(ca. 130 – 200 AD)

Claudius Galen of Pergamon is deemed the most capable physician of ancient Europe. His medical theories not only surpassed those of Hippocrates, they went on to dominate European school of thought for more than a millennium. He researched mostly on anatomy, physiology, pathology and pharmacology. And his successes helped influence numerous scholars into studying and advancing medical science. His extensive publications on anatomy (which used primates and swine as sample-specimens) remained in vogue for more than 1000 years: until Andreas Vesalius revolutionized anatomy with human specimens. It is generally assumed that the reason why his anatomical works never included the dissection of humans was because the Roman laws of those days forbade any dismemberment of human cadavers. Galen also ventured into other scientific areas: as embodied in the Natural Philosophy of his era. In terms of clinical expertise and accomplishments, he is widely acknowledged as first among equals. He purportedly published more than 500 treatises in various fields. However, less than half of them survived. And as depicted by the surviving ones, his philosophies improved upon the ideas of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Galen was so successful and appreciated that Marcus Aurelius of Rome, Athenaeus of Naucratis and Alexander of Aphrodisias all considered him to be not just the first among physicians, but the most outstanding philosopher of his era.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment