« ForrigeFortsæt »
early part of the first century, was Quintus, a consummate anatomist, and the ablest physician of his time.* Though not mentioned as a writer, he was followed by several able disciples, as Lycus of Macedon, Marinus, Pelops, Numisianus, and Satyrius; of all of whom Galen speaks in admiration,-of Marinus, as the author of an elaborate treatise on anatomy; and of the others, as his own preceptors. He further informs us, that at the Asclepion of this city, built by Costunius Rufinus, the friend and coadjutor of his preceptor Satyrius,† the pupils were in daily attendance upon the sick, studying their diseases at the bed-side, and acquiring such chance acquaintance with the organization of the human body as could be obtained from witnessing the surgical operations and dissections of their instructor. Even after Galen's time, this school maintained its early celebrity; and we are told that the emperor, Caracalla, visited the city expressly for obtaining the advice of its professors.
* Galen, vol. xiv. p. 602.
† Ibid. vol. ii. p. 224-5, and elsewhere.
Le Clerc, parte première, liv. i. chap. xx. p. 63.
CLAUDIUS GALEN,* the prince of physicians, was born at Pergamus, A. D., 131; and, under the judicious care of his father, Nico, received every advantage of early education at his native place. At the age of seventeen, he was placed as a student at the Asclepion of Pergamus, under Satyrius, the pupil and successor of Quintus; and in the course of his studies had the advantage of instruction from Stratonicus, a Hippocratic rationalist, and from Æschrion, an empiric. On the death of his father, Galen, now twenty-one years of age, removed to Smyrna to continue his medical studies under Pelops, another pupil of Quintus; and to pursue the study of Platonic philosophy under Albinus. He next retired to Corinth, there to become the pupil and assistant of Normiscianus, also a former pupil of Quintus; and subsequently, he traveled through
* Claudii Galeni Opera Omnia, Kuhn's edition, 20 vols. 8vo. See the Historia Literaria prefixed to this edition, from the pen of Ackermann; see, also, Sprengel; the article Galien in the Biographie Médicale; the article Galen in the Dictionary of Classical Biography; and a cursory analysis of the works of Galen, so far as they relate to Anatomy and Physiology, by J. Kidd, M. D., in the Transactions of the Provincial Med. and Surg. Association, vol. vi. p. 301.
various countries, spending some time at Alexandria, still the most celebrated school of medicine, and was there, for a season, the pupil of Heraclianus, a professor of whom he speaks in the highest
While journeying in pursuit of knowledge, he, allowed no opportunity to pass unimproved for familiarizing himself with every circumstance bearing directly or indirectly upon his medical and philosophical inquiries; and even at an earlier age, he adopted the habit of writing commentaries on the philosophical works to which his attention had been directed.
At the age of twenty-eight, having completed his education, he returned to his native place, and by the priests of Esculapius, was placed in charge of the gymnasium then attached to their temple, and at which the athlete and gladiators were in the daily habit of exercising. The office of physician to this institution, he held for several years, during which time he had constant occasion for exercising his talents as a surgeon. But in consequence of political disturbances, he again retired from Pergamus, and at the age of thirty-four took up his abode in Rome.
Here he was not long in making himself known; a few successful cases among persons of elevated social rank, placed him almost immediately at the head of his profession. His earliest patron was Eudemus, the peripatetic philosopher; his next, the wife of the consul Boëtius. His cure of this noble matron was rewarded by a present of four hundred
gold pieces; and what was of more avail, it secured to him the friendship of the consul; of the prætor, Sergius Paulus; of Barbatus, the uncle of the emperor; of Marcus Aurelius himself; and of his brother, Lucius Verus, then associated with him on the throne.
This rapid promotion was not without its disadvantages. It excited against Galen the vituperation of certain members of the profession; and he, in turn, was not backward in expressing his contempt towards all who had undertaken to oppose him. But, rising by the force of merit, he maintained without difficulty the position he had acquired. To silence his opponents, he opened a school of anatomy, which still further increased his popularity, and attracted to his demonstrations not only students of medicine, but philosophers, politicians, and others, of the highest rank and influence. After he had been thus occupied for three or four years, his patrons of Rome were suddenly dispersed by an epidemic; and after their retirement to their usual summer retreats, Galen, too, left the city for Campania. Spending some time here, and at Brundusium, he afterwards set out on a visit to the East; but, before the close of the year, he was recalled from Pergamus by Marcus Aurelius, then in Aquileia, with his brother Lucius Verus, preparing for a military expedition against the Marcomanni, and who had assigned to Galen the business of providing medical stores, and making such preparations as were necessary for the medical care of the army. Accordingly, hastening through
Cyprus, Syria, Thrace, and Macedonia, he directed his course to Rome, and thence towards Aquileia. But the epidemic having extended thither, and his patron Lucius Verus having died of it, the expedition was deferred, and Galen seized the opportunity to resume his occupation at the capitol. Nor could he be again induced to join the army, even at the solicitation of Marcus Aurelius; assigning as an excuse that in a vision he had been warned not to do so, by Esculapius. During the subsequent absence of the emperor in the north, Galen was successful in treating his two young sons, Commodus and Sextus; thereby securing the favor of their mother, Faustina. Thus, in the enjoyment of unbounded popularity, devoting his attention to the poor as well as to the rich, and giving no inconsiderable portion of his time to teaching and writing, he spent the vigor of his life in Rome; where he was still residing, though disembarrassed from the cares of his profession, in his old age, as late as the reign of Septimus Severus. At a still later period he retired to Pergamus, where he spent his later years, and where he died, according to the most reliable authority, about the close of his seventieth year; though by some writers he is said to have survived to an extreme old age. His immense erudition, his glowing eloquence, and the almost endless labors of his pen, not less than his profound acquirements in anatomy and every other department of the healing art, had raised him before his death to the most exalted rank; and after his decease the people of Pergamus, proud of their fellow-citizen, and desirous