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GALENUS
Form: Gr. Galenos; Claudius
was the most celebrated physician in antiquity after Hippocrates, and at the same time one of the most prolific among ancient writers. He was born at Pergamon in 131 A.D., received a careful education in philosophy, and afterwards devoted himself to medical studies in his native city, at Smyrna, Corinth, and Alexandria. He returned to Pergamon in 168, and undertook the medical treatment of gladiators, as giving him the best opportunity for increasing his stock of surgical knowledge. In 164 he moved to Rome, and here won a considerable reputation by his success in practice and his public lectures on anatomy. After three years he was driven by the attacks of jealous rivals to leave Rome. He undertook scientific journeys through Greece and Asia, and then settled again in his native city. But he was soon recalled by the emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, and in 170 appointed private physician to the young Commodus. He died in his seventieth year, after winning the high esteem of his contemporaries. Part of his writings were destroyed in a fire; in all 125 of his books are lost. About 100 of his genuine treatises have been preserved: of 19 we have fragments, more or less considerable; the genuineness of 18 is doubted, 24 are spurious. Many have not yet been printed, while others exist only in Latin, Syriac, Hebrew and Arabic translations. For during the Middle Ages, down to the 16th century, the authority of Galen was, throughout the East and West, held, especially by the Arabians, to be unassailable. A prolific writer like Galen was naturally careless of his style. His writings leave no branch of medicine untouched. They comprise anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, and treatment. Among them should be mentioned the following: On Anatomical Procedure, in 9 books; On the Use of Parts of the Human Body (17 books); On the Parts Affected (6 books); On the Composition of Medicines (three works, including 26 books); On Method in Therapeutics (14 books). His book on medicine, a complete sketch of therapeutics, was immensely popular. He was also the author of 18 books, of commentaries on Hippocrates, whom he claimed as his master. These still survive. His books contain important notices on the history of philosophy, of which he professes his knowledge and enthusiastic admiration. Some of his writings deal specially with this subject.
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