‘Experience shows that if ox-tongue is placed in wine until its strength is extracted, it greatly increases the joy and strengthens sexual intercourse.’

As the fame and fortune of Taqi al-Din Umar, an Islamic prince in Syria, grew his masculine vigour waned. In search of a cure he commissioned Moses Maimonides, whose fame as a philosopher and physician crossed the boundaries of faith, to write this treatise on sexual medicine and aphrodisiacs. Maimonides prescribed various concoctions to increase Taqi al-Din Umar’s vigour and recommended diets that avoided ‘cooling’ foods. But he also advised moderation, as the sexual act itself was ‘enfeebling’.

Fustat or Cairo, 12th century

Judaeo-Arabic, paper

T-S Ar.44.79