Emilie Savage-Smith


Retired Professor of the History of Islamic Science 

Faculty / College Address:

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies / St Cross College



Research Interests:

  • Islamic science, medicine, and magic


  • A Literary History of Medicine: The Best Accounts of the Classes of Physicians by Ibn Abi Usaybiʿah (d. 1270). A University of Oxford/University of Warwick joint project to edit, translate, comment upon the entire treatise. PI: E. Savage-Smith. Funded by a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award in Medical Humanities (2013-2017)
  • Medieval Medicine in Board and Card Games. Joint project with the Museum of the History of Science. PI: E. Savage-Smith. Public Engagement Provision grant from Wellcome Trust (2015–2017).
  • The Raised-Up Roof and the Laid-Down BedStars, Maps and History in Medieval Islam  (with Y. Rapoport)

Recent Publications:

  • An Eleventh-Century Egyptian Guide to the Universe: The ‘Book of Curiosities’, edited with an annotated translation, by Yossef Rapoport and Emilie Savage-Smith   (Leiden:  Brill, 2014).
  • ‘The Universality and Neutrality of Science’. In: Universality in Islamic Thought: Rationalism, Science and Religious Belief, ed. Michael Morony (London: I. B. Tauris, 2014), pp. 157–192.
  • ‘Cartography’.  In:  A Companion to Mediterranean History, ed. Peregrine Horden and Sharon Kinoshita (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014), pp. 184–199.
  • ‘The Most Authoritative Copy of ʿAbd al-Rahman al-Sufi’s Tenth-century Guide to the Constellations’, In: God is Beautiful; He Loves Beauty: The Object in Islamic Art and Culture, ed. by Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), pp. 122–155.
  • ‘Were the Four Humours Fundamental to Medieval Islamic Medical Practice?’ In: The Body in Balance: Humoral Theory in Practice, ed. by Elisabeth Hsu and Peregrine Horden (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2013), PP. 89–106.
  • ‘Medicine in Medieval Islam’  InThe Cambridge History of Science. Vol. 2: Medieval Science, ed. by D. Lindberg and M.H. Shank (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 140–167.
  • A New Catalogue of Arabic Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, Volume 1: Medicine  (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).
  • ‘Modern Palimpsests: What defines a fake?’. In:Metalwork and Material Culture in the Islamic WorldArt, Craft and Text. Essays presented to James W. Allan, ed. Venetia Porter and Mariam Rosser-Owen (London: I. B. Tauris, 2012), pp. 409–22.
  • 'The Working Files of Rhazes: Are the Jamiʿ and the Hawi Identical?' In: Medieval Arabic Thought. Essays in Honour of Fritz Zimmermann, ed., Rotraud Hansberger, M. Afifi al-Akiti, and Charles Burnett [Warburg Studies and Texts, 4]. London: Warburg Institute, 2012, pp. 163–180.
  • ‘Curatorial Issues and Research Questions: Current Research on Western Medieval Manuscripts and Oriental Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library’ (with co-authors S. Neate and R. Ovenden). In: The Technological Study of Books and Manuscripts as ArtefactsResearch questions and analytical solutions, ed. S. Neate, D. Howell, R. Ovenden, A. M. Pollard. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, 2011, pp. 3–7.
  • The Key to Medicine and a Guide for Students, by Abu al-Faraj ʿAli ibn al-Husayn ibn Hindu. Translated by Aida Tibi and Reviewed by E. Savage-Smith [The Great Books of Islamic Civilization Series]. Reading: Garnet Publishing, 2010.
  • 'Ibn Baklarish in the Arabic tradition of synonymatic texts and tabular presentations'.  In:  Ibn Baklarish’s Book of SimplesMedical Remedies between Three Faiths in Twelfth-Century Spain, ed. C. Burnett. London: The Arcadian Library in association with Oxford University Press, 2008. pp. 113-131.
  • 'Anatomical Illustration in Arabic Manuscripts'. In: Arab Painting: Text and Image in Illustrated Arabic Manuscripts, ed. A. Contadini. Leiden: Brill, 2007, pp. 147−59 and Figs. 1-6.

Full Publications

Further Info:

  • Fellow, The British Academy
  • Section Editor (Science & Medicine) for The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Three
  • Co-Editor, series "Islamic Philosophy, Theology, and Science" (Leiden: Brill)
  • Editorial Board, Magic, Ritual & Witchcraft
  • Editorial Advisor, The James Lind Library
  • Advisory Board, Suhayl
  • President, Society for the History of Medieval Technology and Science

Photograph of Emilie Savage-Smith