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Aelius Galenus – Galen

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The Greatest Physician from Roman Antiquity. Galen was both a physician and a philosopher.  According to him, “the Best Physician is also a Philosopher Although surpassed by Aristotle in the realm of philosophy and understanding of the human person, Hippocrates seems to have intended by this statement that a successful practitioner should also be an astute observer of human nature – that physical health is intimately connected to mental health and sociability.

Although, a great medical theorist, like Aristotle, Galen insisted on keen empirical observation as well. Galen’s treatise On the Natural Faculties is a is a continuation of medial theory and practice from the Greek physician Hippocrates and onward to medieval and then early modern practice.


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Aelius Galenus (Galen)
Kolbe’s Greatest Books Volume 23 (Science)

Aelius Galenus  (129 AD 200 BC) was a Roman physician born in Asia Minor (Pergamon). After Hippocrates,the most celebrated of ancient physicians. Galen was not only a physician, but also a Roman philosopher. Some insist that he is the greatest of all medical theorists and practitioners of classical antiquity. His research includes works in the various related fields of pathology, pharmacology, anatomy and physiology and also includes contributions in logic and philosophy in general.

Due to his medical al acumen, it is not surprising that Galen became the physician of several Roman Emperors. Like Hippocrates before him, he ascribed many illnesses to different “humors such as black and yellow bile.  He was widely read into the Early Middle Ages.  His understanding of the circulatory system was unsurpassed until the research of William Harvey in the seventeenth century discovered that the  heart was the driving force behind circulation. Part of this is due to the fact that Medieval medical practice often forbade the opening up of cadavers and Galen is not reported to have ever dissected a human body.

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