Paul of Aegina

Also known by the name Paulus Aegineta, Paul of Aegina was a Greek physician who lived in the mid-7th Century AD. He was born in 625 AD on the island of Aegina and got the name Aegineta from his birthplace. He received his medical education at the University of Alexandria.

He was one of the most highly skilled physicians, especially in surgery and gynecology. Even today, most Islamic physicians consider him the most eminent of Greek medical authorities. Among the Byzantine physicians, he was the last and the most notable. He is characterized as the father of early medical writing and, for many years, his comprehensive works contained the sum of all Western medical knowledge, being unrivaled in their accuracy.

He practiced medicine in Alexandria and Rome. He stayed in Alexandria even after the Arabic invasions. The Arabs studied, translated, and were greatly influenced by his writings and works. His major work was an encyclopedia of medicine written in seven books. His sixth book focused mainly on surgery and became a milestone for future breakthroughs.

The book describes the different surgical processes and techniques practiced, while it also includes his observations and experience. He has very neatly explained how different conditions can be treated and how different operations are performed. His clear explanations in the book are enough to appreciate what a great physician he was.

The analysis provided about every topic is as complete as it is in any modern book of surgery and medicine. The surgical techniques he described do not differ much from the current techniques and are also very advanced if compared to the methods of that time.