DIPLOMAS, CERTIFICATES AND LICENCES GIVEN BY THE MEDICAL SCHOOLS IN ISTANBUL (1853-1909)
During the early periods of the Ottoman Empire , one did not have to apprentice a master or get a certificate from a medical school to practice medicine, surgery and pharmacy. Mütetabbibs could easily and freely treat patients. Some of them even claimed that they inherited the medical profession from their fathers.
In 981 (1573) Sultan Selim II issued an edict in order to prevent persons who did not have adequate knowledge in medicine, surgery and drugs from harming the patients. In this edict addressed to the kadı (judge) of Istanbul , it was stated that people dwelling in some shops introduced themselves as surgeons, physicians and oculists and prescribed to the patients fatal medicines without scientific qualities. The edict banned them from acting as physicians unless examined by the chief physician.
Another edict dated 1001 (1592-93), addressed to the chief physician Yusuf Effendi prevented people without medical education from working as doctors, surgeons or oculists. A book dated 1111 (1700), containing the list of the physicians and surgeons who had passed the examinations by the chief physician and given licences, is available.
In 1840 the Meclis-i Umur-i Tıbbiye (Conseil des Affaires Médicales) was founded within the Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i Askeriye-i Şahane (École Impériale de Médecine Militaire). Some of the chief-physician's duties were assigned to this assembly. The first act of the assembly was to check the diplomas and licences of the physicians, surgeons, pharmacists, midwives and cooks working in Istanbul and deliver new licences to the appropriate ones.
The assembly issued important regulations concerning public health, medicine and pharmacy. The first of these was the Tababet-i Belediye İcrasına Dair Nizamname (Réglement sur l'exercise de la médecine civile en Turquie) dated 1861. The second was the Belediye İspençiyarlık Sanatının İcrasına Dair Nizamname (Réglement de la pharmacie civile) dated 1862. According to these regulations, to become a physician or a pharmacist, one had to receive a diploma from a medical school or achieve Ustalık icazetnamesi (Certificat de Maître) as well as Ruhsat tezkîresi (Permis de libre exercise).
In this article, 15 documents issued for students, physicians, surgeons, pharmacists and midwives prepared by the medical schools in Istanbul are presented. These documents ranging from the ulum-i ibtidaiye diplomas to the icazetnames in medicine&surgery and pharmacy are given below.
1. Şehadetname-i Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i İdadi dated 11 June 1293 (23 June 1876), 28.5 x 41 cm. delivered to Süreyya Mehmed Efendi, second year student at the Mekteb-i İdadi-i Tıbbiye-i Şahane as he moved up to the first class of the Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i Şahane.
2.Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i Mülkiye-i Şahane Sınıf Geçme Şehadetnamesi dated 15 Şaban 1292 ( 16 September 1875 ), 27x40 cm, delivered to the third year student Nişan Korkis Efendi.
3. Darü'l-ulumi'l-Hikemiyye-i Şahane (Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i Şahane) Ulum-i İbtidaiye Diploması dated 5 Cemaziyelevvel 1302 (22 March 1885), 38 x 50 cm., delivered to Süreyya Mehmed born in 1276 in İzmit.
4. Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i Şahane Sınıf Geçme Tasdiknamesi dated 21 Rebiyülahir 1289 (28 June 1872), 29 x 40 cm, delivered to the fifth year student Asfadour Hatchadour as he moved up to the next class.
5. Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i Şahane Sınıf Geçme Tasdiknamesi dated 24 July 1298 (5 August 1882), 33x40 cm, delivered to the eighth year student Vebouh Agob.
6. Şehadetname-i Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i Mülkiye-i Şahane dated 15 Şaban 1305 (27 June 1888), 24 x 34 cm., delivered to the second year student Şemseddin Mustafa Efendi'nin certifying his success in anatomy, botany, inorganic chemistry coursed and French composition.
7. Şehadetname-i Mekteb-i Mülkiye-i Şahane dated 15 Haziran 1307 ( 27 June 1891 ), 24 x 34 cm., delivered to the fifth year student Şemseddin Mustafa Efendi upon his success in courses in internal and external diseases, midwifery.
8. Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i Şahane Mezuniyet Tezkîresi dated 19 Şevval 1290 (10 December 1873), 34 x 50 cm., delivered to the 70 year old Kirkor Sahatyer giving him permission to cure breaks, dislocations and sprains.
9. Fenn-i Kıbâle (Ebelik) Şehadetnamesi dated 26 Muharrem 1315 ( 27 June 1897 ), 41.5 x 57 cm., giving permission to Ayşe Mustafa to perform midwifery.
10. Dişçilere Mahsus İcazetname (İkinci Sınıf) delivered by Nazır-ı Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i Şahane ve Umur-i Tıbbiye-i Mülkiye dated 16 Safer 1293 (13 March 1876), 26 x 38 cm., giving permission to 32 year old Grégoire Haviaropoulos to perform dentistry in the Ottoman empire.
11. Dişçilere Mahsus İcazetname (İkinci Sınıf) delivered by Nezaret-i Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i Şahane ve Umur-i Tıbbiye-i Mülkiye dated 23 Şaban 1325 (1 October 1907), 26 x 38 cm., giving permission to 24 year old Philippos Demosthény G.Haviaropoulos to perform dentistry in the Ottoman empire.
12. Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i Şahane Eczacı İcazetnamesi dated 24 Receb 1312 ( 21 January 1895 ), 40 x 52.5 cm., delivered to Ahmed Refik Abdullah born in 1282 in Tokat.
13. Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i Mülkiye Eczacı İcazetnamesi dated 7 Muharrem 1327 ( 29 January 1909 ), 43 x 53 cm., delivered to Mehmed Tevfik Mehmed Salih born in 1305 in Edremit.
14. Diplome de docteur en médecine et en chirurgie dated 23 Şaban 1269 (1 June 1853), 40x56 cm, delivered by Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i Şahane to Michel N.Didymos born in 1826 in Edirne.
15. Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-i Şahane Tıp ve Cerrahi İcazetnamesi dated 11 Receb 1320 ( 14 October 1902 ), 41.5 x 58 cm., delivered to Mehmed Nuri Mahmud born in 1297 in Erzincan.