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Classical Studies
Classical Studies 2900
Beate Gundert

Classics Notes – Apr. 5/12 (254) - This shows how good Galen is at diagnosing. Galen came to Rome at the beginning of his career. He goes to see a patient who is a physician himself. He is proud to be acquainted with philosophers as well. A prognosis is to know the past, present, and future – this goes back to Homer with the seer. Galen is able to make prognoses because he has a good knowledge of how the body functions. Only a physician who knows the meaning of signs and symptoms can interpret them. The person has a sign of weakened liver function – the liver probably has some kind of dyskrasia and improper mixture of qualities. The weakness of the liver (of autorative faculty) would be the main symptom and the disease would be the dyskrasia. There might be an obstruction. So one organ could have an organic disease or a homiomere disease, and one disease can lead to another disease. The patient also has a theory about his disease. In his pulse, Galen finds evidence of an inflammatory disease – the heart has a hot dyskrasia and must beat harder to get blood through. Galen uses two signs – excretion and pulse. Galen makes another observation about the patient – he has prepared himself a medication against pleurisy. Primary symptom is failed liver function, secondary symptom is excretion. But now there are other complications, such as pleurisy. There are some symptoms specific for certain diseases. This passage shows that there is prognosis by observation. There is also divination. It shows how a prognosis can improve one’s reputation. Galen has an intricate system but he is vague in his descriptions of dyskrasias. - Quintus Serenus (3 c. BC) is a latin writer in Rome. This is now a society where medicine was based on popular ideas. Before it was more Greek and educational. Galenic medicine was for rich people, but this medicine is for everybody. He used animal and human urine for medication. He also used incantations. (239) - This is about a fever that has a strong attack on the first day, weak on 2 , strong on 3 , etc. He believed that one should never name a disease otherwise they will get it (attract it). He used the word abracadabra. This is an example of magic – he uses metals with charged forces that are supposed
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