Rare copy of Avicenna’s “Canon of Medicine” stolen in Hamedan

May 18, 2009

TEHRAN -- A rare copy of the book “The Canon of Medicine” written by Avicenna, the Iranian physician and the most famous and influential of the philosopher-scientists of Islam, has been stolen from a museum adjacent to his mausoleum in Hamedan.

The report was announced on Saturday by a journalist during a press conference attended by the Hamedan Cultural, Tourism and Handicrafts Department Director Asadollah Bayat.
Bayat unavoidably approved the story after he was asked about the accuracy of the report.
“The question is not a gesture of goodwill,” he said. “The question should not be asked, if it is against an institution.”
Bayat bizarrely described the theft as “natural” and said, “A copy of ‘The Canon of Medicine’ on display at the mausoleum of Avicenna was stolen and no trace of any thief has been detected yet.”
“Two guards of the museum’s security command were present at the time of the robbery. Thus, initially they should be able to explain how the robbery occurred,” he added.
According to Bayat, Hamedan Province is home to 1773 ancient and historical sites while only 62 guards are assigned to safeguard them.
“The mausoleum of Avicenna was not equipped with an emergency power system until last year. It’s no wonder that the robbery happened,” he noted.
No further details about the robbery were given.
“The Canon of Medicine” (Al-Qanun fi at-Tibb) is the principal medical work of Avicenna (980-1037). It became a classic and was used at many medical schools -- at Montpellier, Fr., as late as 1650 -- and is still used in the East.
Avicenna is buried at Hamedan in west-central Iran and his tomb is the symbol of the city.