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Claudius (Κλαύδιος Γαληνός). A celebrated Greek physician, born at Pergamus about A.D. 131. His father gave him a liberal education. His anatomical and medical studies were commenced under Satyrus, a celebrated anatomist; Stratonicus, a disciple of the Hippocratic School; and Aeschrion, a follower of the Empirics. After the death of his father he travelled to Alexandria, at that time the most famous school of medicine in the world. His studies were so successfully pursued that he was publicly invited to return to his native country. At the age of thirty-four he settled at Rome, where his celebrity became so great from the success of his practice, and more especially from his great knowledge of anatomy, that he quickly drew upon himself the jealousy of all the Roman physicians. He became physician to the emperor Marcus Aurelius, and at the solicitation of many philosophers and men of rank, he commenced a course of lectures on anatomy; but the jealousy of his rivals quickly compelled him to discontinue them, and eventually to leave Rome altogether, being in daily fear of assassination. Many particulars of his life may be gathered from his own writings; nothing is known, however, about the period of his return home as well as that of his death. All that can be learned is merely that he was still living in the reign of Septimius Severus.

Galen was a most prolific writer. Though several of his works were destroyed in the conflagration of his dwelling, and others by the lapse of time, still the following productions of his now exist in print:


Eighty-three treatises, the genuineness of which is now well established.


Nineteen of rather doubtful origin.


Forty-five that are certainly spurious.


Nineteen fragments, more or less extensive in size.


Fifteen commentaries on the works of Hippocrates.

Among the productions of Galen that are of a philosophical character may be enumerated the following: A treatise against Favorinus; a dissertation on the opinions of Hippocrates and Plato; a commentary on the Timaeus of Plato, and several discourses on Dialectics. See Diels, De Galeni Historia Philosopha (Bonn, 1870).

Operative surgery is the department of his profession which is least indebted to him; and yet even here he has left some monuments of his boldness and ingenuity. He has described minutely an operation performed by him upon the chest of a young man, by which he perforated the breast-bone and laid bare the heart, in order to give vent to a collection of matter seated in the thorax. The subject of ulcers is handled by him very scientifically in his book De Methodo Medendi (Θεραπευτικὴ Μέθοδος). His commentaries on Hippocrates show his acquaintance with fractures and dislocations. The subject of hygiene (Ὑγιεινά) he treated at great length in a work consisting of six books. His treatise De Facultate Alimentorum (Περὶ Τροφῶν Δυνάμεως) contains very important observations on the nature of foods, and furnishes an exposition of his opinion on the subject of dietetics. Materia Medica and Pharmacy appear to have been the objects of his particular study, and both are handled by him in several of his works. His treatise De Compositione Medicamentorum Secundum Locos (Περὶ Συνθέσεως Φαρμάκων τῶν κατὰ Τόπους) contains a copious list of pharmaceutical preparations. Of all his works, none was long so much studied and commented upon as the one entitled Ars Medica (Τέχνη Ἰατρική), a general outline of medicine. In several works he gives an elaborate system of the arterial pulses, which, as usual with his doctrines, was taken up by all subsequent writers; and abridged expositions of it may be found in Philaretus, Paulus Aegineta, Actuarius, Rhazes, and Avicenna. The best edition of Galen is that of Kühn, 20 vols. (Leipzig, 1821-1833). See Daremberg, Des Connaissances de Galien (Paris, 1841); the epitome in English by Coxe (Philadelphia, 1846); Berdoe, Origin and Growth of the Healing Art (London, 1893); and the articles Chirurgia; Medicina.

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