ʿEMĀD-AL-DĪN MAḤMŪD b. Serāj-al-Dīn Masʿūd ŠĪRĀZĪ, the most prominent member of a 16th-century family of physicians in Shiraz. His grandfather, also named ʿEmād-al-Dīn Maḥmūd, had been physician to Shah Esmāʿīl I (r. 907-30/1501-24). The younger ʿEmād-al-Dīn Maḥmūd studied medicine with his father and taught a number of students himself. Early in his career ʿEmād-al-Dīn Maḥmud was in the service of ʿAbd-Allāh Khan Ostājlū, governor of Šīrvān. After incurring the governor’s wrath, he received the punishment of spending one night outdoors in the cold and snow. He resorted to opium during that night and, although he recovered from the immediate effects of the cold, he had a tremor (raʿša) for the remainder of his life (Eskandar Beg, I, p. 168; Richter-Bernburg, p. 106). He became an afyūnī, opium-eater, convinced of the therapeutic value of opium. Following twenty years of practice, he was retained in direct service to Shah Ṭahmāsb (r. 930-84/1524-76). Later he was appointed physician-in-residence at a hospital in Mašhad, where he spent the remainder of his life. The precise date of his death is unknown.

He composed an Arabic pharmacopoeia of compound remedies, titled the Ketāb al-morakkabāt al-šāhīya and dedicated it to Shah Ṭahmāsb. In this work he provides various autobiographical details. In 973/1565-66 he wrote a commentary in Arabic on the anatomical portions of the Ketāb al-qānūn fi’l-ṭebb by Avicenna (q.v.; Zillurrahman, pp. 15-16) and later an Arabic monograph on anatomy (Ḥaddād and Biesterfeldt, pp. 125-26, no. 89), both dependent upon the 7th/13th-century anatomical writings of Ebn al-Nafīs.

In 977/1569, while in Mašhad, he composed the first Persian monograph on syphilis (Resāla-yeātašak). He also wrote an important treatise in Persian on China root (čūb-e čīnī), the rhizome of an Old World species of smilax found in eastern Asia and advocated for the treatment of syphilis (See DĀRČĪNĪ). A second treatise on the subject (Resāla-ye čūb-e čīnī), in which the author speaks of twenty years’ experience in India, is often falsely attributed to him (Storey, II, p. 242). Reflecting his own experience, he wrote a treatise in Persian on the medical and addictive properties of opium (Resāla-ye afyūn). His other preserved Persian writings include works on the bezoar stone (Resāla-ye pāzahr), on cupping (q.v.), and on poisons and antidotes (Resāla-ye somūm), as well as a general medical manual (Setta żarūrīya ṭebbīya). Early modern European influence can be seen in many of these medical writings, although it is not certain whether particular treatises should be attributed to the younger physician or his grandfather.


Bibliography (for cited works not given in detail, see “Short References”):

M.-T. Dānešpažūh, “Āṯār-e ʿEmād-al-Dīn Maḥmūd Šīrāzī” in Kongra-ye taḥqīqāt-e īrānī, ed. M. Rowšan, 2 vols., I, Tehran, 1352 Š./1973, pp. 486-95.

C. Elgood, A Medical History of Persia and the Eastern Caliphate from the Earliest Times until the Year 1932, Cambridge, 1951; repr. with corrections, Amsterdam, 1979, pp. 379-82.

Idem, Safavid Medical Practice or The Practice of Medicine, Surgery and Gynaecology in Persia between 1500 A.D. and 1750 A.D., London, 1970, pp. 21-25, 45-46, 50-53.

Emād-al-Dīn Maḥmūd Esfahānī, Resāla dar bayān-e ḵawāṣṣ o manfaʿat-ečūb-e čīnī, tr. C. Elgood as “A Treatise on the Bezoar Stone by the late Mahmud ibn Masud the Imad-ul-Din the Physician of Ispahan,” Annals of Medical History, N.S. 7, 1935, pp. 73-80.

Idem, Resāla-ye ātašak, tr. C. Elgood as “A Persian Monograph on Syphilis,” Annals of Medical History, N.S. 3, 1931, pp. 465-86.

Ethé, Catalogue, nos. 2313-14.

F. S. Ḥaddād and H. H. Biesterfeldt, Fehres al-maḵṭūṭāt al-ṭebbīya al-ʿarabīya fī maktabat al-doktūr Sāmī Ebrāhīm Ḥaddād, Aleppo, 1984, pp. 125-26.

F. Keshavarz, A Descriptive and Analytical Catalogue of Persian Manuscripts in the Library of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London, 1986, pp. 218-19, 324-25.

Monzawī, Nosḵahā I, pp. 461-62, 469, 473-75, 485, 494, 549, 574, 579, 594, 597, 602, 611.

L. Richter-Bernburg, Persian Medical Manuscripts at the University of California, Los Angeles: A Descriptive Catalogue, Malibu, 1978, pp. 104-14.

Rieu, Persian Manuscripts II, pp. 474, 844.

Storey, II, pp. 241-44.

H. S. Zillurrahman, “Ḥakīm ʿImāduddīn Shīrāzī,” Studies in History of Medicine and Science 9, 1985, pp. 15-21.

(Emilie Savage-Smith)

Originally Published: December 15, 1998

Last Updated: December 13, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. VIII, Fasc. 4, pp. 381-382