Galen and the Rhetoric of Healing by Susan P. Mattern

By Susan P. Mattern

Galen is an important health professional of the Roman imperial period. a lot of his theories and practices have been the foundation for clinical wisdom for hundreds of years after his loss of life and a few practices―like checking a patient’s pulse―are nonetheless used this day. He additionally left an enormous corpus of writings which makes up a whole one-eighth of all surviving old Greek literature. via her readings of 1000's of Galen’s case histories, Susan P. Mattern offers the 1st systematic research of Galen’s scientific perform.

Galen’s sufferer narratives light up interesting interaction one of the craft of therapeutic, social classification, specialist festival, ethnicity, and gender. Mattern describes the general public, aggressive, and masculine nature of medication one of the city elite and analyzes the connection among medical perform and gear within the Roman family. She additionally unearths that even supposing Galen is mostly perceived as self-absorbed and self-promoting, his writings exhibit him as delicate to the patient’s historical past, indicators, perceptions, or even phrases.

Examining his specialist interactions within the context of the area during which he lived and practiced, Galen and the Rhetoric of Healing offers a clean standpoint on a foundational determine in medication and priceless perception into how medical professionals considered their sufferers and their perform within the old world.

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108 In this collection of case histories, the most prominent medical theme is a theory of the body and disease based on four liquids, or humors (blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile). The author often ascribes a specific temperament, or mixture of humors, to his patients and associates disease with a wrong or poor mixture of humors; he also frequently mentions harmful “material,” which he may imagine as a humor that takes on dangerous qualities or accumulates in inappropriate places. A few stories also suggest that the author links humors and their qualities to the seasons and the weather.

In this story, Galen describes Glaucon as a “philosopher” with a low opinion of medicine; but Galen apparently so impressed him that, later, he requested the brief therapeutic work that is addressed to him before departing on a journey. 59 Glaucon is not the only philosopher in Galen’s readership; I have also mentioned Antisthenes. Epigenes, too, is educated in geometry and logic. 60 A few of Galen’s addressees are known holders of imperial office, men of equestrian or senatorial status; Boethus is the most prominent example.

3, 5). The reason this collection of case histories was written or compiled is unknown. 110 If he is correct, other lost compilations may have existed in abundance, as doctors kept written records of their successes for submission. However, the nature of these contests is poorly understood, and they are not attested until the second century AD. Although the stories are agonistic in character and seem suitable for public contests, Galen’s stories show that case histories may contain the same agonistic elements when they were composed for other purposes.

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