Constantine the African


Constantine was a physician and Benedictine monk, born in Africa to a Muslim family. He became fluent in Greek, Latin and Arabic, and through his extensive travels learned additional languages of countries such as Syria, India, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Persia. He studied and taught medicine at the University of Salerno, in Salerno, Italy. There he was affiliated there with Europe's first organized medical school, and attracted attention for his translation and interpretation of ancient and Arabic medical texts of Galen and Avicenna. His translations became part of Salerno's medical curriculum.

Constantine remained but a few years in Salerno but eventually gave up his position there and his worldly goods to become a Benedictine monk in the monastery of Monte Cassino, about 75 miles northwest of Salerno, founded by St Benedict in 529, around 500 years earlier (480-543 AD). Constantine continued his translation work in Monte Cassino, converting some 37 books additional from Arabic into Latin.

Writings about Constantine the African

McVaugh, M. (1970). Constantine the African. C. C. Gillispie, ed., Dictionary of Scientific Biography, pp. 393-5.Vol. 3 New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.

Walsh, J.J. (1908). Constantine Africanus. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved April 14, 2011 from New Advent: