Vol. 126 No. 1 (2022)
Original Article

“De oculis”, a chapter on ocular anatomy by Constantinus Africanus

Barend F. Hogewind
Department of Ophthalmology, Medical Centre Haaglanden, Lijnbaan 32, 2512VA The Hague
Françoise E. I. Hogewind
Christelijk Gymnasium Sorghvliet, Johan de Wittlaan 22, 2517 JR The Hague

Published 2022-09-21


  • Pantegni,
  • Constantine the African,
  • anatomy, history,
  • ophthalmology, history

How to Cite

Hogewind, B. F., & Hogewind, F. E. I. (2022). “De oculis”, a chapter on ocular anatomy by Constantinus Africanus. Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology, 126(1), 103–114. https://doi.org/10.36253/ijae-13351


Purpose: The publication of the compendium Pantegni by Constantinus Africanus in the monastery of Monte Cassino in the eleventh century CE was a pivotal moment in the history of medicine in Western Europe. The work is predominantly based on the Liber regalis by Haly Abbas (Baghdad, tenth century CE). The earliest available manuscript of the Pantegni (KB 73 J6) is handwritten and has been supervised by Constantinus himself. It includes a chapter on ocular anatomy. In this paper we try to distill the anatomic description by Constantinus.

Methods: The chapter “de oculis” on ocular anatomy as found in chapter 13 of book 3 in KB 73 J6 is interpreted in the historical context and translated into Modern English.

Results: We present an English translation of the concerning chapter.

Conclusion: Constantinus bequeathed a compact but comprehensive account of the anatomy of the eye, which can be rendered into a contemporary representation with use of the historical context.


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