1796 Am J Psychiatry 158:11, November 2001 Images in Psychiatry Avicenna, 980–1037 H ow I wish I could know who I am, What it is in the world that I seek. The Persian genius Ebne Sina, known in the West as Avicenna, who was revered as the “prince and chief of physicians” and “the second teacher after Aristotle,” wrote about 450 works, of which 240 have survived. Some of these works were written during his imprisonment due to political oppression. Avicenna’s genius was not restricted to medicine, and he mas-tered many other scientific fields. For example, he invented an in-strument for observing the coordinates of a star and correctly stated that the velocity of light is finite. His Book of Healing, a vast philosophical and scientific ency-clopedia (including psychology), is probably the largest of its kind ever written by one man. His Canon of Medicine (1) is perhaps the most influential text-book ever written. Its million words were the medical Bible for 600 years thereafter in Asia and Europe. Canon of Medicine
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