Galen and the World of Knowledge (Greek Culture in the Roman World)

Galen and the World of Knowledge (Greek Culture in the Roman World)

Language: English

Pages: 346

ISBN: 0521767512

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Galen is the most important medical writer in Graeco-Roman antiquity, and also extremely valuable for understanding Graeco-Roman thought and society in the second century AD. This volume of essays locates him firmly in the intellectual life of his period, and thus aims to make better sense of the medical and philosophical 'world of knowledge' that he tries to create. How did Galen present himself as a reader and an author in comparison with other intellectuals of his day? Above all, how did he fashion himself as a medical practitioner, and how does that self-fashioning relate to the performance culture of second-century Rome? Did he see medicine as taking over some of the traditional roles of philosophy? These and other questions are freshly addressed by leading international experts on Galen and the intellectual life of the period, in a stimulating collection that combines learning with accessibility.

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medical case-studies in the Hippocratic Epidemics and in Galen’s Prognosis. The two works diverge in the mode of exposition, the range of diagnostic signs described, the attention given to the views of other doctors and the success rate claimed. Especially striking is the contrast between the specific and detailed (day by day) Hippocratic reports and Galen’s much more generalised and selective narrative. The divergence is the more arresting, given Galen’s consistent presentation of Hippocrates as

prefatory self-presentation  writing for friends in nicomachus’ encheiridion First, Nicomachus of Gerasa. Nicomachus was a mathematician and musical theorist, whose works date probably to the late first or early second century AD. We have two of his works surviving in full, his Introduction to Arithmetic and his Encheiridion, an introductory work on music. He seems also to have written a life of Pythagoras and perhaps also a work on astronomy. His writing tends to be very much neglected in

second sentence, however, we begin to see that the picture is more complicated, and that Galen’s reasons for hesitation are very different from those of Nicomachus or Quintilian, based not on self-deprecation but on worries about the state of society. He proceeds to detail these at great length, criticising the ignorance and frivolity of his contemporaries in vivid terms, in ways which recall similar tirades elsewhere in his work. He then turns in . to an attack on Thessalus, who founded

construction of the human body, in all its complexity, is due to the application of wisdom and planning will never, abstractly, be proposed or supported. Rather, this proposition will be demonstrated in practice. The strength and comprehensiveness of his account of the human being, the fact that Galen can explicate everything in this manner, that the argument from design works, and, indeed, that the human body is a marvellous thing, will be made, repeatedly, to speak for themselves. This method

the body is trying to discharge an irritant from the body. Eudemus (god bless him) does not give up and demands to know how the discharge will be brought about – for there are many different ways in which that might happen, vomiting, alvine evacuations, urination, sweating, haemorrhages, bleeding piles. Galen says that there is no special sign (s¯emeion) to indicate a general evacuation from the lower belly, but in the absence of any sign indicating any of the other routes, then one could hope or

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