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Galen’s Philosophical Insights


Pneuma: The Universal Spirit

Drawing from his philosophical studies, Galen concluded that various bodily functions were influenced by the Pneuma, or universal spirit. He envisioned the pneuma as a fine, spirit-like substance that flowed through the universe, organizing and controlling physical bodies.

Three Types of Spirit

Galen categorized the pneuma into three types of spirit:

Spiritus Vitalis (Life Spirit): Originating in the heart and flowing through the arteries.
Spiritus Animalis (Animal Spirit): Found in the brain and nerves Understanding Human Temperaments.
Spiritus Naturalis (Natural Spirit): Formed in the liver.
Title: Galenic Physiological Theory

Sustaining Life Process

While emphasizing the role of the pneuma, Galen also believed that the life process depended on food, converted into blood in the liver. This blood, originating from the liver, nourished essen

Understanding Human Temperaments


Galen’s Insights

Four Basic Human Temperaments

Building upon Hippocrates’ theory of the four humours, Galen proposed the concept of four basic human temperaments, each linked to the dominance of one of the humours. These temperaments were:

Sanguinicus (Blood Dominance): Cheerful and lively
Flegmaticus (Phlegm Dominance): Calm and tough
Melancholicus (Melancholy Dominance): Worrisome and gloomy
Cholericus (Choler Dominance): Energetic
Galen believed that one’s personality was closely connected to their physical makeup.

Galen’s Contributions to Physiology

Unraveling the Mysteries of Physiology

Galen significantly contributed to the development of human physiological science. In ancient times, the functions of the heart and blood vessels were mysterious. Earlier theories by Alcmaeon of Croton and Aristotle suggested connections between blood, sleep, and the brain. Galen debunked many of th

Doctor of Gladiators


Galen’s Medical Journey

Early Medical Journey

After initially studying philosophy, especially Aristotle, Galen shifted his focus to medicine at the age of seventeen. Traveling through Greece, Asia Minor, and Palestine, he honed his skills and became a doctor in Alexandria, a prominent medical center.

Return to Pergamum and Gymnasium Doctor

Around 159, at 28, Galen returned to Pergamum, his birthplace, and became the doctor at the local gymnasium attached to the sanctuary of Asklepios. Asklepios Galen’s Philosophical Insights, son of the sun god Apollo, was associated with healing.

Imperial Physician and Gladiators’ Care

Moving to the Empire’s capital, Galen became a renowned teacher of medicine and the personal physician to Emperor Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. He also tended to the gladiators, treating their wounds, which expanded his anatomical knowledge. This expe

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