When Syriac scholar Dr Gregory Kessel first handled the ancient medicinal manuscript “On the Mixtures and Powers of Simple Drugs,” he immediately knew he had encountered it before. Kessel recalled a stray page at a Harvard library that looked eerily similar and, it turns out, it was one of seven missing pages from the influential text. An ensuing international page-hunt provided five more strays leaving just one (most likely blank) page left. Now that it’s complete, scholars are looking to compare the Syriac version of “Simple Drugs” to its Greek copies in order to understand how Greek remedies spread across the Middle East.
Ancient Manuscript Reveals Medicine’s Beginnings