Chapter

Galen of Pergamon: Collector in All Worlds

Paul U. Unschuld

in What Is Medicine?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780520257658
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944701 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520257658.003.0038
Galen of Pergamon: Collector in All Worlds

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Galen worked out the insights from his experiments using set pieces from earlier attempts at interpretations, some of them dating back to the Greek era, and added his own conclusions. There exist his views on the source, flow, and function of blood. Galen had received a comprehensive education in Greek philosophy and medicine before he went to Rome aged about thirty. The Roman Empire incorporated things from various other cultures so Galen collected ideas here and there and put them all together in his own system. The pharmacy in Galen's system found a theoretical grounding for the first time. Galen created the first pharmacology in the history of medicine. The pharmaceutical substances made from natural plants, roots, rinds, blossoms, and leaves, and certain animal products, already had a long history behind them. No effort had yet been made to bring the knowledge of the therapeutic effects of the natural drugs into harmony with the four humors doctrine that had already been passed down.

Keywords: Greek era; Greek philosophy; Roman Empire; pharmaceutical substances; animal products; natural drugs; four humors

Chapter.  666 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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