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Medical Knowledge in ʿAlī Ufuḳī’s Musical Notebook (Mid-17th Century)

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Captured by Tatars as a young man and sold to the Sultan’s court, the Polish-Ottoman court musician and interpreter ʿAlī Ufuḳī (Albert/Wojciech Bobowski, c. 1610–1675) was a bicultural personality with widespread interest in different areas of learning. His priceless notation collection (MS Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Turc 292) also contains a wealth of medical texts both European and Ottoman, copied or excerpted from existing sources, as well as personal notes and case descriptions. European and Ottoman medical knowledge is presented side by side as encountered and found worthwhile by ʿAlī Ufuḳī, who evidently had access to drugs and treated at least himself. Among a group of personal observations, case studies from plague outbreaks of the 1640s stand out for their historical importance. MS Turc 292 is the personal document of a transcultural personality capable of benefiting from a diverse environment that encouraged transfer and exchange of knowledge.

Affiliations: 1: Orient-Institut Istanbul


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