), commonly called Galen,
a very celebrated physician, whose works have had a longer and more extensive influence on the different branches of medical science than those of any other individual either in ancient or modern times.
I. Personal History of Galen.
Little is told us of the personal history of Galen by any ancient author, but this deficiency is abundantly supplied by his own writings, in which are to be found such numerous anecdotes of himself and his contemporaries as to form altogether a tolerably circumstantial account of his life.
He was a native of Pergamus in Mysia (Gal. De Simpl. Medic. Temper. ac Facult.
10.2.9. vol. xii. p. 272), and it can be proved from various passages in his works that he was born about the autumn of A. D. 130. His father's name was Nicon (Suid. s. v. Γαληνός
), who was, as Suidas tells us, an architect and geometrician, and whom Galen praises several times, not only for his knowledge of astronomy, grammar, arithmetic, and various other branches of philosophy, but also for his patience, justice, benevolence, and other virtues. (De Dignos. et Cur. An. Morb.
100.8. vol. v. p. 41, &c.; De Prob. et Prav. Alim. Suce.
c. i. vol. vi. p. 755, &c.; De Ord. Libr. suor.
vol. xix. p. 59.) His mother, on the other hand, was a passionate and scolding woman, who would sometimes even bite her maids, and used to quarrel with her husband " more than Xantippe with Socrates."
He received his first instruction from his father, and in his fifteenth year, A. D. 144-5, began to learn logic and to study philosophy under a pupil of Philopator the Stoic, under Caius the Platonist, (or, more probably, one of his pupils,) under a pupil of Aspasius the Peripatetic, and also under an Epicurean. (De Dignos. et Cur. An. Morb.
100.8. vol. v. p. 41.)
In his seventeenth year, A. D. 146-7, his father, who had hitherto destined him to be a philosopher, altered his intentions, and, in consequence of a dream, chose for him the profession of Medicine. (De Meth. Med.
9.4. vol. x. p. 609; Comment. in Hippocr. " De Humor."
2.2. vol. xvi. p. 223; De Ord. Libr. suor.
vol. xix. p. 59.) No expense was spared in his education, and the names of several of his medical tutors have been preserved. His first tutors were probably Aeschrion (De Simpl. Medic. Temper. ac Facult.
11.1.34. vol. xii. p. 356), Satyrus (Comment. in Hippocr. " Pracdict. I."
1.5. vol. xvi. p. 524; De Ord. Libr. suor.
vol. xix. p. 57), and Stratonicus, in his own country (De Atra Bile,
100.4. vol. v. p. 119).
In his twentieth year, A. D. 149-50, he lost his father (De Prob. et Prav. Alim. Succ.
100.1. vol. vi. p. 756), and it was probably about the same time that he went to Smyrna for the purpose of studying under Pelops the physician, and Albinus the Platonic philosopher, as he says he was still a youth (μειράκιον
). (De Anat. Admin.
1.1. vol. ii. p. 217; De Libris Propr.
c. ii. vol. xix. p. 16.)
He also went to Corinth to attend the lectures of Numesianus (De Anat. Admin.
1. c.), and to Alexandria for those of Heraclianus (Comment. in Hippocr. " De Nat. Hom,"
2.6. vol. 16.136.); and studied under Aelianus Meccius (De Ther. ad Pamph.
vol. xiv. p. 298-9), and Iphicianus (Comment. in Hippocr. " De Humor."
3.34. vol. xvi. p. 484, where the name is corruptly called Φηκιανός
It was perhaps at this time that he visited various other countries, of which mention is made in his works, as e. g. Cilicia, Phoenicia, Palestine, Scyros, Crete (Comment. in Hippocr. " De Victu Acut."
3.8. vol. xv. p. 648), and Cyprus (De Simpl. Medic. Temper. ac Facult.
9.1.2. vol. xii. p. 171).
He returned to Pergamus from Alexandria, when he had just entered on his twenty-ninth year, A. D. 158 (De Compos. Medic. sec. Gen.
3.2. vol. xiii. p. 599), and was immediately appointed by the high-priest of the city physician to the school of gladiators, an office which he filled with great reputation and success. (Comment. in Hippocr. " De Fract."
3.21. vol. xviii. pt. 2. p. 567, &c.; De Compos. Medic. sec. Gen.
3.2. vol. xiii. p. 574.)
In his thirty-fourth year, A. D. 163-4, Galen quitted his native country on account of some popular commotions, and went to Rome for the first time. (De Libris Propr.
c. i. vol. xix. p. 15.) Here he stayed about four years, and gained such reputation from his skill in anatomy and medicine that he got acquainted with some of the principal persons at Rome, and was to have been recommended to the emperor, but that he declined that honour. (De Praenot. ad Epig.
100.8. vol. xiv. p. 647.)
It was during his first visit to Rome that he wrote his work De Hippocratis et Platonis Decretis.
the first edition of his work De Anatomicis Administrationibus,
and some of his other treatises (De Anat. Admin.
1.1. vol. ii. p. 215) ; and excited so much envy and ill-will among the physicians there by his constant and successful disputing, lecturing, writing, and practising, that he was actually afraid of being poisoned by them. (De Praenot. ad Epig.
100.4. vol. xiv. p. 623, &c.)
A full account of his first visit to Rome 1
, and of some of his most remarkable cures, is given in the early chapters of his work De Praenotione ad Epigenem,
where he mentions that he was at last called, not only παραδοξολόγος
, " the wonder speaker," but also παραδοξοποιός
, " the wonder-worker." (100.8. p. 641.)
It is often stated that Galen fled from Rome in order to avoid the danger of a very severe pestilence, which had first broken out in the parts about Antioch,A. D. 166, and, after ravaging various parts of the empire, at last reached the capital (see Greswell's Dissertations, &c.,
vol. iv. p. 552); but he does not appear to be justly open to this charge, which the whole of his life and character would incline us to disbelieve.
He had been for some time wishing to leave Rome as soon as the tumults at Pergamus should be at an end (De Praenot. ad Epig.
100.4. vol. xiv. p. 622), and evaded the proposed introduction to the emperor M. Aurelius for fear lest his return to Asia should be thereby hindered (ibid.
pp. 647, 648).
This resolution may have been somewhat hastened by the breaking out of the pestilence at Rome, A. D. 167 (De Libr. Propr.
100.1. vol.xix. p.15), and accordingly he left the city privately, and set sail at Brundusium. (De Praenot. ad Epig.
100.9. vol. xiv. p. 648.)
He reached his native country in his thirtyeighth year, A. D. 167-8 (De Libr. Propr.
100.2. vol. xix. p. 16), and resumed his ordinary course of life; but had scarcely done so, when there arrived a summons from the emperors M. Aurelius and L. Verus to attend them at Aquileia in Venetia, the chief bulwark of Italy on its north-eastern frontier, whither they had both gone in person to make preparations for the war with the northern tribes (De Libr. Propr.
1. c. p. 17, 18; De Praenot. ad Epig.
100.9. vol. xiv. p. 649, 650), and where they intended to pass the winter.
He travelled through Thrace and Macedonia, performing part of the journey on foot (De Simplic. Medicam. Temper. ac Facult.
9.1.2. vol. xii. p. 171 , and reached Aquileia towards the end of the year 169, shortly before the pestilence broke out in the camp with redoubled violence. (De Libr. Propr.
and De Praenot. ad Epig.
The two emperors, with their court and a few of the soldiers, set off precipitately towards Rome, and while they were on their way Verus died of apoplexy, between Concordia and Altinum in the Venetian territory, in the month of December. (See Greswell's Dissertations, &c.,
vol. iv. p. 595, 596.) Galen followed M. Aurelius to Rome, and, upon the emperor's return, after the apotheosis of L. Verus, to conduct the war on the Danube, with difficulty obtained permission to be left behind at Rome, alleging that such was the will of Aesculapius. (De Libr. Propr.
1. c.) Whether he really had a dream to this effect, which he believed to have come from Aesculapius, or whether he merely invented such a story as an excuse for not sharing in the dangers and hardships of the campaign, it is impossible to determine; it is, however, certain that he more than once mentions his receiving (what he conceived to be) divine communications during sleep, in cases where no self-interested motive can be discovered.
The emperor about this time lost his son, Annius Verus Caesar, and accordingly on his departure from Rome, he committed to the medical care of Galen his son L. Aurelius Commodus, who was then nine years of age, and who afterwards succeeded his father as emperor. (De Libr. Propr.
and De Praenot. ad Epig.
It was probably in the same year, A. D. 170, that Galen, on the death of Demetrius, was commissioned by M. Aurelius to prepare for him the celebrated compound medicine called Theriaca,
of which the emperor was accustomed to take a small quantity daily (De Antid.
1.1. vol. xiv. p. 3, &c.); and about thirty years afterwards he was employed to make up the same medicine for the emperor Septimus Severus (ibid.
1.13. p. 63, 65).
How long Galen stayed at Rome is not known, but it was probably for some years, during which time he employed himself, as before, in lecturing, writing, and practising, with great success.
He finished during this visit at Rome two of his principal treatises, which he had begun when he was at Rome before, viz. that De Usu Partium Corporis Humani,
and that De Hippocratis et Platonis Decretis (De Libr. Propr.
100.2. vol. xix. p. 19, 20); and among other instances which he records of his medical skill, he gives an account of his attending the emperor M. Aurelius (De Praenot. ad Epig.
100.11. vol. xiv. p. 657, &c.), and his two sons, Commodus (ibid.
100.12. p. 661, &c.) and Sextus (ibid.
100.10. p. 651, &c.). Of the events of the rest of his life few particulars are known. On his way back to Pergamus, he visited the island of Lemnos for the second time (having been disappointed on a former occasion), for the purpose of learning the mode of preparing a celebrated medicine called " Terra Lemnia," or "Terra Sigillata ;" of which he gives a full account. (De Simplic. Medicam. Temper. ac Facult.
9.1.2. vol. xii. p. 172.)
It does not appear certain that he visited Rome again, and one of his Arabic biographers expressly says he was there only twice (Anon. Arab. Philosoph. Biblioth.
apud Casiri, Biblioth. Arabico-Hisp. Escur.
vol. i. p. 253); but it certainly seems more natural to suppose that he was at Rome about the end of the second century, when he was employed to compound Theriaca for the emperor Severus.
The place of his death is not mentioned by any Greek author, but Abú-l-faraj states that he died in Sicily. (Hist. Dynast.
The age at which he died and the date is also somewhat uncertain. Suidas says he died at the age of seventy, which statement is generally followed, and, as he was born in the autumn of the year 130, places his death in the year 200 or 201.
He certainly was alive about the year 199, as he mentions his preparing Theriaca for the emperor Severus about that date, and his work De Antidotis,
in which the account is given (1.13. vol. xiv. p. 65), was probably written in or before that year, when Caracalla was associated with his father in the empire, as Galen speaks of only one
emperor as reigning at the time it was composed. If, however, the work De Theriaca ad Pisonem
be genuine, which seems to be at least as probable as the contrary supposition (see below, Sect. 7.75.), he must have lived some years later; which would agree with the statements of his Arabic biographers, one of whom says he lived more than eighty years (apud Casiri, l.c.
), while Abú-l-faraj says that he died at the age of eighty-eight. Some European authorities place his death at about the same age (Ackermann, Hist. Liter.,
in vol. i. of Kühn's edition of Galen, p. xli.), and John Tzetzes says that he lived under the emperor Caracalla (Chiliad.
xii. hist. 397); so that, upon the whole, there seems to be quite sufficient reason for not implicitly receiving the statement of Suidas.
Galen's personal character, as it appears in his works, places him among the brightest ornaments of the heathen world. Perhaps his chief faults were too high an opinion of his own merits, and too much bitterness and contempt for some of his adversaries,--for each of which failings the circumstances of the times afforded great, if not sufficient, excuse.
He was also one of the most learned and accomplished men of his age, as is proved not only by his extant writings, but also by the long list of his works on various branches of philosophy which are now lost. All this may make us the more regret that he was so little brought into contact with Christianity, of which he appears to have known nothing more than might be learned from the popular conversation of the day during a time of persecution : yet in one of his lost works, of which a fragment is quoted by his Arabian biographers (Abú-l-faraj, Casiri, l.c.
), he speaks of the Christians in higher terms, and praises their temperance and chastity, their blameless lives, and love of virtue, in which they equalled or surpassed the philosophers of the age.
A few absurd errors and fables are connected with his name, which may be seen in Ackermmann's Hist. Liter.
(pp. xxxix. xlii.), but which, as they are neither so amusing in themselves, nor so interesting in a literary point of view as those which concern Hippocrates, need not be here mentioned. If Galen suffered during his lifetime from the jealousy and misrepresentation of his medical contemporaries, his worth seems to have been soon acknowledged after his death; medals were struck in his honour by his native city, Pergamus (Montfaucon, L'Antiquité Exspliguée,
&c., vol. iii. p. 1. pl. xv. and Suppl. vol. i. pl. lxviii.), and in the course of a few centuries he began to ba called Δαυμάσιος
(Simplie. (Comment. in Aristot. " Phys. Auscult."
4.3. p.167. ed. Ald.), " Medicorum dissertissimus atque doctissinus," (S. Hieron. Comment. in Aoms,
100.5. vol. vi. p. 283), and even Δειότατος
. (Alex. Trall. De Med.
5.4. p. 77. ed. Lutet. Par.)
II. General History of Galen's Writings, Commentators, Bibliography, &c;
The works that are still extant under the name of Galen, as enumerated by Choulant, in the second edition of his Handbuch der Bücherkunde für die Aeltere Medicin,
consist of eighty-three treatises acknowledged to be genuine; nineteen whose genuineness has, with more or less reason, been doubted ; forty-five undoubtedly spurious; nineteen fragments ; and fifteen commetaries on different works of Hippocrates : and more than fifty short pieces and fragments (many or most of which are probably spurious) are enumerated as still lying unpublished in different European libraries. (Ackermann, Histor. Liter.
pp. clxxxvi. &c.) Almost all these treat of some branch of medical science, and many of them were composed at the request of his friends, and without any view to publication. Besides these, however, Galen wrote a great number of works, of which nothing but the titles have been preserved; so that altogether the number of his distinct treatises cannot have been less than five hundred. Some of these are very short, and he frequently repeats whole passages, with hardly any variation, in different works; but still, when the number of his writings is considered, their intrinsic excellence, and the variety of the subjects of which he treated (extending not only to every branch of medical science, but also to ethics, logic, grammar, and other departments of philosophy), he has always been justly ranked among the greatest authors that have ever lived. (See Cardan, De Subtil.
lib. xvi. p. 597, ed. 1554. His style is elegant, but diffuse and prolix, and he abounds in allusions and quotations from the ancient Greek poets, philosophers, and historians.
At the time when Galen began to devote himself to the study of medicine, the profession was divided into several sects, which were constantly disputing with each other. The Dogmatici and Empirici had for several centuries been opposed to each other; in the first century B. had arisen the sect of the Methodici; and shortly before Galen's own time had been founded those of the Eclectici, Pneumatici, and Episynthetici. Galen himself, " nullius addicts jurare in verba magistri," attached himself exclusively to none of these sects, but chose from the tenets of each what he believed to be good and true, and called those persons slaves
who designated themselves as followers of Hippocrates, Praxagoras, or any other man. (De Libr. Propr.
100.1. vol. xiv. p. 13.) However, " in his general principles," says Dr. Bostock, " he may be considered as belonging to the Dogmatic sect, for his method was to reduce all his knowiedge, as acquired by the observation of facts, to general theoretical principles.
These principles he indeed professed to deduce from experience and observation, and we have abundant proofs of his diligence in collecting experience, and his accuracy in making observations; but still, in a certain sense at least, he regards individual facts and the detail of experience as of little value, unconnected with the principles which be had down as the basis of all medical reasoning.
In this fundamental point, therefore, the method pursued by Galen appears to have been directly the reverse of that which we now consider as the correct method of scientific investigation; and yet, such is the force of natural genius, that in most instances he attained the ultimate object in view, although by an indirect path.
He was an admirer of Hippocrates, and always speaks of him with the most profound respect, professing to act upon his principles, and to do little more than to expound his doctrines, and support them by new facts and observations. Yet, in reality, we have few writers whose works, both as to substance and manner, are more different from each other than those of Hippocrates and Galen, the simplicity of the former being strongly contrasted with the abstruseness and refinement of the latter." (Hist. of Med.
After Galen's time we hear but little of the old medical sects, which in fact seem to have been all merged in his followers and imitators. To the compilers among the Greeks and Romans of large medical works, like Aetius and Oribasius, his writings formed the basis of their labours; while, as soon as they had been translated into Arabic, in the ninth century after Christ, chiefly by Honain Ben Ishak, they were at once adopted throughout the East as the standard of medical perfection.
It was probably in a great measure from the influence exercised even in Europe by the Arabic medical writers during the middle ages that Galen's popularity was derived; for, though his opinions were universally adopted, yet his writings appear to have been but little read, when compared with those of Avicenna and Mesue. Of the value of what was done by the Arabic writers towards the explanation and illustration of Galen's works, it is impossible to judge; as, though numerous translations, commentaries, and abridgements are still extant in different European libraries, none of then have ever been published. If, however, a new and critical edition of Galen's works should ever be undertaken, these ought certainly to be examined, and would probably be found to be of much value; especially as some of his writings (as is specified below), of which the Greek text is lost, are still extant in an Arabic translation.
Of the immense number of European writers who have employed themselves in editing, translating, or illustrating Galen's works, a complete list, up to about the middle of the sixteenth century, was made by Conrad Gesner, and prefixed to the edition of Basil. 1561, fol.
: of those enumerated by him, and of those who have lived since, perhaps the following may be most deserving of mention :
Jo. Bapt. Opizo Andr. Lacuna Ant. Musa Brassavolus Aug. Gadaldinus Conr. Gesner Hier. Gemusaeus Jac. Sylvius Janus Cornarius Nic. Rheginus Jo. Bapt. Montanus John Caius Jo. Guinterius (Andernacus) Thomas Linacre Theod. Goulston Casp. Hofmann Ren. Chartier Alb. Haller C. G. Kühn
Galen's works were first published in a Latin translation, Venet. 1490, fol. 2 vols. ap. Philipp. Pintium de Caneto; it is printed in black letter, and is said to be scarce. The next Latin edition that deserves to be noticed is that published by the Juntas, Venet. 1541, fol., which was reprinted, with additions and improvements, eight (or nine) times within one hundred years. Of these editions, the most valuable are said to be those of the years 1586 (or 1597), 1600, 1609, and 1625, in five vols., with the works divided by J. Bapt. Montanus into classes, according to their subject-matter, and with the copious Index Rerum of Ant. Musa Brassavolus. Another excellent Latin edition was published by Froben, Basil. 1542, fol., and reprinted in 1549 and 1561.
It contains all Galen's works, in eight vols., divided into eight classes, and a ninth vol., consisting of the Indices.
The reprint of 1561 is considered the most valuable, on account of Conrad Gesner's Prolegomena. The last Latin edition is that published by Vine. Valgrisius, Venet. 1562, fol. in five vols., edited by Jo. Bapt. Rasarius. Altogether (according to Choulant), a Latin version of all Galen's works was published once in the fifteenth century, twenty (or twenty-two) times in the sixteenth, and not once since.
The Greek text has been published four times ; twice alone, and twice with a Latin translation. The first edition was the Aldine, published Venet. 1525, fol., in five vols., edited by Jo. Bapt. Opizo with great care, though containing numerous errors and omissions, as might be expected in so large a work.
It is a handsome book, rather scarce, and much valued; and contains the Greek text, without translation, notes, or indices. The next Greek edition was published in 1538, Basil. ap. Andr. Cratandum, fol., in five vols., edited by L. Camerarius, L. Fuchs, and H. Gemusaeus.
The text in this edition (which, like the preceding, contains neither Latin translation, notes, nor indices) is improved by the collation of Greek MSS. and the examination of the Latin versions : the only additional work of Galen's published in this edition is a Latin translation of the treatise De Ossibus. It is a handsome book, and frequently to be met with.
A very useful and neat edition, in thirteen vols. fol., was printed at Paris, and bears the date of 1679.
It contains the whole of the works of Hippocrates and Galen, mixed up together, and divided into thirteen classes, according to the subject-matter.
This vast work was undertaken by René Chartier (Renatus Charterius), a French physician, who published in 1633 (when he had already passed his sixtieth year) a programme, entitled, Index Operum Galeni quae Latinis duntaxat Typis in Lucem edita sunt, &c., begging the loan of such Greek MSS. as he had not an opportunity of examining in the public libraries of Paris.
The first volume appeared in 1639; but Chartier, after impoverishing himself, died in 1654, before the work was completed : the last four volumes were published after his death, at the expense of his son-in-law, and the whole work was at length finished in 1679, forty years after it had been commenced.
This edition is in every respect superior to those that had preceded it, and in some points to that which has followed it.
It contains a Latin translation, and a few notes, and various readings : the text is divided into chapters, and is much improved by the collation of MSS.; it contains several treatises in Greek and Latin not included in the preceding editions (especially De Humoribus, De Ossibus, De Septimestri Partu, De Fasciis, De Clysteribus
), several others, much enlarged by the insertion of omitted passages (especially De Usu Partium, Definitiones Medicae, De Comate secundum Hippocraten, De Praenotione
), and a large collection of fragments of Galen's lost works, extracted from various Greek and Latin writers.
It is, however, very far from what it might and ought to have been, and its critical merits are very lightly esteemed. M. Villiers published a criticism on this edition, entitled, "Lettre sur l'Edition Grecque et Latine des Oeuvres d'Hippocrate et de Galene," Paris, 1776, 4to.
The latest and most commodious edition is that of C. G. Kühn, who with extraordinary boldness, at the age of sixty-four,
and at a time when the old medical authors were more neglected than they are at present, ventured to put forth a specimen and a prospectus of a work so vast, that any one in the prime of life, and strength, and leisure, might well shrink from the undertaking.
As this seems to be the most proper place for giving an account of Kühn's collection, it may be stated that he designed to publish no less than a complete edition of all the Greek medical authors whose writings are still extant; a work far too extensive for any single man to have undertaken, and which (as might have been expected) still remains unfinished. Kühn, however, not only found a publisher rich and liberal enough to undertake the risk and expense of such a work, but actually lived to see his collection comprehend the entire works of Galen, Hippocrates, Aretaeus, and Dioscorides, in twenty-eight thick 8vo. volumes, consisting each of about eight hundred pages, and of which all but three were edited by himself.
But while it is thankfully acknowledged that Kühn did good service to the ancient medical writers by republishing their works in a commodious form, yet at the same time it must be confessed that the real critical merits of his Collection as a whole are very small.
In 1818 he published Galen's little work De Optimo Docendi Genere,
Lips. 8vo., Greek and Latin, as a specimen of his projected design, and in 1821 the first volume of his works appeared.
The edition consists of twenty 8vo. volumes (divided into twenty-two parts), of which the last contains an Index, made by F. W. Assmann, and was published in 1833.
The first volume contains Ackermann's Notitia Literaria Galeni,
extracted from the fifth volume of the new edition of Fabricius's Bibliotheca Graeca,
and somewhat improved and enlarged by Kühn. For the correction of the Greek text little or nothing has been done except in the case of a few particular treatises, and all Chartier's notes and various readings are omitted. Kühn has likewise left out many of the spurious works contained in Chartier's edition, as also the Fragments, and those books which are extant only in Latin ; but, on the other hand, he has published for the first time the Greek text of the treatise De Musculorum Dissectione,
the Synopsis Librorum de Pulsibus,
and the commentary on Hippocrates De Humoribus.
Upon the whole, the writings of Galen are still in a very corrupt and unsatisfactory state, and it is universally acknowledged that a new and critical edition is much wanted.
Planned new editions
The project of a new edition of Galen's works has been entertained by several persons, particularly by Caspar Hofmann and Theodore Gouistone in the seventeenth century.
The latter prepared several of Galen's smaller works for the press, which were published in one volume 4to. Lond. 1640, after his death, by Thom. Gataker.
Hofmann made very extensive preparations for his task, and published a copious and valuable commentary on the treatise De Usu Partium.
His MS. notes, amounting to twenty-seven volumes in folio, are said to have come into the possession of Dr. Askew; they do not, however, appear in the catalogue of his sale, nor has the writer been able to discover whether they are still in existence ; for while the continental physicians universally believe them to be still somewhere in England, no one in this country to whom he has applied knows any thing about them.
Classifications of Galen's extant works
Galen's extant works have been classified in various ways.
In the old edition of his Bibliotheca Graeca,
Fabricius enumerated them in alphabetical order, which perhaps for convenience of reference is as useful a mode as any. Ackermann in the new edition of Fabricius has mentioned them, as far as possible, in chronological order; which is much less practically useful than the alphabetical arrangement (inasmuch as the difficulty of finding the account of any particular treatise is very much increased), but which, if it could be ascertained completely and certainly, would be a far more natural and interesting one.
In most of the editions of his works, the treatises are arranged in classes according to the subject-matter, which, upon the whole, seems to be the mode most suitable for the present work.
The number and contents of the different classes vary (as night be expected) according to the judgment of different editors, and the classification which the writer has adopted does not exactly agree with any of the preceding ones.
The treatises in each class will, as far as possible, be arranged chronologically, thus combining, in some degree, the advantage of Ackermann's arrangement ; while the number of works contained in each class will not generally be so great as to occasion much inconvenience froom their not being enumerated alphabetically. As Kühn's edition of Galen (which is likely to be the one most in use for many years to come) extends to twenty-one volumes, it has been thought useful to mention in which of these each treatise is to be found.
III. Works on Anatomy and Physiology.
1. Περὶ Κράεων
, De Temperamentis,
in three books (vol. i. ed. Kühn). For the editions of each separate treatise, and the commentaries that have been published, see Choulant's Handbuch der Bücherkunde für die Aeltere Medicin,
and Ackermann's Historia Literaria,
prefixed to Kühn's edition.
The best account of the Arabic, Syriac, Armenian, and Persian translations, will be found in J. G. Wenrich's treatise De Auctorum Graecorum Versionibus et Commentariis Syriacis, Arabicis,
&c. Lips. 1842. 8vo. 2. Περὶ Μελαίνης Χολῆς
, De Atra Bile
(vol. v.). 3. Περὶ Δ̓υνάμεων Φυσικῶν
, De Facultatibus Naturalibus,
in three books (vol. ii.). 4. Περὶ Ἀνατομικῶν Ἐγχειρήσεων
, De Anatomicis Administrationibus
This is Galen's principal anatomical work, and consisted originally of fifteen books, the subject of each of which is mentioned by himself. (De Libr. Propr.
100.3, vol. xix . p. 24, 25.)
The six list books, and about two-thirds of the ninth, which are not extant either in the original Greek or in any Latin translation (as far as the writer is aware), are preserved in an Arabic version, of which there are two copies in the Bodleian library at Oxford (Uri, Catal. MSS. Orient. Bibl. Bodl.
p. 135, codd. 567, 570), and apparently in no other European library.
The latter of these hISS. seems to have been copied from the former by Jac. Golius, and contains only the six last books; the other contains the whole work. (See London Medical Gazette
for 1844, 1845, p. 329.)
There were more than one edition of this treatise; the first was written during Galen's first visit to Rome, soon after the beginning of the reign of M. Aurelius, about A. D. 164; the last some time before the same emperor's death, A. D. 180. (Galen, De Administr. Anat.
1.1, vol. ii. p. 215, &c.) 5. Περὶ Ὀστῶν τοῖς Εἰσαγομένοις
, De Ossibus ad Tirones
The work contains a tolerably accurate account of the bones, though in some parts it appears clearly that he was describing the skeleton of the ape.
6. Περὶ Φλεβῶν καὶ Ἀρτηριῶν Ἀνατομῆς
, De Venarum et Arteriarum Dissectione
(vol. ii.). 7. Περὶ Νεύρων Ἀνατομῆς
, De Nervorum Dissectione
(vol. ii.). 8. Περὶ Μυῶν Ἀνατομῆς
, De Musculorum Dissectione
(vol. xviii. pt. 2.). 9. Περὶ Μήτρας Ἀνατυμῆς
, De Uteri Dissectione
(vol. ii.). 10. Εἰ κατὰ Φύσιν ἐν Ἀρτηριαις Αἷμα περιέχεται
, An in Arteriis secundum Naturam Sanguis contineatur
(vol. iv.). 11. Περὶ Μυῶν Κινήσεως
, De Musculorum Motu
(vol. iv.). 12. Περὶ Σπέρματος
, De Semine
(vol. iv.). 13. Περὶ Χρείας τῶν ἐν Ἀνθρώπον Σώματι Μορίων
, De Usu Partium Corporis Humani,
in seventeen books (vols. iii. and iv.).
This is Galen's principal physiological work, and was probably begun about A. D. 165 (Gal. De Libr Propr.
100.2. vol. xix. p. 15, 16), and finished after the year 170. (Ibid.
It is no less admirable for the deep religious feeling with which it is written, than for the scientific knowledge and acuteness displayed in it; and is altogether a noble work. Theophilus Protospatharius published a sort of abridgment of the work under the title Περὶ τῆς τοῦ Ἀνθρώπου Κατασκευῆς
, De Corporis Humani Fabrica.
[THEOPHILUS PROTOSPATHARIUS.] 14. Περὶ Ὀσφρήσεως Ὀργάνου
, De Odoratus Instrumento (vol. ii.). 15. Περὶ Χρείας
, De Usu Respirationis
(vol. iv.). 16. Περὶ Χρείας Σφυγμῶν
, De Usu Puluum
(vol. v.). His other works on the pulse, which treat rather of its use in diagnosis, are mentioned in Class 6.17. Ὅτι τὰ τῆς Ψυχῆς Ἤθη ταῖς τοῦ Σὥματος Κράσεσιν ἕπεται
, Quod Animi Mores Corporis Temperamenta sequantur
(vol. iv.). 18. Περὶ Κυουμένων Διαπλάσεως
, De Foetuum Formatione
(vol. iv.). 19. Εἰ Ζῶον τὸ κατὰ Γαστρύς
, An Animal sit, quod est in Utero
(vol. xix.); generally considered to be spurious. 20. De Anatomia Virorum
(vol. iv. ed. Chart.); spurious. 21. De Compagine Membrorum, sive De Natura I Humana
(vol. v. ed. Chart.); spurious. 22. De Natura et Ordine cujuslibet Corporis
(vol. v. ed. Chart.); spurious. 23. De Molibus Manifestis et Obscuris
(vol. v. ed. Chart.), not written by Galen, but compiled from his writings. 24. Περὶ Χυμῶν
, De Humoribus
(vol. xix.); spurious.
Though Galen's celebrity is by no means founded entirely on his anatomical and physiological works, yet it was to these branches of medical science that he did most real service, and it is this class of his writings that is most truly valuable.
A very interesting and accurate " Cursory Analysis of the Works of Galen, so far as they relate to Anatomy and Physiology," by Dr. Kidd, is inserted in the sixth volume of the " Transactions of the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association " (Lond. 1838), to which we must refer our readers for an account of Galen's views on anatomy and physiology.
Galen's familiarity with practical anatomy is attested by numerous passages in his writings.
In the examination, for instance, of the blood-vessels of the liver, he directs you to insert a probe into the vena portae, and from thence into any of its several larger ramifications; then gently advancing the probe further and further, to dissect down to it. And thus, he says, you may trace the minutest branches; removing with the knife the intermediate substance, called by Erasistratus the parenchyma
(De Anatom. Administr.
6.11, vol. ii. p. 575). Again, he notices what every one has often experienced in dissection, the occasional convenience of dividing the cellular membrane, either by the finger or the handle of the scalpel (ibid.
p. 476.) : and in describing the use of the blowpipe and various other instruments and contrivances employed in anatomical examinations, he continually introduces you, as it were, into the dissecting room itself (ibid.
p.476, 668, 716).
As an instance of the boldness and extent of his experimental anatomy, it may be mentioned, that, after observing that although a ligature on the inguinal or axillary artery causes the pulse to cease in the leg or in the arm, yet the experiment is not seriously injurious to the animal on which it is made, he adds that even the carotid arteries may be tied with impunity. (De Usu Puls.
c. l. vol. v. p. 150.) And the habitual accuracy of his observation is evinced when he corrects the error of those experimentalists, who, omitting to separate the contiguous nerves in tying the carotids, supposed that the consequent loss of voice depended on the compression of those arteries, and not on that of the accompanying nerves. (De Hipper. et Plat. Decr.
2.6. vol. v. p. 266; Dr. Kidd's Cursory Analysis, &c.
The question has often been discussed, whether Galen derived his anatomical knowledge from dissecting a human body, or that of some other animal.
The writer is not aware of any passage in his writings in which it is distinctly stated that he dissected human bodies; while the numerous passages in which he recommends the dissection of apes, bears, goats, and other animals, would seem indirectly to prove that human bodies were seldom or never used for that purpose. (See particularly De Anat. Administr.
3.5. vol. 2.384; De Musc. Dissect.
c. l. vol. xviii. pt. ii. p. 930.
See also Rufus Ephes. De Corp. Hum. Part. Appellat.
i. p. 33; Theophilus, De Corp. Hum. Fabr.
In one passage, however, he mentions, as something extraordinary, that those physicians who attended the emperor M. Aurelius in his wars against the Germans had an opportunity of dissecting the bodies of the barbarians. (De Compos. Medicam. sec. Gen.
3.2. vol. viii. p. 604.)
On Galen's opinions respecting the nervous system there is a very complete and interesting thesis by C. V. Daremberg, Paris, 1841, 4to., entitled " Exposition des Connaissances de Galien, sur l'Anatomie, la Physiologie, et la Pathologie du Systèm Nerveux."
IV. Works on Dietetics and Hygiene.
25. Περὶ Ἀρίστης Κατασκευῆς τοῦ Σώυατος ἡμῶν
, De Optima Corporis nostri Constitutione
(vol. iv.). 26. Περὶ Εὐεξίας
, De Bono Habitu
(vol. iv.). 27. Πότερον Ἰατρικῆς, ἢ Γυμναστικῆς ἐστι τὸ Ὑγιεινόν
, Utrum Medicinae sit, vel Gymnastices Hygieine
(vol. v.). 28. De Attenuante Victus Ratione
(vol. vi. ed. Chart.). 29. Ὑγιεινά
, De Sanitate Tuenda
(vol. vi.). One of Galen's best works. 30. Περὶ Τροφῶν Δυνάμεως
, De Alimentorum Facultatibus
(vol. vi.). 31. Περὶ Εὐχυμίας καὶ Κακοχυμίας Τροφῶν
, De Probis et Pravis Alimentornum Succis
(vol. vi.). 32. Περὶ Πτισάνης
, De Ptisana
(vol. vi.) 33. Περὶ τοῦ διὰ Μικρᾶς Σφαίρας Γυμνασίου
, De Parvae Pilae Exercitio
(vol. v.). 34. De Dissolutione Continua, sive De Alimentorum Facultatibus
(vol. vi. ed. Chart.)
In Galen's directions respecting both food and the means of preserving health, we find many which are erroneous, and many others which, from the difference of climate and manners, are totally inapplicable to us; but, if allowance be made for these points, most of the rest of his observations will probably be admitted to be very judicious and useful. Like the rest of the ancient medical writers, and in accordance with the habits of his countrymen, he lays great stress on different species of gymnastic exercises, and especially enlogizes hunting,
as being an excellent exercise to the body, and an agreeable recreation to the mind. (De Parva Pila,
vol. 5.100.1, p. 900.)
He particularly recommends the cold bath to persons in the prime of life, and during the summer season.
With respect to the regimen of old persons, he says, that as old age is cold and dry, it is to be corrected by diluents and calefacients, such as hot baths of sweet waters, drinking wine, and taking such food as is moistening and calefacient.
He strenuously defends the practice of allowing old persons to take wine, and gives a circumstantial account of the Greek and Roman nines best adapted to them.
He also approves of their taking three meals in the day (while to other persons he allows only two ,
and recommends the bath to be used before dinner, which should consist of sea-fish.
Of all kinds of animal food pork was almost universally esteemed by the ancients as the best; and Galen speaks of it in terms of the strongest approbation.
He says that the athletes, if for one day presented with the same bulk of any other article of food, immediately experienced a diminution of strength; and that, if the change of diet was persisted in for several days, they fell off in flesh. (De Aliment. Facult.
3.2. vol. vi. p. 661.)
Many other curious extracts from Galen's works on this subject may be found in Mr. Adams's Commentary on the first book of Paulus Aegineta, from which the preceding remarks have been abridged.
V. Works on Pathology.
35. Περὶ Ἀνωμάλου Δυσκρασίας
, De Inaequali Intemperie
(vol. vii.). 36. Περὶ Δυσπνοίας
, De Difficili Respiratione
(vol. vii.). 37. Περὶ Πλήθους
, De Plenitudine
(vol. vii.). 38. Περὶ τῶν παρὰ Φύσιν Ὄγκων
, De Tumoribus praeter Naturam
(vol. vii.). 39. Περὶ Τρόμου, καὶ Παλμοῦ, καὶ Σπασμοῦ, καὶ Ῥίγους
, De Tremore, Palpitatione, Convulsione, et Rigore
(vol. vii.). 40. Περὶ τῶν Ὅλου τοῦ Νοσήματος Καιρῶν
, De Totius Morbi Temporibus
(vol. vii.); of doubtful genuineness.
Much pathological matter may be found in various other parts of Galen's writings, and perhaps some of the treatises noticed under the following head might with equal propriety have been classed under the present.
The pathology of Galen, says Dr. Bostock, was much more imperfect than his physiology, for in this department he was left to follow the bent of his speculative genius almost without control.
He adopts, as the foundation of his theory, the doctrine of the four elements, and, like Hippocrates, he supposes that the fluids are the primary seat of disease.
But in the application of this doctrine he introduces so many minute subdivisions that he may be regarded as the inventor of the theory of the Humoralists, which was so generally adopted in the schools of medicine.
VI. Works on Diagnosis and Semeiology.
41. Περὶ τῶν Περονθότων Τόπων
, De Locis Affectis,
in six books (vol. viii.); sometimes quoted by the title Διαγνωστική
This is preferred by Haller to any of Galen's works, and has always been considered one of the most valuable and elaborate, as it was written when he was mature in judgment and experience. 42. Περὶ Διαφορᾶς Πυρετῶν
, De Differentiis Febrium
(vol. vii.) 43. Περὶ τῶν ἐν ταῖς Νόσοις Καιρῶν
, De Morborum Temporibus
(vol. vii.). 44. Περὶ τῶν Σφυγμῶν τοῖς Εἰσαγομένοις
, De Pulsibus ad Tirones
(vol. viii.). 45. Περὶ Διαφορᾶς Σφυγμῶν
, De Differcntia Pulsuum
(vol. viii.). 46. Περὶ Διαγνώσεως Σφυγμῶν
, De Dignoscendis Pulsibus
(vol. viii.). 47. Περὶ τῶν ἐν τοοῖς Σφυγμοῖς αἰτίων
, De Causis Pulsuum,
(vol. ix.). 48. Περὶ Προγνώσεως Σφυγμῶν
, De Praesagitione ex Pulsibus,
These last four works are sometimes considered as four parts of one large treatise. 49. Σύνοψις περὶ Σφυγμῶν Ἰδίας Πραγματείας
, Synopsis Librorum suorum de Pulsibus
(vol. ix.). 50. Περὶ Κρισίμων Ἡμερῶν
, De Criticis Diebus
) (vol. ix.). 51. Περὶ Κρίσεων
, De Crisibus
(vol. ix.). 52. De Causis Procatarcticis
(vol. vii. ed. Chart.). 53. Περὶ Διαφορᾶς Νοσημάτων
, De Differentia Morborunm
(vol. vi.). 54. Περὶ τῶν ἐν τοῖς Νοσήμασιν Αἰτίων
, De Morbrum Causis
(vol. vii.). 55. Περί Σνμπτωμάτων Διαφοπᾶς
, De Symptomatum Differentia
(vol. vii.). 56. Περὶ Αἰτίων Σνμπτωμάτων
, De Causis Symptomatum,
in three books (vol. vii.).
This and the three preceding treatises are intimately connected together, and are merely the different parts of one large work, as they are considered in some editions of Galen's writings. 57. Πῶς Δεῖ Ἐξελέγχειν τοὺς Προσποιουμένους Νοσεῖν
, Quomodo sint Deprehendendi Morbum Simulantes
(vol. xix.). 58. Περὶ τῆς ἐξ Ἐνυπνιων Διαγνώσεως
, De Dignotione ex Insomniis
(vol. vi.). 59. Περὶ τοῦ Προγινώσκειν πρὸς Ἐπιγένην
, De Praenotione ad Epigenem
) (vol. xiv.). 60. Περὶ τύπων
, De Typis
(vol. vii.); of rather doubtful genuineness. 61. Πρὸς τοὺς περὶ Τύπων Γράψαντας, ἢ περὶ Περίοδων
, Adversus eos qui de Typis scripserunt, vel de Periodis
(vol. vii.); of doubtful genuineness. 62. Περὶ Προγνώσεως
, De Praenotione
(vol. xix.); spurious. 63. Πρόγνωσις Πεπειραμένη καὶ Παναλήθης
, Praesagitio Experta et omnino Vera
(vol. xix.) ; spurious. 64. Περὶ Κατακλίσεως Προγνωστικὰ ἐκ τῆς Μαθηματικῆς Ἐπιστήμης
, Prognostica de Decubitu ex Mathematica Scientia
(vol. xix.); spurious. 65. Περὶ Οὔρων
, De Urinis
(vol. xix.); of doubtful genuineness. 66. Περὶ Οὔρων ἐν Συντόμῳ
, De Urinis Compendium
(vol. xix.); spurious. 67. Περὶ Οὔρων ἐκ τῶν Ἱπποκράτους καὶ Γαληνοῦ
, καὶ ἅλλων τινῶν
, De Urinis ex Hippoerate, Galeno, et aliis quibusdam
(vol. xix.). 68. Περὶ Σφυγμῶν πρὸς Ἀντώνιον
, De Pulsibus ad Antonium
(vol. xix.); spurious. 69. Compendium Pulsuum
(vol. viii. ed. Chart.); spurious.
It would be difficult to give anything like an analysis of Galen's mode of discovering the nature of diseases, and of forming his prognosis, in which his skill and success were so great that he ventured to assert that, by the assistance of the Deity, he had never been wrong. (Comment. in Hippocr.
" 2.20. vol. xviii. pt. i. p. 383.)
One of his chief sources of prognosis was derived from the Critical Days, in which doctrine he reposes such confidence that he affirms, that, by a proper observance of them, the physician may be able to prognosticate the very hour when a fever will terminate.
He believed (as did most of the ancient authorities) that the critical days are influenced by the moon. Another very important element in his diagnosis and prognosis was afforded by the Pulse, on which subject, as the works of his predecessors are no longer extant, he may be considered as the first and greatest authority,--we might almost say our sole
authority, for all subsequent writers were content to adopt his system without the slightest alteration.
According to Galen, the pulse consists of four parts, of a diastole and a systole, with two intervals of rest, one after the diastole before the systole, and the other after the systole before the diastole.
He maintained that by practice and attention all these parts can be distinguished (De Dignosc. Puls.
3.3. vol. viii. p. 902, &c.); but his system is so complicated and subtle that it would be hardly possible to make it intelligible to the reader without going to greater lengths than can here be allowed.
A full account of it is given by Mr. Adams in his Commentary on Paulus Aegineta (2.12), to which work in this, as in several other instances, the present article is much indebted.
VII. Works on Pharmiacy and Materia Medica
70. Περὶ Κράσεως καὶ Δυνάμεως τῶν Ἁπλῶν Φαρμάκων
, De Temperamentis et Facultatibus Simplicium Medicamentorum,
in eleven books (vols. xi. xii.). Galen recommends his readers to study the third book of his work De Temperamentis,
which treats of the temperaments of drugs, before they begin to read this treatise. (Ars Med.
100.37, vol. i. p. 407.) 71. Περὶ Συνθέσεως, Φαρμάκων τῶν κατὰ Τόπονς
, De Compositione Medicamentorum secundum Locos
(vols. xii. xiii.). 72. Περὶ Συνθέσεως Φαρμάκων τῶν κατὰ Γένη
, De Compositione Medicamentorum secundum Genera
This and the preceding treatise may be considered as two parts of one large work. 73. Περὶ Ἀντιδότων
, De Astidotis
This is one of Galen's last works, and written in the reign of the emperor Severus, about the year 200. 74. Περὶ Εὐπορίστων
, De Remediis facile Parabilibus
The third part of this work is undoubtedy spurious. 75. Περὶ τῆς Θηριακῆς πρὸς Πίσωνα
, De Theriaca ad Pisonen
This work is quoted as genuine by Aetius, Paulus Aegineta, and the Arabic physicians; but is considered to be of doubtful authority by some modern critics.
This condemnation, however, seems to the writer to rest on insufficient grounds, as, on a cursory examination of the book, he has found nothing to prove that Galen was not the writer; whereas several passages seem to agree exactly with the circumstances of his life; as, for instance, where he speaks of what he had himself seen at Alexandria (100.8. p. 237.) Compare also the mention of Demetrius (100.12. p. 261.) with what is said of him. (De Antid.
1.1. vol. xiv. p. 4.)
The work (unless it be a wilful forgery, which is not likely) was certainly written by a contemporary of Galen, and in fact between the years 199-211, as the author mentions (100.2. p. 217) two
emperors as reigning at the time, which can only refer to Severus and Caracalla. Upon the whole, as the work has not been proved
to belong to any other author, and as there is both external and internal evidence in its favour, the writer is inclined to think its genuineness at least as probable as its spuriousness; and the question is of some importance, because (as has been mentioned above), if Galen really did write the book, he must have lived some years later than is commonly supposed. 76. Περὶ τῆς Θηριακῆς πρὸς Παμφιλιανόν
, De Theriaca ad Pamphilianum
This is also considered by some critics to be of doubtful genuineness, but (in the writer's opinion) without sufficient reason, as mention is made in it of Galen's visiting Rome (p. 295.), and of his tutor, Aelianus Meccius (p. 299). 77. Liber Secretorum ad Monteum
(vol. x. ed. Chart.), spurious. 78. De Medicinis Expertis
(vol. x. ed Chart.), spurious. 79. Περὶ Μέτρων καὶ Σταθμῶν Διδασκαλία
, De Ponderibus et Mensuris Doctrina
(vol. xix.), spurious. 80. Περὶ Ἀντεμβαλλομένων
, De Succedancis
(vol. xix.), spurious. 81. De Simplicibus Medicamentis ad Paternainum
(vol. xiii. ed. Chart.), spurious. 82. De Plantis
(vol. xiii. ed. Chart.), spurious. 83. De Virtute Centaureae
(vol. xiii. ed. Chart.), spurious. 84. De Clysteribus
(vol. xiii. ed. Chart.), spurious. 85. De Catharticis
in ed. Junt.), spurious.
In Materia Medica Galen's authority was not so high as that of Dioscorides : he placed implicit faith in amulets, and is supposed by Cullen to be the author of the anodyne necklace, which was so long famous in England. In Galen's works, De Compositione Medicamentorum secundum Genera
and De Compos. Medicamentorum secundum Locos,
we have a large collection of compound medicines; and the number of compositions for the same disease, and the number of ingredients in most of the compositions, sufficiently show the great want of discernment in the nature of medicines that was then felt.
This want of discernment is also very apparent in Galen himself ; for, although he frequently expresses his own opinion, yet certainly it would appear that from his own observation or experience he had not arrived at any nice judgment in the subject of Materia Medica, as these works are almost entirely compiled from the writings of Andromachus, Archigenes, Asclepiades Pharmacion, Dioscorides, and a number of other authors who had gone before him.
After the time of Galen no change in the plan of the Materia Medica was made by any of the Greek physicians; for, although in Aetius, Oribasius, and some others, there are large compilations on the subject, yet they are nothing more
than compilations, conspicuous for the same imperfections which are so remarkable in the writings of Galen himnself. See Cullen's "Treatise of the Materia Medica."
VIII. Works on Therapeutics, including Surgery.
86. Θεραπευτικὴ Μέθοδος
, Medendi Methodus,
This is one of Galen's most valuable and celebrated works, and was written when he was advanced in years. 87. Τὰ πρὸς Γλαύκωνα Θεραπευτικα
, Ad Glauconem de Medendi Methodo
(vol. xi.). 88. Περὶ Φλεβοτομίας πρὸς Ἐρασίστρατον
, De Venae Sectione, adversus Erasistratum
(vol. xi.). 89. Περὶ Φλεβοτομίας πρὸς Ἐρασιστρατείους τοὺς ἐν Π̓ώμῃ
, De Venae Sectione adversus Erasistrateos Romae degentes
(vol. xi.). 90. Περὶ Φλεβοτομίας Θεραπευτικὸν Βιβλιον
, De Curandi Ratione per Venae Sectionem
(vol. xi.). 91. Περὶ Μαρασμοῦ
, De Marasmo
(vol. vii.). 92. Τῷ Ἐπιληπτικῷ Παιδὶ Ὑποθήκη
, Pro Puero Epileptico Consilium
(vol. xi.). 93. Περὶ Βδελλῶν
, καὶ Κατασχασμοῦ
, De Hirudinibus, Revulsione, Cucurbitula, Incisione et Scarificatione
(vol. xi.). 94. Περὶ τῆς τῶν Καθαιρόντων Φαρυͅάκων, Δυνάμεως
, De Purgantium Medicamentorum Facultate
(vol. xi.), of doubtful genuineness. 95. Περὶ τῶν Ἐπιδέσμων
, De Fasciis
(vol. xviii. pt. i.), of very doubtful genuineness. 96. Περὶ Φλεβοτομίας
, De Venae Sectione
(vol. xix.), spurious. 97. Περὶ τῆς τῶν ἐν Νεφροῖς Παθῶν Διαγνώσεως καὶ Θεραπείας
, De Renum Affectuum Dignotione et Curatione
(vol. xix.), spurious. 98. De Colico Dolore
(vol. x. ed. Chart.), spurious. 99. Introductorius Liber Varias Morborum Curas complectens,
spurious. 100. De Cara Icteri
(vol. x. ed. Chart.), spurious. 101. Περὶ Μελαγχολίας ἐκ τῶν Γαληνοῦ, καὶ Π̓ούφου, καὶ ἄλλων τινῶν
, De Melancholia ex Galeno, Rufo, et aliis quibusdam
(vol. xix). 102. De Oculis
(vol. xi. ed. Chart.), spurious. 103. De Gynaeceis,
i. e. De Passionibus Mulierum
(vol. vii. ed. Chart.), spurious. 104. De Cura Lapidis
(vol. x. ed. Chart.), spurious. 105. De Dynamsidiis
(vol. x. ed. Chart.), spurious. 106. Τινας δεῖ ἐκκαθαίρειν, καὶ ποίοις καθαρτηρίοις, καὶ πότε
, Quos quibus Catharticis Medicameentis, et quando purgare oporcut
(vol. x. ed. Chart.).
To give a complete account of Galen's system of Therapeutics would be in this place impracticable ; some remarks on the general principles by which he was guided is all that can be here attempted.
He did not depend solely upon experience, like the Empirici, nor on mere theory, but endeavoured judiciously to combine the advantages of both methods. His practice is based on the two fundamental maxims : 1.
That disease is something con trary to nature, and is to be overcome by that which is contrary to the disease itself; and 2.
That nature is to be preserved by that which has relation with nature. From these two maxims arise two general indications of treatment; the one taken from the affection contrary to nature, which affection requires to be overcome; the other from the strength and natural constitution of the body, which requires to be preserved.
As a disease cannot be entirely overcome as long as its cause
exists, this is (if possible) to be in the first place removed; the symptoms, in general, not re quiring any particular treatment. because they will disappear with the disease on which they depend, The strength of the patient is to be considered before we proceed to the treatment; and when this is much reduced, we shall often be forced to omit the exhibition of a remedy which would otherwise have been required by the nature of the disease.
He appears to have been rather bold in the use of the lancet, and (as we have seen above, § 89.) thought it necessary to defend his custom in this respect against the followers of Erasistratus then practising at Rome.
In cases of emergency he did not hesitate to perform this operation himself; in general, however, though he had practised surgery at Pergamis, when at Rome he followed the custom of the physicians in that city, and abstained from surgical operations. (Comment. in Hippoer.
" De Fract.
" 3.21. vol. xviii. pt. ii. p. 567, &c. ; De Meth. Med.
6.6. vol. x. p. 454.) Accordingly, in surgery he has never been considered so high an authority as several of the other old medical writers.
IX. Commentaries on Hippocrates, &c
107. Ὅτι Ἄριστος Ἰατρός καὶ Φιλόσοφος
, Quod Optimus Medicus sit quoque Philosophus
This little work, which might at first sight seem rather to belong to the class of philosophical writings, is included in this class, because Galen himself mentions it as one of those which he wrote in defence and explanation of Hippocrates. (De Libr. Propr.
100.6, vol. xix. p. 37.) 108. Περὶ τῶν καθ̓ Ἱπποκράτην Στοιχείων
, De Elementis secundum Hippocratem
(vol. i.). 109. Τῶν Ἱπποκράτους Γλωσσῶν Ἐξήγησις
, Hippocratis Dictionum )Exoletarum
(vol. xix.). 110. Περὶ Ἑπταμήνων Βρεφῶν
, De Septimestri Partu
(vol. v. ed. Chart.). 111. Commentary on De Natura Hominis
(vol. xv.). 112. On De Salubri Victus Ratione
(vol. xv.). 113. On De Aere, Aquis, et Locis
(vol. vi. ed. Chart.). 114. On De Alimento
(vol. xv.). 115. On De Humeoribus
(vol. xvi.). 116. On the Prognosticon
(vol. xviii. pt. ii.). 117. On the first book of the Praedictiones
) (vol. xvi). 118. On the first book De Morbis Popularibus
(vol. xvii. pt. i.). 119. On the second book De Morbis Popularibus
(vol. xvii. pt. i.). 120. On the third book De Morbis Popularibus
(vol. xvii. pt. i.). 121. On the sixth book De Morbis Popularibus
(vol. xvii. pts. i. and ii.). 122. On the Aphorisms
of Hippocrates, in seven books (vols. xvii. pt. ii., and xviii. pt. i.). 123. Πρὸς Λύκον
, Adrersus Lycum
(vol. xviii. pt. i.).
A work in defence of one of the Aphorisms of Hippocrates. (Aphor.
1.14. vol. iii. p. 710.) 124. Πρὸς τὰ Ἀντειπημένα τοῖς Ἱπποκράτους Ἀφοπισμοῖς ὑπὸ Ἰουλιανοῦ
, Adxersus ca quae a Juliano in Hipplocratis Aphorismuos dicla sunt
(vol. xviii. pt. i.). 125. Commentary on Hippocrates, De Ratione Victus in Morbis Acutis
(vol. xv.). 126. On De Officina Medici
(vol. xviii. pt. ii.). 127. On De Fracturis
(vol. xviii. pt. ii.). 128. On De Articulis
(vol. xviii. pt. i.). 129. Περὶ τοῦ παῤ Ἱπποκράτει Κώματος
, De Comate secundum Hippocratem
(vol. vii.); of doubtful genuineness. 130. Περὶ τῆς κατὰ τὸν Ἱπποκράτην Διαίτης ἐπὶ τῶν Ὀξέων Νοσημάτων
, De Victus Ratione in Merbis Acutis secundum Hippocratem
(vol. xix.) ; of doubtful genuineness.
Few persons have ever been so well qualifled to illustrate and explain the writings of Hippocrates as Galen; both from hiss unfeigned (though not indiscriminate) admiration for his works, and also from the time in which he lived, and from his own intellectual qualities. Accordingly, his Commentaries have always en considered a most valuable assistance in understanding the Hippocratic writings, and in old times served as a treasure of historical, grammatical, and medical criticism, from which succeeding annotators, Greek, Latin, and Arabic, orrowed freely.
He wrote several other works relating to Hippocrates, some literary and grammatical, and others medical, which are now lost, and from which much information respecting the Hippocratic collection might have been expected.
Those which still remain are chiefly medical, but contain at the same time certain philological details relating to the various readings found in the different MSS., and the explanations of the obscure words and passages given by former commentators. His own critical judgment (as far as we can form an opinion) appears to have been sound and judicious.
He professes to preserve the old readings even when more difficult than the more modern, and endeavours to explain them, and never to have recourse to conjecture when he could avoid it (Comment. in Hippocr.
" i. praef. vol. xvii. pt. i. p.794, 2.49, ibid.
p. 1005). M. Littré, in the Introduction to his edition of Hippocrates (vol. i. p. 121), considers his chief fault to consist not so much in his prolixity as in his desire to support his own theories by the help of the writings of Hippocrates; thus neglecting, in these works, the theories which do not agree with his own, and unduly exalting those which (like the doctrine of the four humours) form the basis of his own system.
X. Philosophical and Miscellaneous Works.
131. Περὶ Αἱρέσεων τοῖς Εἰσαγομένοις
, De Sectis ad Tirones,
or ad eos qui introducuntur
(vol. i.) 132. Πρὸς Θρασύβουλον περὶ Ἀρίστης Αἱρέσεως
, De Optima Secta ad Thraybulum
(vol. i.). 133. Περὶ Ἀρίστης Διδασκαλίας
, De Optima Doctrina
(vol. i.) 134. Περὶ τῶν παρὰ τὴν Λέξιν Σωφισμάτων
, De Sophismatibus
) penes Dictionem
(vol. xiv.). 135. Προτρεπτικὸς Λόγος ἐπὶ τὰς Τέχνας
, Oratio Suasoria ad Artes
(vol. i.). 136. Πρὸς Πατρόφιλον περὶ Συστάσεως Ἰατρικῆς
, De Constitutione Artis Medicae ad Palrophilum
(vol. i.). 137. Περὶ τῶν Ἱπποκράτους καὶ Πλάτωνος Δογμάτων
, De Hippocratis et Platonis Decretis
This is a philosophical and controversial work, directed against Chrysippus, and others of the old philosophers, and containing at the same time much physiological matter.
It was begun probably about A. D. 165, and finished about the year 170. 138. Τέχνη Ἰατρική
, Ars Medica
It is often called in old editions and MSS. Ars Parca,
to distinguish it from Galen's longer work, De Methodo Medendi ;
and this title is not unfrequently corrupted into Microtechni, Microtegni, Tegne,
This is perhaps the most celebrated of all Galen's works, and was commonly used as a text-book in the middle ages.
The number of Latin editions and commentaries is very great. 139. Περὶ τῶν Ἰδίων Βιβλιων
, De Libris Propriis
(vol. xix.). 140. Περὶ τῆς Τάξεως τῶν Ἰδιων Βιβλίων
, De Ordine Librorum Propriorum
(vol. xix.). 141. Περὶ Διαγνώσεως καὶ Θεραπείας τῶν ἐν τῇ ἑκάστου Ψυχῇ Ἰδίων Παθῶν
, De Dignotione et Curatione Propriorum cujusque Anims Affectuum
(vol. v.). 142. Περὶ Διαγνώσεως καὶ Θεραπείας τῶν ἐν τῇ ἑκάστον Ψυχῇ Ἁμαρτημάτων
, De Dignotione et Curatione cujusque Animi Peccatorum
(vol. v.). 143. Εἰσαγωγὴ, ἢ Ἰτρός
, Introduclio, seu Medicus
(vol. xiv.); of doubtful genu ineness. 144. De Subfiguratione Empirica
(vol. ii. ed. Chart.). 145. Περὶ Ἐθῶν
, De Consuetudinibus
(vol. vi. ed. Chart.); of doubtful genuineness. 146. Περὶ Φιλοσόφου Ἱστορίας
, De Historia Philosophica
This is Plutarch's work De Philosophorum Decretis,
with a few trifling alterations. 147. Ὅροι Ἰατρικοί
, Definitiones Medicae
(vol. xix.); of doubtful genuineness. 148. De Partibus Artis Medicae
(vol. ii. ed. Chart.); of doubtful genuineness. 149. Ὅτι αἱ Ποιότητες Ἀσώματοι
, Quod Qualitates Incorporeae sint
(vol. xix.); spurious.
No one has ever set before the medical profession a higher standard of perfection than Galen, and few, if any, have more nearly approached it in their own person.
He evidently appears from his works to have been a most accomplished and learned man, and one of his short essays (§ 107.) is written to inculcate the necessity of a physician's being acquainted with other branches of knowledge besides merely medicine. Of his numerous philosophical writings the greater part are lost; but his celebrity in logic and metaphysics appears to have been great among the ancients, as he is mentioned in company with Plato and Aristotle by his contemporary, Alexander Aphrodisiensis. (Comment. in Aristot.
" 8.1. p. 262, ed. Venet. 1513.) Alexander is said by the Arabic historians to have been personally acquainted with Galen, and to have nicknamed him Mule's Head,
on account of "the strength of his head in argument and disputation." (Casiri, Biblioth. Arabico-Hisp. Escur.
vol. i. p. 243; Abú-l-Faraj, Hist. Dynast.
p. 78.) Galen had profoundly studied the logic of the Stoics and of Aristotle: he wrote a Commentary on the whole of the Organon (except perhaps the Topica), and his other works on Logic amounted to about thirty, of which only one short essay remains, viz. De Sophismatibus penes Dictionem,
whose genuineness has been considered doubtful. His logical works appear to have been well known to the Arabic authors, and to have been translated into that language ; and it is from Averroes that we learn that the fourth figure of a syllogism was ascribed to Galen (Expos. in Porphyr.
" vol. i. p. 56, verso, and p. 63, verso, ed. Venet. 1552); a tradition which is found in no Greek writer, but which, in the absence of any contradictory testimony, has been generally followed, and has caused the figure to be called by his name.
It is, however, rejected by Averroes, as less natural than the others; and M. Saint Hilaire (De la Logique d'Aristote
) considers that it may possibly have been Galen who gave to this form the name of the fourth figure, but that, considered as an annex to the first (of which it is merely a clumsy and inverted form), it had long been known in the Peripatetic School, and was probably received from Aristotle himself.
In Philosophy, as in Medicine, he does not appear to have addicted himself to any particular school, but to have studied the doctrines of each ; though neither is he to be called an eclectic
in the same sense as were Plotinus, Porphyry, Iambilichus, and others. IIe was most attached to the Peripatetic School, to which he often accommodates the maxims of the Old Academy.
He was far removed from the Neo-Platonists, and with the followers of the New Academy, the Stoics, and the Epicureans he carried on frequent controversies.
He did not agree with those advocates of universal scepticism who asserted that no such thing as certainty could be attained in any science, but was content to suspend his judgment on those matters which were not capable of observation, as, for instance, the nature of the human soul, respecting which he confessed he was still in doubt, and had not even been able to attain to a probable opinion. (De Fact. Form.
vol. iv. p. 700.)
The fullest account of Galen's philosophical opinions is given by Kurt Sprengel in his Beiträge zur Geschichte der Medicin,
who thinks he has not hitherto been placed in the rank he deserves to hold : and to this the reader is referred for further particulars.
Fragments, short spurious works and lost and unpublished writings
A list of the fragments, short spurious works, and lost and unpublished writings of Galen, are given in K¨hn's edition.
Respecting Galen's personal history, see Phil. Labbei, Elogium Chrootooicum (Galeni ;
and, Vita Galeni ex propriis Operibus collecta,
Paris, 1660, 8vo.; Ren. Chartier's Life, prefixed to his edition of Galen; Dan. Le Clerc, Hist. de la Médecine ;
J. A. Fabricii Biblioth. Graeca.
In the new edition the article was revised and rewritten by J. C. G. Ackermann; and this, with some additions by the editor, is prefixed by Kühn to his edition of (Galen. Kurt Sprengel, Geschichte der Arzneyhunde,
translated into French by Jourdan.
Writings and Opinions
His writings and opinions are discussed by Jac. Brucker, in his Hist. Crit. Philosopl. ;
Alb. von Haller, in his Biblioth. Botan., Biblioth. Chirurg.,
and Biblioth. Medic. Pract. ;
Le Clerc and Sprengel, in their Histories of Medicine; Sprengel, in his Beiträge zur Geschichte der Medicin.
Some of the most useful works for those who are studying Galen's own writings, are, -- Andr. Lacunae Epitome Galeni,
Basil. 1551, fol., and several times reprinted.; Ant. Musa Brassavoli Index, in Opera Galeni,
forming one of the volumes of the Juntine editions of Galen (a most valuable work, though unnecessarily prolix); Conr. Gesneri Prolegomena
to Froben's third edition of Galen's works.
The Commentaries on separate works, or on different classes of his works, are too numerous to be here mentioned.
The most complete bibliographical information respecting Galen will be found in Haller's Bibliothecae,
Ackermann's Historia Literaria,
and Choulant's Handb. der Bücherkunde für die Aeltere Medicin,
and his Biblioth. Medico-Historica.
Some other physicians that are said to have borne the name of Galen, and who are mentioned by Fabricius (Biblioth. Graec.
vol. xiii. p. 166, ed. vet.), seem to be of doubtful authority.