Lecture 5 - From Galen to Galenism (Part 1).docx

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Western University
History of Science
History of Science 2220
Dorotea Gucciardo

October 17, 2012 [FROM GALEN TO GALENISM] Galen of Pergamum (129- ca 216 AD)  Anyone who came after him was either ignored or somehow attributed back to Galen.  Uncanny ability to present himself as an expert and discount colleagues. th  His interpretations of Hippocrates (his mentor) remained unchallenged all the way up to the 20 century.  434 titles under his name.  More words survived from Galen than any other Greek (medical) writing. However, he didn’t just write about medicine, also poetry, anatomy, dissections, and the soul.  Died at age 80, but created his own legacy, and remains exemplary to this day.  He also summarized the work of all those that came before him.  Used medical discoveries to resolve philosophical disputes. One included Plato’s theory of the Tripartite Soul. o The soul consists of 3 parts: the brain, liver, and heart. o By operating on animals, he located and therefore proved that existence of the Tripartite Soul.  Century that followed his death (until 350 A.D.), there was nothing significant in terms of medical activity or discovery (or at least no records have been found). By 350 A.D. it is a completely different world. The Roman Empire had grown substantially. Roman Empire  Greece came under Roman rule by 146.  Roman culture was Greco-Roman; very Greek-oriented.  By 350 the Roman Empire had gained a second capital: Constantinople (modern day Istanbul), after Constantine I. The city became the wealthiest city of the middle ages.  Under Constantine (the Great), Christianity became the dominant religion of the Roman Empire.  Encyclopaedias were developed and showed learning (evolution of medical knowledge) and progress. However, over time they become less relevant, as there is a shift back to Galen. Everything is subsoomed by the Galen name.  Galenism = Galen’s legacy; what people think of his principles long after he’s dead.  He suggested that there was little left to learn, and his influence spread and dominated the Medieval times, bringing with it, Greek medicine.  By 600 A.D. a syllabus of Galen’s work existed, translated and transferred all over the world. Also, his claims to perfecting medicine were revered and believed. He and his theories thought to be superio
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