The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.


power of coordinating disparate elements into a system.

Galen represents the closing development of Greek biology and medicine. The Galenic system was a preservative amalgamation of Aristotle and the Hippocratic tradition with whatever was added by Galen himself. No need to enlarge or change it, since the in­capacity of the following time for scientific investigation and even for fruitful clinical ob­servation prevented the further growth of biological or medical knowledge. Dissection and vivisection halted; clinical observation be­came dulled. Galen marks the end of progress in biology and medicine as his contemporary, Ptolemy, marks the end of progress in as­tronomy.

Galen's immense influence did not commence in his lifetime, nor arise at once upon his death. Time had to elapse before the sterile centuries felt the need of some unquestionable and encyclopaedic authority on which to base their medicine. As for biology as an investi­gating science, that had ceased to exist. Among the ancient luminaries in medicine, Galen was nearest to the coming Byzantine and Medieval period not merely in time but in [ 122 ]

About | Contents | Notes



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.