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Galen

Galen is the most important of the ancient commentators on Hippocrates, and of his work a great part has survived.

[p. xli] His writings are of value for two reasons :--

(1) They often give us a text superior to that of the MSS. of the Corpus. Sometimes this text is actually given in Galen's quotations ; sometimes it is implied in Galen's commentary.1

(2) They sometimes throw light upon the interpretation of obscure passages.

Galen's ideal of a commentator is beyond criticism. He prefers ancient readings, even when they are the more difficult, and corrects only when these give no possible sense. In commenting he is of opinion that he should first determine the sense of the text and then see whether it corresponds with the truth.2

Unfortunately he is not so successful when he attempts to put his ideal into practice. He is intolerably verbose, and what is worse, he is eager so to interpret Hippocrates as to gain support therefrom for his own theories. A good example of this fault is his misinterpretation of Epidemics III. XIV. Littré gives as another fault his neglect of observation and observed fact.3

Galen wrote commentaries, which still survive, on the following :--

Nature of Man.

Regimen of People in Health.

Regimen in Acute Diseases.

Prognostic.

Prorrhetic I.

Aphorisms.

One book in ancient times.

[p. xlii] Epidemics I., II., III., VI.

Fractures.

Articulations.

Surgery.

Humours.4

Nutriment.5

Airs, Waters, Places (only fragments survive).

We also have his Glossary.

Commentaries on the following are altogether lost :--

Sores.

Wounds in the Head.

Diseases.

Affections.

He also wrote (or promised to write) the following, none of which survive :--Anatomy of Hippocrates, Characters in Epidemics III., Dialect of Hippocrates, The Genuine Writings of the Physician of Cos.

Galen also knew : Coan Prenotions, Epilepsy, Fistulae, Hemorrhoids, Airs, Places in Man, Regimen, Seven Months' Child, Eight Months' Child, Heart, Fleshes, Number Seven, Prorrhetic II., Glands, and probably Precepts.

The most important of the Hippocratic treatises not mentioned by Galen are Ancient Medicine and The Art.

1 On the value of Galen for a reconstruction of the text see especially I. Ilberg in the I'roleyomena to Kéhlewein's edition Vol. I., pp. xxxiv-xlix and lviii-lxii.

2 See Littré I. 120, 121.

3 I. 121.

4 These are supposed by the latest criticism not to be genuine.

5 These are supposed by the latest criticism not to be genuine.

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