During restoration works in the library of St Catherine’s Monastery in South Sinai, Egypt, a medical manuscript dating to 6th century AD was discovered.
The discovery was made in the monastery of Saint Catherine which contains a library holding around 6000 manuscripts, among them 600 manuscripts written in Arabic, Greek, Ethiopian, Coptic, Armenian and Syriac. They are mainly historical, geographical and philosophical manuscripts with the oldest dating to the 4th century AD. Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities announced that the newly discovered manuscript is a palimpsest (a re-used manuscript on which the original text has been scraped or washed off so that the page can be reused for another one), darting to 6th century. It was written on leather and includes parts of a medical recipe of the renowned Greek physician Hippocrates and three other medical recipes written by an anonymous scribe, one of which contains drawings of medicinal herbs of the Greek recipe. The second layer of writing found on the manuscript is a text of the Bible known as the “Sinaitic manuscript”, which spread during the Middle Ages. According to experts the first layer of writing has been erased in order to be re-written on the leather again. This was possibly done due to high cost of leather at the time.
(after Ahram Online)