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CLAUDIUS GALEN (131-201)


WHO WAS CLAUDIUS GALEN?
Claudius Galen, was physician to five Roman emperors. He was a teacher, philosopher, pharmacist and leading scientist of his day. During his life he produced five hundred books and treatises on all aspects of medical science and philosophical subjects and his ideas were to formulate many of the scientific beliefs which dominated medical thinking for about 1 500 years. Galen was the great compiler and systemiser of Greco-Roman medicine, physiology, pharmacy and anatomy. Because he displayed a view of God and nature shared by the Christians of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, he was regarded by them as a fellow-Christian. This goes some way to account for the attitude of the Church towards free thinkers such as Paracelsus who challenged Galen's teachings.
Galen's influence can be still seen today. The word " galenic" is used to describe drugs and medicines made from vegetable and animal ingredients using prescribed methods.

WHERE WAS HE BORN?
Galen was born at Pergamum, Asia Minor on the 22 September 131 and was educated by his father, who decided his son should enter the medical profession. This was a wise choice as his son went on to become extremely famous.

WHAT DID GALEN DO?
At first Galen studied philosophy, in particular Aristotle but when seventeen began to specialise in medicine. While studying medicine Galen travelled extensively throughout Greece, Asia Minor and Palestine to gain experience and skills. Aged 28, he returned to Pergamum and obtained a position as doctor to the gymnasium attached to the local sanctuary at Asklepios. Galen remained there for five years then moved to Rome to teach medicine. While there his fame spread rapidly and brought him the post of physician to Marcellus Aurelius and his son Commodus. While he was physician to the emperor, Galen also had responsibility for the treatment of wounded Gladiators. This gave him a wonderful opportunity to study anatomy in detail and to carry out surgery. He performed vivisections and post-mortems on the Barbary ape, but never on humans.

WHAT WERE GALEN'S THEORIES?
Galen put forward the theory that illness was caused by an imbalance of the four humours: blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile. He recommended specific diets to help in the "cleansing of the putrefied juices" and often purging and bloodletting would be used. This theory
was accepted until challenged by Paracelsus who believed that illness was the result of the body being attacked by outside agents.
With the use of experiment Galen showed that the arteries carried blood and not air as was commonly believed. He also understood the value of the pulse in diagnosis.
However Galen also believed (incorrectly) that blood was continuously being made and used up.
As well as running a busy medical practice he ran his own pharmacy, stocked with his own medicines made from animal and vegetables extracts, many of the plants being grown in his own garden. Galen catalogued in great detail various remedies including how each was made and the correct doses to be given.
Galen died in the year 201

Galen

Claudius Galen was a Greek man who lived c AD129- 216. In Egypt he studied his medicine,but he was kidnapped and taken to Rome, where he was made a Roman. Here he was appointed physician to the gladiators. This proved good practise for his skills as he would treat all of their injuries. He went on to become the most famous doctor in the
Roman Empire.
Galen developed some of his idea’s from Hippocrates and his theory of the four humours and also that the body was made up of four liquids, which if one of them was out of balance you would be ill and use an opposite of what was out of balance to treat it. One of Galens best said ideas was to use clinical observation and also to find out what was the cause of an illness and then try to cure it. He had excellent knowledge of human anatomy which he learned from disecting animals like apes and also heoriginally patched up gladiators, he was able to apply this knowledge to the human body. He worked out the importance of the spinal cord and also of that if it was cut or damaged then they would be unable to move from below the point of where it was damaged or cut. This leads on to what he knew about the nervous system, which made him more able to cure people with his knowledge.
Also through dissecting and his knowledge of anatomy with what he learned of the nervous system, he was able to not only cure lots of people and save lives but pass on what he had learned to others, by books and other means. This was one way Galen helped medicine through time. Galen helped medicine in the way I have said above but he as also proved to be a hinderence to medicine aswell, which is some thing peole have debated over for a long time,was he a help or hinderence?
One of the main things Galen did which was wrong was his theories on the circulation, because he believed there was two lots of blood in the body, that was being mixed in the heart aswell as saying that the liver produced new blood. This was important though as it influenced medicine
and other peoples ideas for years and what he had said about circulation was all wrong. His wrong ideas overall were believed for over a 1000 years preventing any medical progress. Galen was also arrogant and insisted his ideas were right. Although Galen insisted he was correct and refused any other ideas, it was not entirely his fault that his ideas were believed for so long, because the church and religion chose his ideas as correct and decided to teach these wrong ideas. Due to religion teaching these ideas people were less inclined to argue with them.
Finally Galen was good with what he knew of anatomy which helped cure patients, but he did hinder medicine for a long time as he had them believing his wrong ideas and refusing other peoples ideas as right. He did more harm to medicines progress than help in my opinion. Claudius Galen was a Greek man who lived c AD129- 216. In Egypt he studied his medicine,but he was kidnapped and taken to Rome, where he was made a Roman. Here he was appointed physician to the gladiators. This proved good practise for his skills as he would treat all of their injuries. He went on to become the most famous doctor in the
Roman Empire.
Galen developed some of his idea’s from Hippocrates and his theory of the four humours and also that the body was made up of four liquids, which if one of them was out of balance you would be ill and use an opposite of what was out of balance to treat it. One of Galens best said ideas was to use clinical observation and also to find out what was the cause of an illness and then try to cure it. He had excellent knowledge of human anatomy which he learned from disecting animals like apes and also heoriginally patched up gladiators, he was able to apply this knowledge to the human body. He worked out the importance of the spinal cord and also of that if it was cut or damaged then they would be unable to move from below the point of where it was damaged or cut. This leads on to what he knew about the nervous system, which made him more able to cure people with his knowledge.
Also through dissecting and his knowledge of anatomy with what he learned of the nervous system, he was able to not only cure lots of people and save lives but pass on what he had learned to others, by books and other means. This was one way Galen helped medicine through time. Galen helped medicine in the way I have said above but he as also proved to be a hinderence to medicine aswell, which is some thing peole have debated over for a long time,was he a help or hinderence?
One of the main things Galen did which was wrong was his theories on the circulation, because he believed there was two lots of blood in the body, that was being mixed in the heart aswell as saying that the liver produced new blood. This was important though as it influenced medicine
and other peoples ideas for years and what he had said about circulation was all wrong. His wrong ideas overall were believed for over a 1000 years preventing any medical progress. Galen was also arrogant and insisted his ideas were right. Although Galen insisted he was correct and refused any other ideas, it was not entirely his fault that his ideas were believed for so long, because the church and religion chose his ideas as correct and decided to teach these wrong ideas. Due to religion teaching these ideas people were less inclined to argue with them.
Finally Galen was good with what he knew of anatomy which helped cure patients, but he did hinder medicine for a long time as he had them believing his wrong ideas and refusing other peoples ideas as right. He did more harm to medicines progress than help in my opinion.