It’s no secret that in Armenian society, medicine has long occupied a special place. After all, one of the most widespread positive stereotypes about Armenians is the high image of Armenian doctors. The special interest of Armenians in sciences, particularly medicine, has been captured in history in the form of a colossal layer of diverse knowledge in various scientific disciplines.
One of the most famous Armenian scholars of the Middle Ages was outstanding doctor and natural scientist Amirdovlat Amasiatsi (of Amasia, 1420-1496).
Amirdovlat was born into an Armenian family in the territory of the Ottoman Empire in ancient Amasia, once the capital of the Pontic kingdom. Expanding his knowledge, the young scientist has extensively traveled throughout the empire – from Iran and Armenia to the Balkans. In Constantinople, he completed his education.
Amirdovlat’s phenomenal talent as a healer would soon play a cruel joke on him. His rapidly growing popularity exalted him at the court of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II. However, such rapid success for an Armenian created intrigues, as a result of which Amasiatsi was expelled from Constantinople for a decade.
It is worth noting that the wanderings of Amirdovlat were not in vain. They additionally expanded his knowledge in various fields of medicine, especially in the study of medicinal plants.
Amirdovlat’s exile was interrupted by the Black Death which was at that time rampant in the Balkans.
Sultan Mehmed, having seen the horrors of the plague and realizing the importance of Amirdovlat, summoned the outstanding doctor. Amirdovlat, as before, rapidly gained authority and regained his position at the Ottoman court, retaining it until his death.
The great healer died in old age in 1496 surrounded by his students, leaving to mankind his significant works in anatomy, pathology, hygiene (“The Lore of Medicine”), pharmaceutics (“Akhrabadin”), surgery (“On Disease Symptoms”), pharmacognosy (“Useless for Ignoramuses”), and many other disciplines that made his memory immortal.
Amirdovlat paid special attention to the issue of the impact of emotions on physical health – the direction of medicine today called psychosomatic medicine.
As is characteristic of geniuses, the interests of Amirdovlat were not limited to medicine. On the contrary, many of his works were devoted to philosophy, zoology, astronomy, geography, and mineralogy. Truly, human genius knows no bounds.
Valery Kolunts, special correspondent of Antitopor