Doctor of Gladiators

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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 experience enabled him to perform surgery and study plastic anatomy.

Galen’s Contributions to Pharmacy

The Galenic Pharmacy

Apart from his medical practice, Galen played a crucial role in shaping pharmacological science. Operating his pharmacy, he stocked hundreds of medicines made from plant and animal ingredients. Galen meticulously catalogued remedies, emphasizing precise quantities and doses for each.

Humoral Pathology Beliefs

Galen strongly believed in humoral pathology, a theory rooted in the bodily fluids concept pioneered by Hippocrates. According to this theory, the body contains four humours (blood, phlegm, choler, and melancholy), and maintaining their balance is crucial for good health Customized Tours Istanbul. Galen extended this theory, suggesting that both an excess or deficiency of humours could lead to sickness.

Galenic Medicine Practices

To restore patients’ physiological balance, Galen advocated bleeding, prescribing laxatives, emetics, sudorific medication, and using vegetable-based medicines. His belief in the importance of humoral balance guided Galenic medicine practices.

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