But public opinion will probably agree in naming three persons as having claim to the highest rank in Arab learning. They are Al-Kindi, Al-Farabi, and Ali-ibn Sina, commonly called Avicenna.
Ali-bin Ridhwan, Al-Ghazali, Ibn Bajah (Avempace), and Ibn Rashid (Averroes) have also their claims to be considered, while Thalab bin Korra, Kosta bin Luka, Al-Tavhidi, and Al-Majridi were also all eminent men. A few details will be given about the first seven of the names just mentioned.
Yakub-bin Ishak Al-Kindi, the philosopher of the Arabs, known in Europe by the corrupted name of Alchendius, possessed an encyclopędic mind, and being himself a living encyclopędia, he composed one of all the sciences. He divided philosophy into three branches, the mathematical, the physical, and the ethical.
He declared the nullity of alchemy, which Ibn Sina had again brought to honourable notice, till the physician Abdul Latif declaimed against it. But Al-Kindi was not sufficiently advanced to write against astrology, which is still in full force all over the East even in our own times.
Only one of his works has as yet been published in Europe, and that treats on the composition of medicines, though we possess the titles of not less than two hundred and thirty-four works composed by him on a variety of subjects. He died A.D. 861.