The edition will be based mainly on the following manuscripts: Madrid, Escorial, ms. árabe 804 (E); Madrid, Escorial, ms. árabe 805 (S); Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, ms. B135 sup. (M); Istanbul, Süleymaniye Kütüphanesi, Ayasofya 3592 (K). Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, ms. 2846 fonds arabe (B), a direct copy of M, will only be used occasionally. David Colville, the scribe of M, used E, but he also preserves other variant readings.
contains Galen's Commentary on Books 1 (fols. 1v-43r), 2 (fols. 43v-127v), and 3 (fols. 128r-182v); cf. Casiri (1760-70: i. 249-251, no. 800) and Renaud (1941: 18-19, no. 804). It is written in a maghribi hand and has section headings in Judaeo-Arabic and Hebrew in the margins by what is perhaps a fifteenth-century hand; unfortunately, they are often cut off. The manuscript itself is undated, but appears to have been written during a time period similar to Madrid, Escorial, ms. árabe 805 (S), which is dated to 607 AH (corresponding to 1210/11 CE).
contains Galen's Commentary on Book 6; cf. Renaud (1941: 19-20, no. 805). It is also written in a maghribi hand. In addition to corrections and additions in the hand of David Colville, the scribe of manuscript M below, the marginal annotations include chapter headings. In the colophon at the end (fol. 195r), the text is dated to the year 607 AH (1210/11 CE).
contains Galen's Commentaries on Book 2 (fols. 1r-83v) and the last two and a half parts of Book 6 (fols. 85r-117v). These are the the parts of the Commentary on Book 6 that are no longer extant in Greek. The manuscript also contains Hunayn's Summaries in question-and-answer format on the same parts of the Commentary (fols. 119r-131v and 133r-144v, respectively). As can be seen from the colophon, the Scottish scholar and monk David Colville produced this manuscript in 1624 (Löfgren and Traini 1975-95: i. 66-7, no. 105). According to his own words (M fol. 1r), he produced his copy of Galen's Commentary on Book 2 "from a number of manuscripts" (e pluribus exemplaribus) he found in the Escorial Library. From a late 16th-century catalogue of the library, we know that the Escorial held at least two manuscripts of this part of the text (Morata 1934: 106-7, 147). The use of the word pluribus would suggest that Colville had access to other manuscripts as well; E is one of the manuscripts on which he drew to produce his own, but in the margins, he often adduces variant readings which appear to have come from one or more additional manuscripts. We have therefore reason to assume that he had at least one additional manuscript at his disposal. It is therefore not true that, as Pfaff implicitly claimed for B (a nineteenth-century partial copy of M), "substantial variants do not occur at all" and that the "marginal notes are only concerned with words which are difficult to read" (CMG V 10,1: xxxii).
Of significant importance for the textual transmission of Galen's Commentary on Book 2 and the last parts of the Commentary on Book 6 is also Hunayn's abridgment in question-and-answer format, known as the Questions on the Epidemics (Masa'il al-Abidhimiya) and also called Summaries of the Epidemics (Jawami' al-Abidhimiya) in M. Since, with the notable exception of Bryson (2000: 35-7), this text has attracted little scholarly attention, it is useful briefly to describe it and to explain its importance for the present project. In his Questions on the Epidemics, Hunayn provides a digest of Galen's interpretation of various cases reported in the Epidemics. He selects the most important parts of Galen's comments and rearranges them in a way which is easy to remember. The material is further divided into questions and answers which also facilitates its absorption and shows that he clearly intended it to be used for didactic purposes. Hunayn originally wrote this abridgment in Syriac, and his pupil Isa ibn Yahya (fl. c. 850s) rendered it into Arabic. When comparing the Arabic version of the Questions with Hunayn's own Arabic version of Galen's Commentary, it is evident that Isa used the latter to produce the former by quoting certain passages verbatim. The Questions therefore represent an important secondary source for the constitution of Hunayn's version.
- a partial copy of M, containing the Commentaries on Books 2 and 6 also preserved in ms. M, but not Hunayn's Summaries. In his catalogue of the Arabic manuscript collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, De Slane (1883-95) already noted that it was "a modern copy of the ms. of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan" (i.e. M).
contains parts 3, 4 and 6 of the Commentary on Book 2; cf. Ihsanoglu et al. (1984: 2) and Hallum et al. (2012). The undated manuscript is written in a legible but sparsely dotted naskh script. The text contained in K forms part of the same textual tradition E and M belong to, but on occasion offers better readings and a more reliable text.
Two eminent Islamic medical scholars, Ibn Ridwan (d. ca. 1061) and Ibn al-Nafis, serve as crucial secondary witnesses to the text of the commentary and the Hippocratic lemmata. Ibn Ridwan excerpted a substantial amount of material from the commentaries on the Epidemics, and Ibn al-Nafis wrote his own commentary on the Hippocratic Epidemics, based on lemmata excerpted from the translation of Galen's Commentary. Neither of these sources has been published. The former is extant in Cambridge, University Library, ms. Dd. 12. 1 (fols. 127v-196v; cf. Sezgin 1970: 35), the latter in Istanbul, Süleymaniye Kütüphanesi, ms. Ayasofya 3642 (abbreviated in our edition with the siglum A) and Cairo, Dar al-Kutub al-Misriya, ms. 583 Tibb Tal'at (cf. al-Munajjim 1959: 270). The Cairo copy of Ibn al-Nafis' commentary is either a direct copy of the former or at least represents a very similar branch of the textual tradition (Bachmann 1971: 304).
In addition to these secondary sources, we have an additional witness for the Hippocratic lemmata of Book 1: Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, ms. 6734 fonds arabe (cf. Blochet 1925: 350-351, no. 6734; it as the siglum P). The manuscript is written in a large, inelegant naskh script, dotting is almost completely absent. The colophon of another text in the same manuscript (fol. 92v), written in the same hand, identifies the scribe as a certain Bahnam ibn Haddad and notes the date 602 AH (1205 CE).
The Greek text of Galen's Commentary on the Hippocratic Epidemics 1, 2 and 6, edited in three parts as volume V 10,1 and V 10,2,1-2 of the Corpus Medicorum Graecorum, is of great significance for editing the Arabic translation. Its importance for the present project is further increased by the fact that we only have a limited number of manuscripts for the commentary, especially for Books 1 and 6, both extant in a single manuscript. To provide classicists with a tool to evaluate for themselves the state of the Arabic tradition, the English version will be based on the Arabic text. Where the Greek text is extant and where there are significant differences between the Greek and the Arabic versions, we will record those in the notes.