 3592 (K). Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, arabe 2846 (B), is a direct copy of M and therefore of very limited value for establishing the text of the Epidemics commentary. David Colville, the scribe of M, used E, but he also preserves other variant readings.



contains Galen's Commentary on Books 1 (fols. 1v–43r), 2 (fols. 43v–127v), and 3 (fols. 128r–182v); cf. Casiri (1760–1770, I 249–251, no. 800) and Renaud (1941, 18–19, no. 804). It is written in a maġribī hand and has section headings in Judaeo-Arabic and Hebrew in the margins by what is perhaps a fifteenth-century hand; they are unfortunately often cut off. The manuscript itself is undated but appears to have been written during a time period similar to Madrid, Escorial, árabe 805 (S), which is dated to 607 AH (corresponding to 1210/11 CE).


contains Galen's Commentary on Book 6; cf. Renaud (1941, 19–20, no. 805). It is also written in a maġribī hand. In addition to corrections and additions in the hand of David Colville, the scribe of manuscript M below, the marginal annotations include chapter headings. In the colophon at the end (fol. 195r) the text is dated to the year 607 AH (1210/11 CE).


contains Galen's Commentaries on Book 2 (fols. 1r–83v) and the last two and a half parts of Book 6 (fols. 85r–117v). These are the the parts of the Commentary on Book 6 that are no longer extant in Greek. The manuscript also contains Ḥunayn's Summaries in question-and-answer format on the same parts of the Commentary (fols. 119r–131v and 133r–144v, respectively). As can be seen from the colophon, the Scottish scholar and monk David Colville produced this manuscript in 1624 (Löfgren and Traini 1975–1995, I 66–67, no. 105). According to his own words (M fol. 1r), he produced his copy of Galen's Commentary on Book 2 "from a number of manuscripts" (e pluribus exemplaribus) he found in the Escorial Library. From a late 16th-century catalogue of the library we know that the Escorial held at least two manuscripts of this part of the text (Morata 1934, 106–107, 147). The use of the word pluribus would suggest that Colville had access to other manuscripts as well; E is one of the manuscripts on which he drew to produce his own, but in the margins he often adduces variant readings which appear to have come from at least one additional manuscript. It is therefore not true that, as Pfaff implicitly claimed for B (a nineteenth-century partial copy of M), "substantial variants do not occur at all" and that "the marginal notes are only concerned with words which are difficult to read" (CMG V 10,1, xxxii).

Of significant importance for the textual transmission of Galen's Commentary on Book 2 and the last parts of the Commentary on Book 6 is also Ḥunayn's abridgment in question-and-answer format, known as the Questions on the Epidemics (Masāʾil al-Abīḏīmiyā) and also called Summaries of the Epidemics (Ǧawāmiʿ al-Abīḏīmiyā) in M. Since, with the notable exception of Bryson (2000, 35–37), this text has attracted little scholarly attention, it is useful briefly to describe it and to explain its importance for the present project. In his Questions on the Epidemics, Ḥunayn provides a digest of Galen's interpretation of various cases reported in the Epidemics. He selects the most important parts of Galen's comments, rearranges them and turns them into questions and answers, which shows that he intended the text to be used for didactic purposes. Ḥunayn originally wrote this abridgment in Syriac, and his pupil ʿĪsā ibn Yaḥyā (fl. c. 850s) rendered it into Arabic. When comparing the Arabic version of the Questions with Ḥunayn's own Arabic version of Galen's Commentary, it is evident that ʿĪsā used the latter to produce the former by quoting certain passages verbatim. The Questions therefore represent an important secondary source for the constitution of Ḥunayn's version.


a partial copy of M, containing the Commentaries on Books 2 and 6 also preserved in M, but not Ḥunayn's Summaries. The catalogue of the Arabic manuscript collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, De Slane (1883–95), already noted that it was "a modern copy of the ms. of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan" (i.e. M).


contains parts 3, 4 and 6 of the Commentary on Book 2; cf. İhsanoğlu et al. (1984, 2) and Hallum et al. (2012). The undated manuscript is written in a legible but sparsely dotted nasḫ script. The text contained in K forms part of the same textual tradition E and M belong to but occasionally offers better readings and a more reliable text.

Two eminent Islamic medical scholars, Ibn Riḍwān (d. ca. 1061) and Ibn al-Nafīs, serve as crucial secondary witnesses to the text of the commentary and the Hippocratic lemmata. Ibn Riḍwān excerpted a substantial amount of material from the commentaries on the Epidemics, and Ibn al-Nafīs wrote his own commentary on the Hippocratic Epidemics, based on lemmata excerpted from the translation of Galen's Commentary. Neither of these sources has been published. The former is extant in Cambridge, University Library, Dd. 12. 1 (fols. 127v–196v; cf. Sezgin 1970, 35), the latter in Istanbul, Süleymaniye, Ayasofya 3642 (siglum A) and Cairo, Dār al-kutub al-miṣrīyah, Ṭalʿat ṭibb 583. The Cairo copy of Ibn al-Nafīs' commentary is either a direct copy of the former or at least represents a very similar branch of the textual tradition (Bachmann 1971: 304).

In addition to these secondary sources we have one more witness for the Hippocratic lemmata of Book 1: Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, arabe 6734 (cf. Blochet 1925, 350–351, no. 6734; siglum P). The manuscript is written in a large, inelegant nasḫ script, dotting is almost completely absent. The colophon of another text in the same manuscript (fol. 92v), written in the same hand, identifies the scribe as a certain Bahnām ibn Ḥaddād and notes the date 602 AH (1205 CE).


The Greek text of Galen's Commentary on the Hippocratic Epidemics 1, 2 and 6, edited in three parts as volume V 10,1 and V 10,2,1 and 2 of the Corpus Medicorum Graecorum, is of great significance for editing the Arabic translation. Its importance for the present project is further increased by the fact that we only have a limited number of manuscripts for the commentary, especially for Books 1 and 6, both extant in a single manuscript. To provide classicists with a tool to evaluate for themselves the state of the Arabic tradition, the English version will be based on the Arabic text. Where the Greek text is extant and where there are significant differences between the Greek and the Arabic versions, these are recorded in the notes.