Muhammad’s Alleged Illness – 4: Schizophrenia

Armin Geus (1937–) Armin Geus was a professor of medicine history in Marburg, Germany, from 1973 to 2002. He has a PhD in biology, but was not a psychologist, psychiatrist or physician. Nor did he know Arabic; to work on the biography of Muhammad he was therefore dependent on translations of old texts.  A significant part … Continue reading Muhammad’s Alleged Illness – 4: Schizophrenia

Muhammad’s Alleged Illness – 3: Acromegaly

Sequel to: Muhammad's alleged disease - 2: hysteria Herman Somers (1921-2004)The biographical information I found about this author is not very solid, so I present it with reservations. Somers was not a physician, but had a PhD in psychology. He worked in Leuven (Belgium), although not at the university. He was initially a Jesuit, but … Continue reading Muhammad’s Alleged Illness – 3: Acromegaly

Muhammad’s Alleged Illness – 2: Hysteria

Back to Mohammed's Alleged Illness – 1: Epilepsy For centuries Europeans believed that Muhammad suffered from epilepsy. In modern times this diagnosis was no longer heard, but in the eyes of some Europeans, the prophet had nevertheless been chronically ill. I intend to discuss three people who managed to posthumously discover a disease in the … Continue reading Muhammad’s Alleged Illness – 2: Hysteria

Muhammad’s Alleged Illness – 1: Epilepsy

The Prophet Muhammad must have enjoyed vigorous health. After all, he founded a community, spread a message, endured opposition, waged military expeditions and wars, established a state and much more. A sickly man would not have been able to achieve so much. None of the numerous ancient Arabic texts about Muhammad reports anything about a … Continue reading Muhammad’s Alleged Illness – 1: Epilepsy

Another Orient: Guibert of Nogent

Where is the Orient? In an earlier contribution I made clear that the Orient is mainly a product of the European mind. Which Europeans were the first to speak of the Orient as a foreign and completely different part of the world? That the ancient Greeks, notably the Athenians, would have considered the Persians as … Continue reading Another Orient: Guibert of Nogent

Monkey Stories

‘Those natives are monkeys!’ – this equation was often heard in the European colonies. In their hearts the speakers knew better than that; they just felt like saying something unfriendly. But the idea that the ‘natives’ were nearly animals, a lesser species, was generally accepted.1 Often enough, they were said to have no soul— which for … Continue reading Monkey Stories

The Pubic Hairdresser

The Syrian knight Usāma ibn Munqidh (1095-1188) experienced the Crusader states in Palestine and parts of Syria and was personally in contact with a number of Christian knights. He had no high opinion of Europeans: although their courage was admirable, he found their culture and civilisation primitive. No wonder, for in his time Arab-Islamic civilisation … Continue reading The Pubic Hairdresser