The Ancient Library
 

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ROMAN PERIOD. 533

ness and contempt for some of his adversaries, for each of which failings the circumstances of the times afforded great, if not sufficient excuse. He was also one of the most learned and accomplished men of his age, as is proved not only by his extant writings, but also by the long list of his works on various branches of philosophy, which are now lost. All this may make us the more regret that he was so little brought into con­tact with Christianity, of which he appears to have known nothing more than might be learned from the popular conversation of the day during a time of persecution: yet in one of his lost works, of which a fragment is quoted by his Arabian biographers, he speaks of the Christians in higher terms, and praises their temperance and chastity, their blameless lives, and love of virtue, in which they equalled or surpassed the philosophers of the age.1

The works that are still extant under the name of Galen consist of eighty-three treatises acknowledged to be genuine ; nineteen whose gen­uineness has, with more or less reason, been doubted; forty-five un­doubtedly spurious; nineteen fragments; and fifteen commentaries on different works of Hippocrates; and, besides these, more than fifty short pieces and fragments (many or most of which are probably spurious) are enumerated as still lying unpublished in different European libraries. Almost all these treat of some branch of medical science, and many of them were composed at the request of his friends, and without any view to publication. Besides these, however, Galen wrote a great number of works, of which nothing but the titles have been preserved ; so that, al­together, the number of his distinct treatises can not have been less than five hundred. Some of these are very short, and he frequently repeats whole passages, with hardly any variation, in different works; but still, when the number of his writings is considered, their intrinsic excellence, and the variety of subjects of which he treated (extending not only to every branch of medical science, but also to ethics, logic, grammar, and other departments of philosophy), he has always been justly ranked among the greatest authors that have ever lived. His style is elegant, but diffuse and prolix, and he abounds in allusions to and quotations from the ancient Greek poets, philosophers, and historians.

At the time when Galen began to devote himself to the study of medi­cine, the profession was divided into several sects, which were constant­ly disputing with each other. The Dogmatici and Empirici had for sev­eral centuries been opposed to each other. In the first century B.C. had arisen the sect of the Methodic]; and shortly before Galen's own time had been founded those of the Eclectici, Pneumatici, and Episynthetici. Galen attached himself exclusively to none of these sects, but chose from the tenets of each what he believed to be good and true, and called those persons slaves who designated themselves as followers of Hippocrates, Praxagoras, or any other man. In his general principles, however, he may be considered as belonging to the Dogmatic sect, for his method was to reduce all his knowledge, as acquired by the observation of facts, to general theoretical principles. These principles he indeed professed to

1 Greenhill, L c.

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