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XVI.: ARS MEDICINALIS. - Hippocrates, The Writings of Hippocrates and Galen 
The Writings of Hippocrates and Galen. Epitomised from the Original Latin translations, by John Redman Coxe (Philadelphia: Lindsay and Blakiston, 1846).
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of the art of medicine.
This book is divided into one hundred chapters, containing much interesting and important matter, although of infinite diversity. Some prefatory remarks are made on the triple doctrines, or modes of inquiry, as to what medicine is, &c., and replies are given to such inquiries. It is said to be the knowledge of that art or science, that teaches what is healthy, what induces disease, and of the causes and accompanying symptoms. The body is said to be the recipient; causes act and operate upon it; symptoms indicate, both the state of health, and of disease. All this is more particularly noticed under each respective head, of the healthy, unhealthy, and negative or neutral state; of healthy and unhealthy symptoms, and, of such as indicate the highest health. The difference of parts, is then considered, either as original, or derivative; thus, the brain, the heart, liver, testes, are regarded as original; whilst the nerves and spinal marrow are derived from the brain; arteries from the heart, veins from the liver, and the seminal vessels from the testes, &c., and from these, as from a centre, what respectively concerns each, is treated of; as of the signs connected with the brain, arising from its magnitude, &c., of reason, memory, and the various senses, and their organs. So of the heart and other parts, their different signs or symptoms, indicating approaching or actual disease; the various modes, or modified changes of the system; solution of continuity; most usual curative indications; obstruction as productive of disease, either in number, location, or in force, &c., and with this, the Libri Isagogici terminate.
PHYSIOLOGY, ANATOMY, ETC.
This class contains twenty-eight books, and embraces an account of every thing connected with the human body, from its first formation of elementary matter; together with much physiological inquiry as to respiration, the pulse, muscular motion, generation, &c., all highly interesting, and containing the germs of many of the theories, or rather hypotheses of the present period.
The First Class consists of those works of Galen, that may be considered as chiefly belonging to Physiology; wherein is to be found abundant matter for speculation, as well as much of a practical nature. Here are nearly thirty distinct tracts, some consisting of several books or chapters; and in point of interest, scarcely yielding to any writings downwards to the present time. Sterne says, “I pity the man who can travel from Dan to Beersheba, and cry, ’tis all barren;—and so it is: and so is all the world to him who will not cultivate the fruits it offers.”—(Sentimental Journey.) And in like manner, I would say, that whoever could read this class of Galen’s writings, without feeling his whole soul pressing forward, sympathetically, to pay his respectful homage to the greatest ornament of the medical profession, must be incapable of appreciating truth and merit, because appearing in an ancient dress; whilst he receives with avidity, the plagiarisms and dicta of our schools; unconscious, that what is praiseworthy therein, is mostly derived from ancient authority, which their teachers profess to despise! whilst what is the reverse, is generally of “domestic manufacture!”—Ed.
GALENI, DE ELEMENTIS, LIBRI DUO.
of the elements.
The first book is taken up with considering the nature of an element. It is regarded as being scarcely cognizable to the senses, in consequence of its minuteness, but rather, appreciable by reason. Inquiry is made as to the number of elements, if one, or more; and attempts are made to prove that one alone is insufficient. This, although the belief of many, is refuted by reasons deduced from various considerations, as well as from the discrepancy of those who maintained the opinion; and the conclusion is drawn, that the idea is ridiculous, whether maintained by philosophers or physicians, that there is but a single element, either of man, or of the universe; for even they who most warmly contend for this opinion, can come to no agreement as to what this element is; and the author criticises them accordingly; more particularly Melissus. As chiefly speculative, this book, as well as the second on the same subject, is perhaps, of little absolute importance, further, than as they afford us the first views of philosophers and of medical men, on several particulars; from which, as a foundation, various hypotheses sprang up, and fructified, or decayed, in due proportion to the ingenuity of their respective proprietors. As a matter of curiosity, more than of real importance, it however is deserving of a full translation.
It is translated into Latin, from the Greek, by N. Leonicenus (Basil Ed.), and by Victor Trincavellius (Venice Ed.)
GALENI, DE TEMPERAMENTIS, LIBRI TRES.
thom. linacer, translator.
Hypothetical as are these three books, they are abundantly interesting and entertaining. The subject commences, by showing why it deserved investigation. Its division by different persons, some into two, others into four temperaments, together with the omissions of the older writers, are referred to. Some remarks relating to spring and autumn follow, and animadversions on the errors of nomenclature among the ancients; the right signification of names in connexion with temperament, together with the different accommodation of the same name, and the number and distinction of the temperaments, are fully considered.
The second book begins with a brief repetition of the preceding, and then notices the temperament of different ages, and explains them, together with the contrary arguments of many, on these particulars; it enters into the consideration of the temperaments of different parts, as evinced to the senses and reason; and by various qualities, such as thickness, tenuity, roughness, smoothness, &c.
In the third book the temperaments, or degrees of medicines, are considered, and the means by which any article becomes possessed of power. The difference of substances received into the body, assimilation of particles, spontaneous combustion, with a digression to the combustion of the Roman fleet by Archimedes with specula, all are considered; and also aliment, in its variety, and as differing from medicines. These last are divided under four orders, and are treated of, together with the difference produced in them from mixture, or variety of administration, viz., whether applied externally, or internally taken. Notice is taken of the harmless nature of the poison of the viper, or of a rabid animal, when internally received, and its opposite tendency if externally applied. Experimental experience of the knowledge of remedies is insisted on, and much variety of particular subjects connected with this, is interspersed; together with a concise abstract of the whole treatise, which concludes the book.
GALENI, IN LIBRUM HIPPOCRATIS, DE NATURA HUMANA, COMMENTARIA DUO.
two commentaries of galen on the books of hippocrates, entitled, “of the nature of man.”
h. c. campensis, translator.
These two commentaries seem to be merely an appendage to the preceding books on the elements of bodies. They are comments on that work of Hippocrates, translated above, De Natura Humana, and by Haller and others, De Natura Hominis. Galen considers all, beyond that which his first commentary embraces, as spurious, and not coming from the pen of Hippocrates. He ascribes it to Polybius, his son-in-law. They are, nevertheless, closely connected, and are not devoid of interest. They advert chiefly to the four elements of nature, and to four in the human body, as influencing health and disease; and they give the general opinions, (and the diversity also,) of physicians, as to what man consists of, viz.: of blood, bile, &c. We here find some remarks on the blood-vessels, in which some of the errors of that period, are intermingled with truths of later date; and adequate, if duly weighed with other parts, to assure us of a conviction of a circulation, even in yet more remote times, although its route was imperfectly comprehended.—Galen correctly observes, that our judgment is not always to be captivated by demonstration, but that reason is to have fair play; and he points out the error of some of those assumed demonstrations: such as, of four pair of vessels proceeding from the head; which, so far from being the case, as asserted by some, not any of the best anatomists had ever advanced. Much might be here adduced in order to aid our estimate of the extent to which the views of a circulation were really carried.
GALENI, DE ATRA BILE, LIBELLUS.
of the atrabilis, or black bile.
b. sylvaneus, translator.
This may be regarded as a treatise of some importance, in so far as it affords a view of the opinions of the ancients respecting the nature of this presumed peculiar principle of the body, the atrabilis, or black bile, as contra-distinguished from the yellow or natural bile, and as the supposed and abundant source of disease. After some censures on the writings of Plistonicus, Praxagoras, and Philotimus, on the subject of atrabilis, and praises of Hippocrates and Rufus for their statements; he adverts to the humours, and to their necessity in the body, among which is atrabilis. He rebukes the Erasistratians, Asclepiadeans, and Methodists, some of whom ventured to say, that any information as to the humours was useless in medicine.a He sets off, in speaking of the humours, with the blood; and notices the difference of colour between that of the arteries and veins; its coagulation out of the body, and in the body, as in the belly, intestines, bladder, lungs, windpipe and other parts: he mentions the healthy and unhealthy appearance of it, as to its colour and consistence; and states that it is sometimes like tar or pitch (“liquidæ pici similis,” p. 154, Bas. ed.) He considers the arterial and venous blood as being the same, and therefore entitled to one appellation; and proceeds to the notice of some other humours, pointing out their difference, &c., from the blood, and dwells particularly on the atrabilis, which is precisely expressed by our English word melancholy, i. e., μελας χολη, or black bile. He next adverts to several diseases assumed to be produced by its presence, &c. Other particulars are mentioned, and receive an explanation, different, perhaps, from that now given, but probably not more satisfactory; such for instance as the occasional injury sustained by curing hemorrhoids, &c., and other chronic complaints, and varicose ulcers of the leg, &c. All the humours are considered as being contained in the blood, (in venis, arteriisque,) and to be the source of health, when in due proportion, otherwise, as leading to disease, if this proportion is altered, either generally or locally. This change is often apparent in the modified appearance of the blood itself. The causes that augment or diminish the atrabilis are mentioned. He then opposes Erasistratus in his opinion as to the use of the spleen, and maintains that some of his views would lead to the belief that all kinds of evacuation, by bleeding, purging, &c., were equally beneficial at all times, and hence, that the daily observations of physicians in these particulars, are altogether useless. Much praise is bestowed on Hippocrates; and reference is made to Melampus, who treated affections arising from atrabilis, three hundred years before Erasistratus, who has said nothing, or but little, about it. Considering this humour to be contained in the blood, some remarks follow, which, although founded on an erroneous basis, yet they go to accredit a belief in a circulation, for, without such a supposition, even the erroneous foundation is itself devoid of sense.a A full persuasion of a circulation here, and elsewhere, seems unqualified: the qua via is not established by him, and is of no importance; it is in part apparently here, and throughout his writings. Its full perfection is not yet determined. Galen has done his part and full proportion towards it.—He terminates this book by referring to his own experience as to the importance and necessity of the atrabilis to the system, (longa experientia mihi certo cognita, compertaque sunt,) and although our present theories discard this humour, practically, it is admitted on many occasions.
GALENI, DE OPTIMA CORPORIS CONSTITUTIONE.
of the best bodily constitution.
f. balamio, translator.
In what this best constitution consists, is well laid down by Galen, viz., in an harmonious temperament of all the parts of the body, as well as in their proper situation, size, figure, number, and connexion. Health is stated to consist in that sound and wholesome state, in which all the actions of nature are correctly performed. What these are, are then more fully explained; and the opposite, or ill state of the body, is incidentally brought into view.
GALENI, DE BONA HABITUDINE, LIBER.
of a good constitution or habit of body.
This book seems a necessary continuation of the preceding. Galen commences by stating what he means by habit, viz.: that it is a permanent and durable affection, whether that be good or bad; the latter may be such, either simply, or comparatively; but the former is simply so, in the best constitution. Such was the case with Milo, Hercules, Achilles, &c., differing from that of the athletæ, as is explained, and comparisons drawn between them. The athletæ, from their immoderate diet, or increased circulation (sanguine nimium aucto), are sometimes suffocated, or rupture a vessel in the lungs or liver. A case is detailed from Hippocrates, of the sudden loss of speech from vascular repletion.
GALENI, DE OSSIBUS, LIBER.
of the bones.
This book, addressed to beginners (ad tyrones) affirms the absolute necessity to the physician, of being acquainted with the natural connexion of the bones. Galen traces their nature, uses, differences, and parts; their twofold mode of union, and the subordinate species, &c. Some remarks indicate his observations to have been made on the human body (humani corporis ossium, invicem cohærentium universa compactio sceletos appellatur), and not of brutes only. In a succession of chapters, he follows up a brief description of the bones of every part of the body, in a sufficient manner for the purpose of beginners; remarking at the conclusion, that the few rudiments of osteology thus laid down, he thinks adequate to the wants of a tyro; that the junction of all the bones, constitutes a skeleton, and, that as for sundry small bones, such as the sesamoid, it is not requisite to notice them here. He nowhere speaks as though his osteology was derived from brutes; and, such is the importance he attaches to the subject, the mind is forcibly impressed that his observations are derived from man, chiefly.
GALENI, DE MUSCULORUM DISSECTIONE.
of muscular dissection.
a. gagaldinus, translator.
This book is introduced into the Venice edition of Galen’s works, but seems wanting in that of Basil. It appears, however, to have an important connexion with several of the succeeding books, which treat of dissection of the nerves, arteries, and veins, as well as with the preceding treatise; completing thereby the brief view of these parts; and thus preparing us for a more compendious work succeeding to them, “De Anatomicis administrationibus,” of which, most unfortunately, several books are lost. I introduce it here, as following the order in the Venice copy, and principally to afford the outline of its proemium, or preface. It commences by saying, that no one had written on the subject of muscular dissection without error; but that Marinus is the most accurate of such writers. Yet that, as in one book, he could not detail every thing, therefore, the works of Pelops, Lycus, and Ælian, should be consulted. Pelops (3d book of the Instit. of Hippoc.) dissected the muscles, as well as all the other parts of the body. Lycus composed a large book on the same subject; and Ælian, in a compend that he formed of the anatomical writings of his father, together with many other particulars, also wrote on muscular anatomy. The works of Lycus, owing to much prolix interpretation, and intermixture of logical questions with those arising out of dissection, besides much that relates to diseases, were scarcely connected with muscular dissection. Ælian and Pelops noticed. carefully the objects presented to them, and which Galen was therefore the less induced to describe (quod et ego nihilo secius nunc facere decrevi), since he had, in two commentaries, elsewhere treated on muscular motion, wherein all that was useful in these particulars, is noticed. Exclusive of which, every thing that relates to the best mode of dissection, not of the muscles only, but of every other part, is detailed in the anatomical tracts; hence he deemed it useless to write expressly on the subject, saving, that he thought fit to state whatever was discovered in his own dissections, and collect into one book all that the authors abovementioned might have omitted, or otherwise incorrectly noticed. Besides, adds Galen, “numerous friends required me to communicate, together with my own, such particulars as they themselves had observed in their own private dissections.” He has given us merely the heads of what is demonstrated in other books, and those simply as helps to the memory.
The above explains sufficiently the character of the present book, which proceeds, in thirty-five chapters, to give a concise notice of the muscles, beginning with the platysma myoides, and other muscles of the head and neck, and proceeding downwards to the feet.
GALENI, DE NERVORUM DISSECTIONE, AD TYRONES.
of the dissection of the nerves.
same translator, ven.—ant. fortoloversus, basil.
In this book, the nerves are described, as being the organs of sense and motion, arising partly from the brain, and in part from the spinal marrow. Notice is taken of the anterior ventricles of the brain, and of the optic and other nerves up to the seventh pair, with their subdivisions, distributions, and inter-communications (qui inter se conjungantur), and of the discordant opinions of anatomists with respect to them; with an explanation of the causes of their ignorance of the subject. The close connexion of the nerve with the carotid arteries is mentioned, and enables him in another place (De Decretis Hipp. et Plat.) to explain some erroneous experiments on those arteries, leading to their incorrect denomination; after which the nerves of the spine and loins are mentioned.
GALENI, DE VENARUM, ARTERIARUMQUE DISSECTIONE.
of the dissection of the veins and arteries.
ant. fortolo, translator.
This book is addressed by Galen, to his beloved Antisthenes; and is a compend, requested by him on the subject, to refresh his memory as to what he has observed in the dissection of monkeys (simiæ);—but he states, that a more exact account is contained in his books of anatomy, not of the above parts only, but of all others. In order that Antisthenes may the more readily comprehend him, he desires him, in imagination, to look at the trunk of a tree; its lower part terminating in numerous roots, the upper, in many branches and twigs, as affording an idea of the blood-vessels; and to which they have been likened by Hippocrates and other celebrated anatomists, for facilitating their teaching. Thus, adds Galen, the veins that are spread over the belly and intestines, respond to the roots of the tree; whilst those termed hepatic and cavæ, (jecorarium, tum cavam,) are, as it were, the trunk of all the veins distributed throughout the body. For a like reason, the arteries, having their origin in the heart, are in part, spread through the lungs, and may be regarded as the root, in their short series of distribution. Pursuing this train of ideas, he goes on to point out the distribution of the veins that proceed from the portæ of the liver, to the intestines, spleen, stomach, &c.,—and then those of the vena cava; mentions its conjunction with the axillary vein, and its ramifications down to the hand; the division of this vein, and of those veins going to the anterior part of the thorax, both internally and externally; and from the cava adjacent to the clavicle, &c. Of the external and internal jugulars, &c.; all of which is, he says, more fully stated in his anatomical books. He proceeds to those below the diaphragm, and to the divisions of the descending cava; the minute and capillary branches in the kidneys, testes, spine, &c.; the deltoid divarication of the cava in the loins, and its further subdivisions. He then mentions in like manner the arteries and their subdivisions, and adverts to such veins as are found unaccompanied by arteries, and of the latter, such as have no accompanying veins.
AN SANGUIS IN ARTERIIS NATURA CONTINEATUR.
is blood naturally contained in the arteries?
m. rota, translator.
This book may be regarded as closely connected with the preceding one. That blood is naturally contained in the arteries is a proposition fully considered, and maintained by Galen, in opposition to Erasistratus and others. That they do contain it, he affirms from the fact, that it flows therefrom when they are wounded; it must, therefore, either exist there, or flow into them from some other source. Now, if they contained air, and the blood came from some other part, then the air should issue first,—which is not the case: a demonstration, says Galen, sufficient for those, who like him, are slaves to no sect; and who are capable of distinguishing true from false reasoning. But, as all physicians are not of that description, he deemed it right to oppose them; since the followers of Erasistratus contradicted him, and asserted that his deductions were false. The dispute seemed to be, whether air alone is naturally contained in the arteries, or blood only, or both together. His opponents appear to have been somewhat divided among themselves as to their views, and equally so, as to where the air or spirit came from. Galen pursues them regularly in their explanations, points out the absurdities and difficulties of their opinions, and proposes a query for Erasistratus himself to resolve, as to what would result from a would of an artery in the arm. In this quotation, one part is particularly deserving of attention, “Ab ea vero quæ descendit (the descending artery from the heart) aliæ (arteriæ) quæcunque in reliquum corpus diffunduntur; manifestum est hasce quoque omnes ad extremas usque ipsarum partes vacuas reddi oportere. Cum primum vero ad ultimas arteriarum partes vacuitas pervenerit, è venis in arteria, adapertis ipsarum ostiolis, quod solum contingit ubi totus spiritus exierit, sanguis transit,” &c.—“Atque ita sanguis spiritum sequens, ab arteria brachii susceptus in vulnus feretur, sicque universus sanguis, quisquis in toto corpore fuerit, ad acus puncturam confluct,—atqui hoc nimium etiam verest. Videmus enim ab una quavis arteria (modo capacitatis alicujus sit) in fluxum supprimas, universum è toto corpore sanguinem erumpere.”
From this, as well as from numerous other parts, it plainly appears that a passage, or circulation of the blood from the veins into the arteries is fully asserted, although the route is not particularly pointed out. The fact of its adoption seems absolute, from the necessity insisted on, of arresting the flow of blood from its local point of discharge, in order to prevent its total and complete evacuation. The admirers of Harvey, in giving him the merit of the full discovery of the circulation, will do well to ponder on this part of Galen’s writings; and honestly estimate what proportion of that alleged discovery should be awarded to his great predecessor.
Pursuing his objections to the views of Erasistratus, and his derision of the ignorance of his followers, as either forgetting or misunderstanding what their master says of the mesenteric arteries, (Bas. ed. p. 219,) some of the remarks made, would seem to indicate an acquaintance with, or at least a sight of the lacteals, which were mistaken for arteries. Galen affirms that nature does nothing in vain; and he draws an analogy from the stomachs of oxen, all varying, yet tending to one and the same end, towards which each one has its own peculiar office. So with the arteries and veins; blood is contained in each, dissimilar in constitution, for some specific object, as he elsewhere (aliis in libris) explains. That blood is there, he demonstrates by laying bare an artery, and then tying it in two places; on opening the intervening part, nothing but blood is to be found. He notices the ignorance of the Erasistratians as to Dialectics; and sarcastically laughs at them (Bas. ed. 222). He adverts to other difficulties, &c., and explains how the arteries are filled, maintaining the power of the heart in the distention of the arteries, and referring its further consideration to another place, (De Decretis Hipp. et Plat.) He next adverts to an experiment which deserves our especial notice, inasmuch as it forestalls what has been repeated since by Harvey, and by others near to our own time, by persons who seem not always to have known that it originated with this great master of our science; or if so, they have given it as their own without any notice of Galen.a
A full translation of this book would be useful.
GALENI, DE ANATOMICIS ADMINISTRATIONIBUS.
anatomical investigations, in nine books.
j. andernach, translator.
Bas. Ed., 226 to 394.
Of these most interesting books of Galen we have already stated that part of the ninth, all of the tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth, are lost; and as we shall see shortly, a sixteenth also.—An hiatus, maxime deflendus!
Galen begins by stating his reasons for writing on the subject of anatomy. He informs us that he had previously written on it, at the period of his return from Greece to Rome, in the beginning of the reign of Antoninus,a and who was then ruling. He states why he resumed the subject; one reason he assigns, was the intreaty of Flavius Boethus, a particular friend, and a great lover of anatomy, (anatomicæ speculationis amore flagrat, quam mortalium qui vixerunt unquam, ullus alius, &c.,) to whom he gave the copy in his possession on his departure from Rome, together with some other works. This copy he could not recover, on the demise of Boethus; and it would seem that he lost another, by a destructive fire at Rome.b Being now again urgently intreated by his friends, he was compelled to resume his pen;—and herein, we see a full display of the benefit of printing! Had Galen not written this third copy, we should now have been utterly unable to appreciate the anatomical merits of this wonderful man! He offers another reason, viz., that the work would be greatly improved, from various circumstances. He makes reference to anatomical books by Hippocrates and Erasistratus, besides commentaries on some, on living dissections (præter illos de vivis resecandis, item de mortuis, &c.,)—and informs us that he had composed a large work (ingens volumen) on the use of particular parts, in seventeen books, which he sent to Boethus; and notices three commentaries of his own, on the motion of the thorax and lungs, composed by him in his youth. He appears to have met with difficulties on the death of his friend, which, with other circumstances, impelled him to the steps he pursued. He adds, that he had shown Boethus many dissections, at which were always present Eudemus the peripatetic, and Alexander of Damascus, now (says he) holding at Athens, the public profession of that sect;—and hence, continues he, in order to oblige Boethus, I was at length induced to compose these principles of anatomy.
In the second chapter of this book, he enters more immediately into his subject. He says that the whole figure of the body is dependent on the bony fabric; and on this proposition, he proceeds to state, that, of all animals, the monkey, in its interior conformation, of muscles, arteries, nerves, &c., most resembles man, for such is the case in respect to his osteology. But how could Galen draw this analogy between man and apes, if he had not equally employed himself in the dissection of both? Yet, from this very chapter, have been drawn the principal arguments of those, who confine his anatomical researches to brutes alone! Indeed, he recommends an accurate knowledge of the bones, not from books merely, but from practice, and demonstration in the human subject.a Should difficulties present in this, he then commends the ape for dissection, giving a caution to select a species that most resembled man. I am, therefore, fully persuaded myself, from the general tenor of the chapter, that Galen did pursue his anatomical researches on man, and recurred to brutes, only for the purpose of comparative anatomy, or in a case of need; as is further shown by the following words (p. 230): “Ossium, ut dixi, omnium natura perdiscenda est, sive in humana, sive in simiæ corpore, modo possis; præstaret autem in utroque,”—and soon after, “Præstiteret sic instructum esse, ut si quando simiæ copia non datur, aliorum animantium corpora queas incidere,” &c.b
Galen, in the third chapter, adverts to the importance of a knowledge of the muscles, and to the neglect of the ancients in dissecting them. He mentions a prolix commentary on the subject, of five thousand verses, and notices its omissions; shows the high value of their acquaintance to the surgeon in particular, from the frequent occurrence of deep-seated abscesses and ulcers among them, and from other assigned reasons; and he affirms, that he who is best acquainted with them, will cut when necessary, with more self-possession. All this, taken in connexion, impels me the more strongly to believe, that dissection was then far from being confined to brutes; but that, at least in his hands, it was intimately associated with human anatomy. It may, perhaps, strengthen this opinion, to add, that in this part, as well as elsewhere, Galen refers to the ignorance of many in this respect. Certainly, says he, we shall grievously offend all those who have neglected anatomy; nor is it at all surprising that such should be the case with many; since, whatever they may say in behalf of it, it is a fact, that they would not put themselves out of the way in its pursuit. He gives one instance in a member of his own family, (probably a student,) who, on first taking up the subject of dissection, and skinning a monkey for the purpose, considered it as a degradation—but, from Galen’s account, he soon became partial to it; as will be the case inevitably with all, who, after the first impressions of disgust have subsided, pursue it diligently, and with a sincere desire for improvement.
In the fourth chapter, he thinks it expedient to explain his reasons for opposing the ancient anatomists, by pointing out their numerous contradictions; and the great discordance in their disputes respecting muscles having several heads and one tendon, and of others having only one head, and several tendons. All this is now, of but small importance, further, than as it tends to prove, that, even before his time, anatomy was in all probability as extensively pursued as in the present day, comparative, as well as human. Having disposed of these preliminary observations, Galen now proceeds to the consideration of the muscles and tendons of the arms and hands; on which he lays great stress, greater indeed than on those of other parts; inasmuch as he ascribes the vast superiority of man to brutes, chiefly to the wonderful construction and adaptation of those parts in him, and to their being peculiar to man alone. He is very minute in this examination and description, and probably, an accurate examination and a comparison of these parts, by a competent anatomist, both in man and in the monkey, might determine whether the description given by Galen, is derived from dissections of man alone, or of both.
This second book of Galen’s anatomy, is even of superior interest to the preceding, since it fully and conclusively evidences the great extension of anatomical research among the ancients; and which we cannot question, without placing a seal upon almost the only writer whose works have escaped the ravages of time, and which are worthy of consideration. He begins by explaining the paucity of ancient anatomical writers, and if words have any meaning, we have in his statement the strongest reason to believe, that anatomy was infinitely more extended then, than it is at present! So far from being confined to the dissecting-room of the physician or surgeon, it seems to have constituted a part of regular instruction under the parental roof, even from childhood! Monkeys must have been as plenty as mushrooms, if such universal dissections had to depend on them alone. Let us hear his account of the matter. In the first chapter of this book, he says, that “it was altogether useless for the ancients to write commentaries on this subject, inasmuch as it was pursued at home from childhood (a pueritia), by reading and writing, and by the dissection of dead bodies (cadaverum); and this, not among physicians only, but also by philosophers. A memory thus early exercised, was not to be readily obliterated. In process of time, however, it seems to have become customary to extend this instruction to strangers, as well as to children, (non liberis modo, sed alienis etiam artem communicare honestum esse consuerant,) who consequently were no longer exercised in actual dissections; and its early exercise in youth, being thus abolished, the knowledge of anatomy was of a more superficial character.” Galen then proceeds to show how things went on from bad to worse, and so limited in operation, that commentaries on the subject became necessary, in order to preserve what was known.
It does not appear, however, that such commentaries were wanting, even anterior to this period; for we find, in fact, that Galen refers to books on this subject; he mentions one of Diocles, as the most ancient that had reached them; and that after him, the writings of some of the elder, and many of the younger physicians had come to hand, (“post hunc alii quidam veterum medicorum, neque pauci ex junioribus, quorum prius mentio facta est,” &c.,) in which anatomy was so intermingled with other branches of medical science, such as diagnostics, prognostics, therapeutics, &c., that it was comparatively useless. He points out an example of this in Hippocrates, and adds, that “as there is danger of such works being lost, either from the negligence of the age as to acquiring information, or from the discontinuance in the instruction of youth, I think it expedient to write on the subject myself (merito commentarios scribimus); more especially, since some persons invidiously withhold their own information from others.” The above, and other remarks of a like nature, sufficiently explain, I apprehend, the character and standing of anatomy, both in the time of Galen, and that which preceded. Its importance is still further enhanced by Galen, in pointing out its close connexion with surgery, as in the case of wounds, the extraction of darts, excision of bones—luxations, compound fractures, opening of fistulæ, of sinuses, abscesses, and the like; adding, that without a knowledge of the situation of a principal nerve, muscle, artery, or vein, a surgeon would prove himself the author of death, rather than the preserver of life! He then states what he considers best to be known, practically, and as of far more importance than mere speculation, which, although of interest to the mere philosopher, is so to the physician in a degree infinitely inferior.
It may not be improper, here to inquire into the causes which led to the opinion of Galen being unacquainted with human anatomy, and that his dissections were limited to the brute creation, and principally to that of monkeys. In this inquiry we are reluctantly led to tarnish the name of a man, long venerated and esteemed as among the earliest and best anatomists, and who has even been considered by many as the father of this important foundation of the science of medicine; I mean Vesalius! It is to him chiefly, that this derogation to the claims of Galen is owing; others have only followed in his footsteps, from placing unbounded reliance on his good faith; and from ignorance, I apprehend, of the writings of Galen themselves; for certainly, this illustrious man has not wanted strenuous advocates in his behalf, among those who evidently had made those writings the subject of study and reflection.
Fabricius (J. A., in his Elenchus Medicorum Veterum, article Galenus. Bibliotheca Græca, vol. xiii. p. 165), speaking of some of the writers of the life of Galen, &c., adverts to J. Woweranus, Th. Reinesius, and Caspar Hoffmannus,—who, “non sine causa dissentiunt a Vesalio et Amato, qui Galenum secuisse humana corpora negant,” &c., although they admitted his dissection of brutes. Now, in order to strengthen this dissent of the above-named writers to Vesalius, it is necessary to adduce facts that have never been denied, that I know of; facts, derived from some of his contemporaries and associates, and others of later date.
C. N. Jenty, in an historical compend, prefixed to his anatomical lectures (3 vols. London, 1757), thus speaks upon the subject, after stating that Vesalius was born at Brussels in 1514, and died in 1564, at the age of fifty; and, that at the time Vesalius appeared, anatomists were so much blindfolded with the authority of Galen, that to have contradicted him had been looked upon as heresy: that Vesalius ventured to expose the mistakes, and correct the errors of Galen, both in physic and anatomy: which led to the censures of some distinguished authors, who charged him “with ignorance, want of honour, vainglory, and plagiarism.” To confirm this, he presents to the reader (p. 94), an extract (translated) from Piccolhominus, whom he calls an author of considerable note. As I possess the work of Piccolhominusa (Prælectiones Anatomicæ, fol. Romæ, 1586), I prefer to give it in his own original words, for Jenty omits a part, of some consequence to the full comprehension of the merited castigation of Vesalius. It will be perceived, that, (referring to his work, p. 207,) he is speaking of the fœtal heart, and lays claim for Galen, to certain parts that have been delivered by Vesalius as discoveries of his own; referring to the sixth book, De Usu Partium, cap. 20, 21, and ch. 6, of fifteenth book, in proof of Vesalius’s dishonest conduct. His words are as follows,—after stating that Vesalius “in magno illo de re anatomica volumine” had not mentioned these particulars from Galen. “Qua ab eo prætermissa, duo perspicuè indicantur; alterum, se in fœtubus dissecandi segnem et ignarum fuisse, cum hanc neque invenerit neque prodiderit; alterum, se libros illos Galeni quos modo commemoravi, nunquam legisse. Nec minus mirari subit Fallopius, qui passim Vesalium divinum appellat! An divinitatis nomen meruerit quòd rei anatomicæ, omniumque corporis humani partium, fuerit inventor primus et observator?” (The above is omitted by Jenty.) “Si mihi aliquando per otium licebit, luculenter commenstrabo, quæcumque bona scribuntur a Vesalio in illo volumine, omnia ex Hippocrate, Aristotele, Galeno, aliisque antiquioribus esse transcripta, horum virorum, nulla prorsus facta mentione; Quæcunque verò falsa, ab eodem scribuntur, quæquam plurima sunt, ex suo furibundo marte prodidisse.” And soon after, he adds, “Ex duobus itaque illis Galeni libris, et locis, in quibus admonet, horum vasorum coitionem in fœtu, nonnulla, veluti problemata eruam, quò res obscurissima, tractatur dilucidè et maximè perspicuè.” A sentence is added here in Jenty’s translation, omitted above, viz., “and though he has secretly stole many things from Galen, yet he never mentions his name, unless it be with a view to find fault with him!”
These are serious charges, we must admit, yet they do not rest on the assertions of Piccolhominus alone,—for Jenty thus proceeds: “The censure of Caius is still more remarkable. We both lodged, says he, in the same quarters at Padua, at the time when Vesalius wrote and prepared his book ‘De Corpora Humana Fabrica.’ One Aldinus Junta, a Venetian printer, employed him to correct the anatomical works of Galen, both Greek and Latin; and for that purpose, several emendations were sent him; but he rendered Galen’s text more corrupt than it was before, with no other view than that he might have somewhat to find fault with:” and though Fallopius owns him to be the father of anatomy, yet he carps at his opinion almost every where.—Columbus talks thus of him: “I cannot but be surprised that he, who on all occasions lashes and chastises Galen for his having described apes and brutes, instead of men, should yet, himself, be so ridiculous, as to describe the larynx, tongue, and eyes of oxen, and not of men; without so much as ever giving a caution with regard to it. He also ascribed muscles to the epiglottis, which are only found in brutes!” Eustachius has also observed of him, that “he described and delineated a dog’s kidney, instead of a man’s.” Arantius styles him the common master of anatomists, but accuses him of having delineated the pudenda of brutes, on account of the scarcity of the bodies of women; whereby it happened that Valverda, and those who immediately followed him, taking things upon trust, split upon the same rock. Johannes B. Carcan Leon speaks of him thus: “It is surprising that Vesalius, whilst he accuses Galen, the chief of physicians and anatomists, of so many blunders and errors, should yet himself, be so justly liable to censure in the same respect; and, what is still worse, by these accusations, he seems widely to have mistaken Galen’s meaning, ascribing to him things he never so much as dreamed of; and affirming, that he denied those things that he insisted on in the most distinct and explicit manner; and whilst he so often wonders at, and finds fault with Galen, he himself deserves to be wondered at, and found fault with.”
I repeat, then, that these particulars respecting Vesalius, are deserving of the strongest reprobation; and yet Galen’s character as an anatomist, has been settled by such an ungenerous conduct. Whatever may be the real standard of Vesalius’s attainments, no one, after reading the above statements of those, whose names are well known in our anatomical researches, will venture to derogate from Galen’s high standard, from the authority of his calumniator, who, in attempting to depress and depreciate him, vainly strove to elevate himself; and merits the contempt of every honourable member of the profession of medicine.
In the third chapter of this second book, we find much to interest, much to instruct us. Galen here enters into some details of the omissions and negligence of preceding anatomists respecting the muscles, nerves, arteries, and veins; and notices the ignorance of many, as to these particulars, even in his time. He adds that such knowledge is so absolutely essential to the medical man, that even the Empirics (the sect), who have written largely against Anatomy, have never dared to condemn it; but, whilst confessing it to be the most useful and important of any of the branches of medicine, they add, that it is attainable by the frequent inspection of wounds! He is wroth that any one should presume to think that a bare inspection of wounds can make an anatomist; and he pursues his remarks with much and well-seasoned sarcastic asperity, concluding that it is scarcely worth while to dispute with such people. He exhorts beginners to attend first to that which is most useful; amongst which he reckons the nerves, the arteries, and veins of such parts as are most likely to come under notice, rather than those deep-seated parts that are less under our control. He lays great stress on this, and tells us he does so, from the fact that he saw around him many who considered themselves very highly accomplished, although altogether ignorant in these particulars. He proceeds, in the subsequent chapters, to speak of the muscles of the thigh, leg, &c.,—and makes a remark that I think adds strength to the impression I have advocated, of his dissections being human, and not limited to brutes; viz., when speaking of the foot of the monkey, he mentions it as being very different from that of man, and repeats the same as to the hands and fingers, which he would scarcely venture to assert without a due acquaintance with each. In the last chapter, some observations occur in opposition to Erasistratus, on the subject of the nails.
Bas. Ed. 267.
This is an important book, and is connected with the nerves, the veins, and arteries of the hand and foot. Galen commences it with animadverting on those persons who make their studies to consist in sophistical discussions, rather than in the faithful and steady pursuit of anatomy. He points continually to the necessity of acquiring a knowledge of the external parts, and to the errors of judgment, and the unhappy results of practice, which an ignorance thereof induces. The extreme neglect he had witnessed in these particulars led him to the greater attention; and he strongly urges all who dissect, to pay early attention to the anatomy of the arteries, the veins, and nerves. We continually, says Galen, meet with physicians who know accurately how many membranes belong to the heart, or muscles to the tongue, with other things of like character; but who are altogether ignorant of the structure of the external parts, and of very much that they ought besides to have known. He gives a case or two in point; and in a succession of chapters, he notices the nerves proceeding from the spine to the arm, &c., the passage of the axillary vessels, the nerves of the thigh, leg, and foot, and their vessels. In chap. ix. he reiterates his views as to the diligence required in investigating the nerves and blood-vessels, and this, from considerations unsurpassed by any that could probably now be advanced by the first surgeons of this period. He here likewise gives a prominent instance of the gross ignorance, and consequent rashness, of a surgeon, who, in some affection of the arm, incautiously employing the scalpel, divided both the nerve and vessels of the part! Alarmed at the great effusion of blood, but expecting nothing more, the vessels were tied (“funibus vasis quæ amputata erant, circumdatis,” p. 284); immediately the patient discovered that he could not move his hand, and that sensation in many parts of the limb was entirely destroyed; on which he exclaimed to the physician, “Wretch, thou hast cut a nerve!” (ενευροϰοπηςας). So that, says Galen, by one single cut a whole limb was rendered useless. Again he refers to the general resemblance between man and the monkey, and commends a frequent recurrence to the latter. He speaks of a book (unfortunately lost) wherein he has treated on the danger of blood-letting; which book, probably, from the mode of expression respecting it, might have enabled us more fully to have appreciated the peculiar subjects of his anatomy (“ut nunc omittam quæ in sanguinis detractione mala designent, ignorantes quæ observanda sint, in singulis cubiti venis: de quibus etiam in libro de mortuorum consectione tractatum est.”) The whole chapter is interesting, whilst the whole book, I think, sufficiently establishes the exercise of anatomy by Galen, as being on the human subject principally, although that of animals was not neglected; and that the assertions of Vesalius and others, are not to be at all relied on, when employed in disparagement of this great man.
BOOKS IV., V.
Bas. Ed. 290.
These two books continue a description of the muscles, viz., of the face, head, neck and scapula, thorax, abdomen, loins and spine, &c., embracing much interesting detail as to the order he had adopted for his anatomical books, &c., and in the first chapter, terms are employed in relation to the monkey, which show that he, at least, knew well the difference of its anatomy from that of man, (“simiam vero ridiculam hominis simulationem existere demonstravimus: ac ob id hominis quidem modo graditur; sed in ipsis principalioribus partibus manca est,” &c.); of which he mentions sufficient proof. He moreover animadverts on the dissections of the physicians of his day, as being of parts the least important; and he esteems it his duty to impress this upon the minds of young men, and to urge them to a more useful line of conduct. This first chapter is, indeed, a kind of summary of the preceding books, and of those that succeed. Some reference is made here to books apparently lost, and which I have already adverted to, as mentioned by the editor of Galen. These books are from the fifth chapter of the ninth book, all the tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth books, and in the first chapter, fourth book, he speaks of a “decimus sextus illius operis liber, agit de arteriis, venis et nervis,” in which, he tells us, he has explained what is generally and commonly known respecting them. This must be considered as a great loss, for it would in all probability have enabled us more accurately to appreciate his anatomical skill, and the chief objects of his dissections; and also to estimate more fully his knowledge and views of a circulation of the blood. In the sixth chapter of the fifth book, he makes a slight reference to a singular case, which being more fully detailed in the seventh book, I shall there revert to it. He remarks on the ignorance of the older anatomists respecting the use of the intercostal muscles, notices the diaphragm (phrenes, vel septum transversum), and speaks of it as if it was formed of two muscles, an idea that has been entertained by later writers.a
The subject changes in this book; and those organs are taken up which receive and distribute nourishment, and subserve the excretions, &c. The approximation of the monkey to man is again touched on, and observations are occasionally interspersed, that approximate very closely to the present views on Phrenology, (“nullum itaque miraculum est cujusque animantis internam compositionem ex figura exteriorum clare conspecta prænoscere.” Bas. edit. p. 332.) Indeed, the whole book is in a measure replete with it, together with much other ingenious and instructive matter; all tending to prove that Galen fully deserved the high standing he attained; and must excite our astonishment that worth like his should be now so completely forgotten or underrated, instead of causing him still to occupy the foremost rank, which was awarded formerly, and continued uninterruptedly for more than ten centuries! It might not be amiss at present, for every member of the Profession carefully to peruse these interesting books, and then with candour (if self-love would permit it), contemplate his own attainments, and judge of them by Galen’s standard, instead of estimating Galen by his own dimensions! Perhaps it might lead to the conviction, even though that self-love might receive thereby a deep wound, that “all the talents” have not been limited to the present period of the world, even with the aid of the superior facilities of attaining information which the improvements of philosophy and of education are supposed to afford!
Galen considers the organs of nourishment to be of three kinds, viz.: 1. For reception, digestion, and transmission of food. 2. Receptacula, for excrementitious matters; and 3. Of such as subserve the discharge of those matters. This view of the subject leads to a digression on the difference of stomachs, as connected with the different food of animals; ruminant and non-ruminant animals are noticed; the number of stomachs in the former, and the intention of that singular formation. He then treats of the peritoneum, omentum, mesentery, its arteries and veins; the coats of the stomach and intestines; the variety of the liver in man, and some animals; the spleen, the vessels, and gall-ducts connected with the liver; the kidneys and urinary passages; the various sphincter muscles in different parts; in all of which, the position seems strengthened as to his dissections being human. He tells us, (chap. xiii. p. 346,) that a useless dispute had been sustained by anatomists, respecting the name of the ureter, and if it were more appropriate to call it artery or vein—and then speaks more particularly of the sphincters, their situation and uses.
In this book Galen proceeds to treat of the heart, the lungs, and arteries, as seen, both in the dead, and in the living subject. He tells us the principal organs of breathing (spiritus) are three; the lungs, the heart, and the thorax. He takes notice of the twofold kind of artery, viz.: the one arising from the left ventricle, spreading throughout the body, and pulsating in unison with the heart; the other, called the aspera arteria, the upper part of which has the name of larynx, whilst below, it ramifies by numerous branches through the lungs;—then follows an account of the pleura and pericardium, and a comparison is drawn between the former and the peritoneum; he proceeds to speak of the heart and arteries, and of the different opinions respecting the vessels of the lungs, and of the pulse.a I give a short quotation in a note, which, to many, I doubt not, will be interesting, as would much more of the same nature, in connexion with the subject of the circulation, which has so unadvisedly been entirely ascribed to Harvey. I do not wonder these books have never received an English translation! National pride would be shocked at the trappings which would inevitably fall from the mantle with which he has been invested, and find their original location in that of Galen!
Galen here takes notice of the non-pulsation of the vessels in the lungs;—a circumstance I do not recollect to have met with elsewhere. He further remarks, that it had been conjectured that these vessels are continued into the left ventricle; a conjecture, adds he, not solely probable, but, which seems certain, from the knowledge we have of its functions;—I believe this is the intent of his observation, which is connected with the above consideration of the pulsation or non-pulsation in the lungs. A complete translation of this book would be very desirable, since so much of it will be found to be intimately associated with the subject of the circulation, treating as it does of the heart and its valves, &c., and assuredly forestalling much of Harvey’s assumed discoveries. The largest elephant, and the smallest bird, that breathe, (continues Galen,) have a similarly constructed heart and lungs. And in explaining some of the differences between an artery and a vein, (p. 353,) he adds: “Quales igitur toto corpore existunt arteriæ, tale vas ex dextro cordis sinu procedens, in totum pulmonem serie diffunditur. Quales autem venæ, tale ex sinistro: ut ex tribus vasis pulmonem intertexentibus, quod á sinistro cordis ventriculo proficiscitur, arteria venosa nuncupetur, quod à dextro, arteriosa vena,” &c.
In the thirteenth chapter, Galen reports the case I adverted to in the fifth book, as being here more fully detailed. It is one of singular interest, not only in point of curiosity, but because it really is singular, as being, I believe, the only case of its kind recorded in the Fasti of medicine. It is a case, which, by proving his unrivalled anatomical and surgical skill, must, I think for ever set at rest any doubts as to his dissections having been of the human subject. No one since has had the opportunity of exactly following in his bold and successful attempt.a It is to this effect:—
The son of an actor received an injury on the sternum at some of the gymnastic games of the circus. It was not attended to, and he was supposed to have got well. About four months after, an abscess appeared, the part was incised, and speedily cicatrized. Inflammation again succeeded, and suppuration ensued; again an incision was made, but the part would not heal. At length, a consultation was proposed, to which Galen was invited. On examining the part it was sphacelated, the bone was affected, and even a pulsation of the heart was obvious. No one dared to remove the diseased bone. At length, Galen, without, however, promising a cure, undertook to remove it, at the same time being uncertain of the state of the parts beneath. He accordingly cut away the diseased bone; and the vertex of the pericardium being also in a putrescent state, was likewise removed, thereby leaving the heart entirely bare. In due time the boy recovered perfectly; which, says Galen, could not have happened, if no one had been bold enough to remove the diseased bone, and which no one would have attempted, unless well versed in anatomy, (“nisi in administrationibus anatomicis præ-exercitatus.”)—Another case, related in the same chapter, demonstrates clearly, I think, the employment of ligatures to restrain or arrest hemorrhage. It is of a person who had a portion of putrid flesh removed from an abscess of the arm, by an individual, who from ignorance divided a large artery. The immense discharge of blood so disconcerted him, that, it being deep-seated, he could scarcely secure it, (vix laqueo ipsam possit intercipere.) The danger, however, being arrested from this source, death ensued from gangrene of the artery at the ligature, which extended itself in every direction.—In the first case above narrated, Galen stands unrivalled. The only one at all resembling it, is one mentioned by Harvey, in which the heart was laid bare through the effect of disease, and in which art had no share. The case of removal of the ribs, related by Richerand, is in many particulars different, although it evinces great boldness and decision in him. Its event, at any rate, was unfavourable; and Galen’s case continues as an immortal trophy to his well-established fame. I would here demand, whether such an operation on the living body, can be reasonably ascribed to anatomical skill derived from the dissection of brutes alone? If this is admitted, I would say, that it adds another laurel to his crown; whilst, at the same time, it diminishes the importance of human anatomy!
After these interesting details, Galen proceeds to state, what is to be seen in the thorax, on dissecting a living animal. This is a curious chapter, and in several places, we find expressions and sentences, bearing strongly on the doctrine of a general circulation. We find the pulsation of both sides of the heart particularly adverted to; and even the ultimate motion of the auricles, at lengthened intervals, continued after that of the ventricles had altogether ceased! In the conclusion of this book, Galen again renews his censures against the neglect of anatomy, and ridicules the followers of Erasistratus, who promised to demonstrate and show that the arteries were void of blood. A bet of one thousand drachmas seems to have been proffered, and to have even been deposited by one of the parties. Galen gives a most laughable description of the ensuing dissection, and appears to have enjoyed greatly its failure, in every respect of what was promised. He adds another anecdote with no less humour, of an old man of seventy, (senex quidam septuagenarius,) who also promised to show the artery empty. A comic account is given of the affair, and the deceptions practised in its progress are explained. He ends by saying that such is the audacity of some, who most rashly affirm as facts, what they never witnessed! This remark might, without much difficulty, be verified in the present, as well as in the time of Galen! and that, in every department of medical science.
From some part of this chapter, there is reason to believe that Galen, or some of his contemporaries, had a view of the lacteals; and that they were mistaken for the mesenteric arteries. (Initio, igitur aiunt, simulac mesenterium denudatum fuerit, arterias aëri similes apparere, postea lacte repleta conspici.) He opposes the idea of the arteries being filled with air, and adds, that the very circumstance that is subsequently mentioned of their being filled with milk, sufficiently disproves it. The vessels thus seen, whether by himself or others, must undoubtedly have been the lacteals, as seems indeed to be proved from the very character of the experiment that precedes the statement, and to which reference is made.
The subject of the thorax is here continued; its structure and boundaries—the ribs, clavicle, and muscles; the diaphragm, regarded as the governor or ruler of the motion of the thorax, and as aiding in the function of respiration. The motion of the ribs is considered and explained, and some ancient errors are pointed out. The division of the intercostal muscles, and the symptoms that follow, whether the incision be on one, or on both sides. He notices the dividing the nerves, by which the action of the intercostals is destroyed, and the voice is lost; dividing the spinal marrow in different parts, and of the affection of distant parts thereby produced. He notices and opposes some opinions of Erasistratus; and every circumstance throughout, evinces the indefatigable pursuit of anatomy by Galen; here, chiefly, on (living) animals as the subjects of his experiments, on numerous and highly interesting points. Assuredly we may be allowed to maintain, that no one so fully convinced of the importance of anatomy as he was, could dissect so long, and so accurately, and limit his dissections to brutes alone! The proposition seems to be so unreasonable, that I conceive it to be untenable, and submit the subject to the verdict of the best anatomists of the present day. In the last chapter of this book, he speaks of experiments made on animals, by death from different causes, as drowning, strangling, division of the spinal marrow and large vessels, &c.; some of which, and the results have been since his time repeated, without any reference to his priority. I have wondered much, in my progress through the works of this great writer, where he found time to write, to pursue his researches, and to practise! What an illustrious example does he every where afford to the Profession! How few, alas, will follow in his footsteps!
This book commences with a few remarks on the propriety or utility of dissecting living animals, in order to comprehend the functions of the different parts; the dissection of the dead body pointing out other particulars, but not embracing this.
Imperfect as this book is, after the fifth chapter, as before stated, it yet gives the anatomy of the brain, speaks of its membranes, their vessels and their route; the choroid plexus, ventricles, and many other parts. Whether his descriptions are derived from human, or chiefly from comparative anatomy, such respect has still been paid to him in this department, that the names of most of the parts, as assigned or approved of by him, are continued to the present day. The portion of the book that is lost, would probably have shed greater light on the subject; its loss is a subject of deep regret; yet how much greater that which is felt from the loss of the six or seven books in continuation, can be appreciated only by him, who carefully investigates those writings which we happily possess.a
GALENI, DE UTERI DISSECTIONE.
of the dissection of the uterus.
j. cornario, translator.
Bas. Ed., p. 395.
This book treats, in twelve chapters, of the dissection of the uterus. It points out its situation, size, figure, its cornua, and the sinuses in multiparient animals, but which are not found in women; states the uses of the cornua; and proceeds to consider the connexion, union, dependence, and nourishment of the uterus, by veins and arteries, whose intertexture is adverted to. Here is to be found a tribute to the merits of Herophilus. The coats of the uterus are stated to be two, an external, simple and nervous; and an internal, which is double and vascular. Its neck is then treated of, as being muscular and cartilaginous, and although constricted in common, yet, in partu, it is capable of a most wonderful dilatability. Its coats are noticed, and their varied thickness or tenuity under different states, and periods of life. The female testes (ovaria), and their difference from the male;—their coats, and vessels, extending to the neck of the bladder, and unknown to prior anatomists. The changes which take place in the uterus during pregnancy, from the presence of the fœtus, membranes, &c: these membranes are the chorion, the amnion, and allantoid. Reasons are assigned for the greater facility of conception, just before, or after menstruation. The vascular adherence of the chorion to the uterus; what those vessels are; their existence asserted, although denied by some. The vessels thus distributed through the chorion, at length unite in two trunks, an arterial and venous, each of which is double, and go to constitute the umbilicus, having the allantoid between them. The fluid of the allantoid is said to be yellow, and small in amount; that contained in the amnion is considerable in quantity and whiter.
GALENI, DE INSTRUMENTO ODORATUS.
of the organ of smell.
l. belisarius, translator.
Bas. Ed., p. 403.
Smell, says Galen, signifies not only the immediate perception of odour, but also that power or faculty whence the sense of smell emanates. The nose is not the instrument, but merely the channel of smell; the instrument or organ itself, is somewhere beyond the nose. He then adverts to the openings of the nose or nostrils, and to the different parts within them; some having a connexion with the fauces, and with respiration; others extending to the brain, and by which that organ is enabled to evacuate its humours; the internal lining of the nose, and its nerves are noticed; the nerves, through which the sense of smell is effected, are pretty large and soft, as is the case with those of the eyes, tongue, ears, and mouth of the stomach; but those connected with the touch, are, on the contrary, small and firmer, and are distributed throughout the skin over the body; this sense is, therefore, less acute. These ideas are followed by further remarks on the other senses. Smelling, we are told, does not depend on the air only, as in hearing, nor on moisture only, as in taste, but on both united. Parts of the nose are bony, and are covered with a membrane, proving that neither of these are the instrument of smell; for bone is altogether void of sensibility, and the membranes have not nerves sufficient alone for the purpose; neither have they any affinity to the substance or matter of odour, for no smell is perceptible, unless the air is drawn in: the covering of the palate, fauces, or windpipe is not the instrument; for if we hold the nose, and thus compress the nostrils, no smell is perceived on inspiration. The air, we are told by Galen, is attracted to the brain, either by the motions induced by respiration, or, perhaps, by some proper motion of the brain itself; by which the air follows as the brain contracts itself, and is expelled on its expansion. He gives us some cases of imperfect smell, in which pepper mixed with oil being forcibly snuffed up, a biting sensation was felt in the brain (I presume resembling that which all have experienced by too large a portion of mustard with food, and which is instantly removed by snuffing up the odorant emanation of a piece of bread); from whence he concludes the sense of smell to be seated in the anterior ventricles, and not in the membrane of the nose; in which he opposes the opinions of Aristotle, whose particular views on the subject are largely considered. This is followed by an explanation of the utility of sternutatories in some diseases of the brain, as lethargy, &c., founded on the principles which he advocates; and, if these be admitted, his superstructure is admirably erected upon them.
GALENI, DE USU PARTIUM CORPORIS HUMANI.
of the uses of the different parts of the human body.
in seventeen books.
n. r. calabro, translator.
Bas. Ed. p. 418.
BOOKS I., II.
These books are very interesting on many accounts, resembling in various parts those already noticed, De Administrationibus Anatomicis, and, like them, are well deserving of an accurate translation into English. The mere exposé here given, affords a very meagre and imperfect outline of their contents; scarcely, indeed, can it be regarded as a table of contents.
It has been before mentioned, that Galen considered the hand of man, from its peculiarity of structure, as the chief source of his great superiority over every other animal, both as to the operations of the body and the mind; and he enters fully, in these two books, into their consideration; confining his observations almost exclusively thereto, and to the carpus and forearm. It is almost impossible to form a regular abstract of them, sufficiently concise for the object of this compend, and I therefore prefer omitting so mutilated an attempt altogether.a
In this book, the lower extremities are considered. Here, Galen expatiates on man’s superiority, from having only two, instead of four or more legs; and ridicules, very justly, the amazing absurdity of Pindar, in his fanciful production of the Centaurs. He enters into a consideration of “why man was made a biped;” evincing, by his observations throughout, that even in an age of credulity, he possessed in perfection the mens sana, in corpore sano, and that he well knew how to draw the line between truth and falsehood, or fancy, if the term may be thought less offensive. He next takes notice of the erect character or position of man, and points to the physiological reasons of the case. He ridicules the idea of its being intended, as some affirmed (p. 447), “ut ad cœlum promptè suspiciat, et dicere possit, respicio adversus Olympum fronte intrepida,”a —that is, for the purpose of looking towards heaven! and he archly asks, whether they who thought so, had ever seen the fish, that by the Greeks is called ουρανοσχοπον, or looker towards heaven? Now, adds Galen, this fish, from its very formation, must always behold the heavens, but man, only when he throws back his head, and which an ass can perform equally well!—We must not omit here to notice the admirable piety of this pagan philosopher; it is, indeed, exemplified on every appropriate occasion, in various parts of his works; but here, more particularly, this excellent and extraordinary character, after considering the leg, and its instruments of motion, breaks out in admiration of the goodness, the wisdom, and infinite power of the Deity, as exemplified in the works of creation, and especially of man! (p. 495), a rhapsody not undeserving of translation, and of a place in some Christian publication.
Galen now engages in the consideration of the stomach, liver, and other organs appropriated for nourishment; that is, for the digestion of food, and its conveyance to every part; together with the emunctories for the discharge of superfluities, and excrementitious portions, &c. He supports with ardour the important agency of the liver in the process of sanguification, and the whole is accompanied with much interesting matter. In the thirteenth chapter of this book, we find sundry problems respecting the veins, the arteries, and nerves of the liver, that deserve consideration; and it is well remarked, that unless the particular uses of each part are well understood, as is too commonly the case, it would be better to omit its notice altogether. A question is proposed why a double sinus was not given to the liver as well as to the heart; in the consideration of which, expressions are employed which indicate his credence of a circulation; and, so far as relates to the doctrine of hæmatosis, or formation of blood, if any there be now, of superior preponderance; that of Galen, by which this important process is ascribed to one of the largest and most surprising organs of the body, is at least equal to it; and his arguments, &c., on the subject, not inferior to any I have met with in recent publications. He notices the distinctive appearance of the blood in the liver, spleen, and lungs, treats of the intestines, the mesentery, omentum, and other parts, their construction and uses, and in
He considers the remaining organs of nutrition and excretion, the pancreas, kidneys, &c., in the same manner; states his disputes with several persons, in his books De Facultatibus Naturalibus; renews the subject of the mode of excretion, and treats of the diaphragm, and its uses in respiration, and as co-operating in the excretions.
The thorax, with its contents, the lungs and heart, &c., are considered in this book.
The œsophagus, called stomachus ventriculi, is mentioned; and we are told, that fish, having no lungs, have only the heart in the thorax, and therefore are mute; the use of the lungs being that of respiration; and that one of the uses of respiration, is “quod in ipso fervet (the air) et quasi combustum et fuliginosum est, ex ipso profundens,” p. 554,—and which I take to imply, that something is discharged in expiration, of a noxious character, of a burned or carbonated nature;—in other words, expressing what is now familiarly spoken of, as decarbonizing the blood. He lays much stress on the contrivance of nature to prevent any injury to the vena cava, by means of the soft elastic parenchyma of the lungs, with other curious matter, and ventures to apply the same intention, in the formation of the thymus gland. Do we know a more certain explanation? If he is wrong, how can we convict him of error, if we cannot supply one less beset with difficulty? In successive chapters, the heart, its figure, substance, divisions, &c., is taken up; the nutrition of the lungs; the vena arteriosa, and arteria venosa, with many other important subjects, succeed; amidst which, if we cannot find strong evidences of the circulation being known to him, it is, because we will not! The junction of the arteries and veins by anastomosis, is in language too palpable to be mistaken, independently of what is dispersed in one hundred passages of his writings.a I know not that the capillary circulation is now better described, or even understood, than by Galen, sixteen centuries ago; but it signifies nothing to support his claims in opposition to Harvey, who has stated as his own, what was long before known; and almost the whole of which was familiar to Galen. Whenever these books shall receive an English dress, that all may fairly and fully investigate his real claims, the award to Harvey will be reversed, and he will sink greatly from the height to which he by the British nation, to the total exclusion of Galen’s claims, has been so unjustly elevated! It is no wonder that he has never received an English translation! This must be reserved for America!—I say nothing of others, his immediate predecessors and contemporaries, who have had their laurels insidiously abstracted, without acknowledgment, to form the crown that was bestowed upon him; as I am now only concerned for Galen, and have elsewhere fully treated of the whole subject.b —On the valves of the heart, Galen has been sufficiently explicit; and this having been admitted by Harvey, I believe no one has contested the point; how he was led to concede it, I cannot surmise, seeing that with respect to those of the veins, he has arrogated to himself, if not absolutely, yet indirectly, their discovery; and assuredly, also, has claimed that of their presumed use in the system; a use which was announced by Piccolhomini, (perhaps by others,) before Harvey even began the study of medicine! but, eheu, jam satis!—I shall merely mark below a few references to the Basila edition of Galen, (though all should, in fact, be read in connexion, to make the affair completely apparent), in which some idea may be formed, of the true extent to which Galen had carried his views of a circulation. Proof from these and other parts may be deduced, to satisfy every candid mind, that he knew the influence of the right side of the heart, the arterial character of the pulmonary veins, and the venous character of the pulmonary artery. He attacks Asclepiades and others, in a bitter strain of irony, respecting the vessels that go from the lungs, as to their character; and adverts to the valves, the auricles, and ventricles, as to their difference of thickness, and other particulars, in several successive chapters. In the seventeenth, p. 580, in opposition to Erasistratus, he maintains, that the arteries contain blood; and again adverts to their anastomoses with the veins.b He adds, that Erasistratus taught, that inflammation could not possibly take place, except by the flowing of the blood from the veins into the arteries; the absurdity of which he professes to expose, even from Erasistratus himself; and as being a subject he had often considered and disputed about. A dispassionate perusal of this whole book, must, I think, incline the reader to admit the claim of Galen to a knowledge of the circulation, if even not accordant altogether with our present views; but of the truth of which, in all its parts, a doubt may be entertained. His judicious views of the general contrivance of nature cannot be overturned by the sophistry of those, who give to Harvey the exclusive merit of the most interesting discovery in medical science. The remaining chapters of this book, are of equal interest. They treat of the lungs and of the heart, &c., in the fœtal state, together with their functions and peculiarities.a
This book continues the subject of the thorax, lungs, and trachea, the construction of the larynx, its muscles, cartilages, nerves, &c., the os hyoides, diaphragm, &c.; and, as being located on the thorax, he makes a digression to the mammæ.
Treats of the head, the brain, the neck; which last, he notices as being uniformly present in animals having lungs, and as being equally deficient, where the lungs are wanting. The common purposes of the head; the instruments of sense; cerebral nerves; ethmoid bone; meninges; pericranium; cerebellum; ventricles, &c., are all noticed, and sundry criticisms are made on Praxagoras and other philosophers, for their respective opinions.
In this book, the subject of the brain is continued; its arteries, veins, and nerves; its different channels of purgation; the cavernous structure of the cranium; plexus retiforme, and its convolutions as compared with that of the testicle. The mode of entrance of the cerebral vessels is described, and their variation from common distribution; the distinction of hard and soft nerves, and their appropriation to motion or to sense; cranial sutures, squamose bones, &c.
The organ of vision is here considered, its parts described, and an hypothesis on the subject of vision, quite as likely to be correct as those now advanced; at least, as well sustained, and certainly not less interesting, when regarded as the speculation of nearly twenty centuries past.
The remaining parts of the head are here considered; those of the face also, the muscles, teeth, and their variety in different animals; the tongue, pharynx, ears, nose, &c. One chapter, the thirteenth, is chiefly occupied with a consideration of the beauty of the parts, as superadded to their utility; which last is, however, admitted to be superior, inasmuch as it is the primary scope and intention of the whole construction. He then treats of the hair and beard, and attempts an explanation of the exemption of women from the last-named; also, why the eyebrows and lashes always continue of the same length; and much other curious matter, which no one but Galen would have deemed worthy of attention. That pagan philosophy did not alone occupy his mind is obvious, for, (p. 718,) we here find him adverting to the writings of Moses, in reference to some particulars respecting the hair, &c., from which he dissents; although he considers the opinions of Moses to be superior to those of Epicurus, yet maintaining that neither should be followed implicitly. He takes notice of the difference of the skin of different parts; also the motions of certain parts, as of the alæ nasi, &c., and gives some remarks on the bones; and he terminates the book with the following observation, to which every reader will assent, “Nam ita demum naturam maxime admiraberis, si omnia ejus opera perlustraris.”
This book is occupied with the parts common to the neck and head, and its spinal connexions; muscles, ligaments, cartilages, nerves, &c. The vertebræ, spinal marrow, &c., with reasons for, and problems respecting, the difference of size, form, &c., of the vertebræ and parts of the back, with various other matter.
The subject is continued, and is replete with interest, both to the speculative and practical anatomist. The nerves of the vertebræ and neck; of the thorax, and those of the lower extremities. The meningeal coverings of the dorsal medulla. Of the scapula and other parts, with their difference in man and animals or quadrupeds; of the humeral and other articulations, and ending with observations on the wonderful address of nature in all these.
A new subject, of great interest, here breaks in upon us; viz., the importance of the continued life of animals, through the process of generation, resembling in some measure, by such perpetual succession, a species of immortality. To this end, an appropriate set of organs, differing in the sexes of all animals, is provided. In the details hereof, much ingenious speculation and anatomical research are conspicuous. So far as this last respects the dissection of the uterus, it would seem to be principally of that of animals; and hence, several wrong deductions as to the human uterus, appear to be drawn from facts that are strictly correct of the former. The wonderful character and the connexion of the uterus and mammæ are pointed out; the superiority of man, the concurrence of the seminal fluids of both sexes, the production of males or females, the order of the formation of the fœtal parts, the testes, and the surprising distribution of their vessels, all are taken up, and duly considered;—and continued in
Which enters more fully into the character, formation, and structure of the fœtus, and its different parts; its coats, vessels, humours; followed by an inquiry into the reason of its immense liver; and all interspersed with numerous curious physiological questions, viz.; as to the greater strength of the veins in early life, and the more gradual, but progressive augmentation of that of arteries and nerves; why the fœtal lungs are red; the close adhesion of the os uteri in pregnancy, &c., all serving to prove, that Galen was as inquisitive in physiology, as he was observant in practice, and that nothing escaped his penetrating observation and inquiry.
This book goes far, I think, both directly, and by implication, in support of the opinion of Galen being acquainted with, and even of having taught, the fact of a circulation. Such continual implications cannot be ascribed to accident alone; but must be placed to the result of well-founded opinions, arising out of facts, isolated perhaps, but strongly supporting one another and the common doctrines to which they may have given origin. The book is taken up with a general consideration of the common distribution of the arteries and veins throughout the body. The artery, vein, and nerve, Galen calls the common instruments of the whole body, (de communibus totius corporis instrumentis, arteria, vena et nervo prius quidem dum partes exponeremus, verba sæpe fecimus,” &c., ch. i. in initio,) and he repeats, that the great artery arises from the heart, the vein from the liver, and the spinal marrow and nerves from the brain. Now, since, (says he,) they require to be exhibited over the whole body, attend to me whilst I demonstrate the justice of the division. This is his object in the successive chapters of the book, wherein he enters more at large into the origin of the vessels and nerves. He then points out the insertion of the nerves, and notices several in particular, such as, of the voice, the viscera, and intestines, the neck, scapula, and head; the recurrent, those of the thorax, extremities, and of some of the muscles. Then follows the distribution of the great artery, or aorta, its rise, and progress through the body. Nature, says he, curiously derives the arteries that supply the testes and the mammæ from a distance, and gives a reason for this. After this, he proceeds to the ascending branch of the aorta, speaks of the carotids, and notices the insensibility of the arteries and veins, with some other peculiarities respecting them. Some veins are found without corresponding arteries. The artery arising from the left ventricle is the root of all the arteries in the body. The great equality of the distribution of the vessels by nature, and the community of use of the arteries and veins is explicitly stated.a If the books mentioned as being lost, (De Anatomicis Administrationibus should ever be recovered (of which, however, no possible hope remains), I doubt not, that a full elucidation would be found of the interesting subject of the circulation, so as to satisfy every reasonable mind, that Harvey has been adorned unjustly, from the wardrobe of Galen!b
This last book is rather more speculative than the others. It consists of views respecting the proportions which the different parts of the body bear to each other, and to the universe at large; and it contains a kind of recapitulation of the preceding books, points out their utility, and gives numerous references to many of the older poets and writers. Upon the whole, there is a considerable degree of resemblance between these books, and those previously noticed “De Anatomicis Administrationibus.” They tend mutually to support, and often to explain, apparent deficiencies. That they are well deserving of an English translation, no one who has perused, or even inspected them cursorily, could, I think, for an instant hesitate to admit. Even these imperfect outlines, I hope, will tend to forward such an end; or at least, to induce some younger member of the Profession to give an epitome, or a more extensive view than I have been able to afford. A more acceptable present, I cannot believe could be given to the medical community.
GALENI, DE UTILITATE RESPIRATIONIS LIB.
of the utility of respiration.
j. cornario, translator.
Galen proposes a question at the beginning of this book, which it might be well for each one to reflect on,—and candidly say, whether he can better reply to it, than Galen did sixteen centuries ago.
“Quænam est utilitas respirationis?”
Reader, pause here; and recall to mind the various physiological explanations of this wonderful function, since the period of the illustrious man who asks an answer to his question! Examine them well, and say whether you cannot find in Galen a groundwork of them all.
Wherein, he asks, does the utility of respiration depend? He replies, “unquestionably, it is of no common character; we cannot exist for an instant without it; consequently, it does not pertain to any one individual action, but must be connected with life itself: of its high importance, all indeed are convinced. It is even superior to the functions of the stomach or the brain, whose actions are greatly influenced by it.” He then gives a concise statement of the opinions of his predecessors on this head, viz., of Asclepiades, Praxagoras, Philistion, Diocles, Hippocrates, and Erasistratus. His own seems to be, that it is intended for the preservation and regulation of the innate heat, (caloris insiti,) and for affording the animal spirit abounding in the brain. Here, he advances a proposition founded on fact, but erroneous in the deduction from it, at least, to a certain extent, for it is not altogether fallacious. It depended on the imperfect chemical knowledge of that period, (and almost indeed up to the present time,) of the composition of the atmosphere, then regarded as a simple element.
His proposition is, that the use, or benefit of respiration, or rather of the air in inspiration, depends, not upon its actual substance, but rather on some quality connected with it, (“utrum substantia aeris qui per inspirationem advenit, indigemus, an qualitate, an utrioque,”) p. 852; and he thinks he proves it by the fact, that suffocation will ensue, when the lungs are filled with air, as readily as if we did not breathe at all. The theory he adopts, viz., that the air was inspired, with the intention of ventilating the blood, and of cooling it, as some maintained; is quite as well advocated, and with as much ingenuity, as any of the present day respecting this important function. Nay, by a mere trifling alteration of the terms employed, we shall find it differs but little from that now generally adopted. Instead of ventilation, let us employ that of decarbonization of the blood, and consider animal heat as depending on the decomposition of the air inspired. It would indeed seem that Galen actually had an indistinct notion of this very particular, judging from the expressions made use of: “Quando quidem igitur ut ex aere quid adtrahat cor, thoracem id permittere necesse est, permittit autem cum dimensionem transmutat, transmutat autem inspirantibus nobis aut expirantibus, et tunc sanè cor transsumet.” Much, however, must be gratuitous in the suppositions we may make, or be gathered by implication, and a collation and comparison of different passages, rather than by an immediate or direct appeal to an individual part. If in law, it is true, that circumstantial evidence is often of more importance than positive, why should not the same principle obtain in medicine and its branches? Science changes its theoretic speculations, just as the philosophy of the day may render it necessary; and different explanations will consequently be assigned to the same acknowledged fact at different times. This is sufficiently obvious, if we compare the physiological views of the present day, with those of only half a century preceding! If then asked to explain the difference of colour between arterial and venous blood, the reply would have been, that the former was oxygenated, or oxygen was absorbed in the process of respiration; and now, the answer to the same question is, that the venous blood is decarbonized. Now, it need not be said, that neither of these views, nor some others, on the same subject, are universally admitted to be correct, to the reversal of all the others. Nor can it be affirmed, that other views may not arise, from the changes or improvements in philosophy, that will put to flight all our previous hypotheses. What then, with all our boasted superiority, especially in chemical research, are we, in our physiology, as to this important function, in advance of Galen, devoid as he was of the light of science! If we cannot perceive the present doctrines, modified by new terms, to be merely scintillations from his forge; at least we shall find arguments as ingenious, and perhaps facts as numerous, as are to be noticed in our own affirmed, more enlightened publications! at all events, as a physiological curiosity of so ancient a date, a good translation would be acceptable to the Profession, as a just tribute to the memory of a man, who is second to none in the whole train of medical observers!a
GALENI, DE CAUSIS RESPIRATIONIS LIBER.
of the causes of respiration.
j. cornario, translator.
Bas. Ed. p. 865.
The causes of respiration, are in this book stated by Galen to be threefold, (tres sint in genere respirationis causæ, facultas voluntaria, instrumenta voluntati subservientia, et ad hæc utilitas ipsa); that is, the faculty or power itself, the organs subserving thereto, and the end, or utility of the function. His statement of the multiform and variety of the instruments employed in the process, is concise and graphic. Some convey the air through appropriate channels, to others fitted for its reception; others are operative in the motion of every essential part; whilst the importance of the spinal nerves is not omitted, as being absolutely essential to the perfection of the process. Much incidental matter is introduced, of great interest; and the whole may be regarded as an appendix to the preceding book.
GALENI, DE PULSUUM USU LIBER.
of the use of the pulse.
t. linacer, translator.
Bas. Ed. p. 867.
The intent of this book seems to be, to show that the use of the pulse is that of preserving the innate heat, and of conveying the animal spirits to every part. Now, although the language employed may give a different aspect to our present views on this subject, and that of the circulation, yet I apprehend the doctrine of a circulation is adequately sustained. The influence of ventilating the blood and of cooling it, as has been previously noticed, is here adverted to, and the abstraction of something noxious from it, seems clearly expressed. In fact, except in name, we can almost exclaim, Mutato nomine, de te narratur; for this abstraction of noxious matter, is the present decarbonization of the vital fluid.
Physicians and philosophers alike concluded, p. 867, that respiration and the pulse both tended to one end, or subserved the same intention. Of this, Galen affords proof, as well as that the heat of each part is maintained by the pulse. He mentions the fact, that on opening the ventricles of the heart of an animal, especially the left one, if the finger is immediately introduced, the heat is there felt to be greater, and continues longer than in other parts. He advances several reasons, and some experiments, to prove that the heat flowed from the heart—such as tying the vessels; and he thinks both arteries and veins are engaged in this (p. 870); and from all he says, he deduces the connexion between the pulse and respiration, and speaks without ambiguity of the union of the arteries and veins. If in this book, the candid inquirer cannot find sufficient proof of a circulation being well known to Galen, even if it be not exactly explained and elucidated, as in the present day; and that, moreover, scarcely one fact or proof is adduced by Harvey, that is not equally asserted by Galen; I must confess that I have greatly misunderstood the tenor and intent of all his pages, which go to prove that his actions depended upon such a knowledge and belief; as well as from his necessary conviction of the absolute necessity of such a function to every part of the system, (see p. 872,) in which is to be found, that man is included in the question there considered, and by which he is led to the following conclusion, “et cum semper vacuatas cum arteriis venas deprehendissemus, veram esse sententiam de communibus arteriarum et venarum osculis, et communi de una in alteram per ea transitu, nobis persuasimus,” &c. This junction of the arteries and the veins, seems to have been a prevailing doctrine, equally, as that the arteries derive their power from the heart, and communicate with every part of the body. This communication between the arteries and the veins, is not so luminously explained by Harvey; for it was never understood by him, and he died in uncertainty, whether that communication was direct, by anastomosis, (as sustained by Galen, and as proved by microscopic observations,) or indirect, by an intermediate effusion from the one, and an absorption by the other; yet Harvey is regarded as the full discoverer of the circulation, and all his predecessors are alike consigned to oblivion, nay, in many cases, to contempt and obloquy! A complete translation of the works of Galen would effectually prove the frauds that have been perpetrated, to support the honour of the British nation, which would be tarnished by the abstraction of those laurels that have been so unjustly awarded to a man considered as the glory of their country!
GALENI, DE SUBSTANTIA FACULTATUM NATURALIUM, LIBELLUS.
of the subsistence of natural faculties.
Bas. Ed. p. 877.
The author adverts to the various and contradictory statements given by auditors of what they hear, and refers to Plato as having been thus made to contradict himself; of which, instances are given with respect to his views of an Anima Mundi, and which is more fully noticed in the treatise De Placitis Hipp. et Platonis.
Plants are said to want a principle of motion and of sensation, although it is not uniformly maintained. They are called cold, and animals warm, but this, not absolutely, but relatively; as is indeed also the power ascribed to plants, and which is attributed to nature, rather than to a soul (anima). Reference is made to these views in relation to ethics, inasmuch as respects the certainty, probability, or doubtful character of what is asserted, &c. All admit of a soul, but from being ignorant of its essence, it has been called a power or faculty. The disputes on this point are adverted to, and hence Galen is led to state only what to him appears probable; and which, though not absolutely necessary either to medicine or ethics, is yet an ornament to them. He proceeds to point out, that all bodies consist of four elements mixed and united together; but whether such mixture pervades the essence of bodies, or their qualities only, he professes not to know. Some ideas are thrown out with respect to temperaments and their variations; and it is denied that a knowledge of the essence of the soul is necessary to medicine or to ethics.a He notices the attraction of the natural faculties to familiar objects, and their repulsion of strange ones, without being themselves possessed of sense or recognition. To the natural soul is granted only a notion or idea, that tends to pleasure or to pain; and as to sensible objects, only of that which relates to nourishment; hence it attracts that only which can subserve this intention, and be elaborated through its powers, all which is more extensively pursued; but the inutility of the subject to medicine and to ethics, is again affirmed.
GALENI, DE HIPPOCRATIS ET PLATONIS DECRETIS, (DOGMATIBUS, BAS.) LIBRI NOVEM.
of the dogmas, or opinions of hippocrates and plato.
in nine books.
j. cornario, translator.
Bas. Ed. p. 880.
The ensuing nine books are not less deserving of notice than their associates. They consist chiefly of criticisms and reviews of the opinions of preceding writers on a variety of subjects; of Aristotle, Erasistratus, Praxagoras, Chrysippus, the Stoics, and Peripatetics. Much is interspersed of metaphysics, which serves to elucidate many opinions of philosophers respecting the mind, whose seat, according to some, was the heart.
The four first chapters of this book appear to be lost, as it begins abruptly, with, apparently, an account of the same case that is noticed in the seventh De Anat. Administ. It is here introduced, to prove, in opposition to Erasistratus, and his followers, that the cavities of the heart in the living animal are filled with blood, and not with air. By turning to the case in the place referred to, the particulars will be brought to recollection. The slernum being removed, and part of the putrefied pericardium, the heart became conspicuous, as if in an animal dissected for the purpose. The patient recovered, which Galen regards as by no means extraordinary, since the affection was attended by no worse consequences than are daily observed in contusions and other injuries of the thorax; the removal of the pericardium could not be the source of any great danger (“tunica cordi obsita proprium aliquod insigne periculum affert”), as Herophilus and many other physicians have before stated. Occasional notice is given to the blood-vessels (p. 884), indirectly bearing on the circulation; and he here opposes an opinion of Erasistratus, that the arteries terminated in nerves; proving its error, by tracing the progress of the different arteries. Among these, he mentions the carotids, (ϰαρωτιδες seu soporariæ, ex χαρος, sopor,) and points out the error of the name as arising from ignorance in the successors of Hippocrates (p. 885). “Cor cerebro tria vasorum genera connectunt, ex iis inquam quæ toti corpori communia habentur; venæ, arteriæ, nervi. Venæ quæ jugulares appellantur, arteriæquæ carotides, quasi tu soporarias dicas,” &c. He shows the source of the error, from the experiment on which it was founded. In it, the nerve was tied up with the artery, the animal was thereby rendered comatose, which was ascribed solely to the ligature of the artery. However, (adds Galen, setting thereby a noble example to all who are perpetually changing names of long continuance, and even if faulty, perfectly understood,) however, the artery has so long retained the name, that I will not deprive it of it, and as at present fixed, so let it remain, (and thus it has remained to the present time, an evidence of the superior judgment of this great man.) In other parts he has taken up the subject of names, and reprehends the folly of many of them, derived from etymology and supposition. In the ninth chapter of this book we find several pertinent remarks on the subject.
This book is an intermixture of metaphysical and physiological investigation as to the seat of the soul or rational mind, in which those who are fond of such inquiries will find much to interest them. Throughout, expressions appear, which to me, nothing short of a full belief of a circulation would at all justify; the whole sixth chapter is of this description. He states the difference of cutting the three species of vessels, (the nerves being then considered as tubular,) viz., the immediate death, from the immoderate effusion of blood, by dividing the jugular veins or carotid arteries, unless prevented by tying them up; but by tying or cutting the nerve, or by compressing it, the animal merely lost his voice.
BOOKS III., IV., V.
These three books are nearly of the same character as the preceding. Many quotations are given from Homer and Hesiod, as advanced by Chrysippus to sustain his opinions. They are opposed by Galen, and we must here contend for Galen’s prior claim to the doctrines of phrenology, although since slumbering through many centuries before their late resuscitation by Gall and Spurzheim, (p. 982.) “Neque in una tantum animæ parte, neque in una facultate et judicia et affectus existere, ut Chrysippus sentit, sed plures esse, diversusque tum facultates, tum partes.” The whole of the fifth book is, indeed, metaphysical and phrenological, wherein the nature and importance of education are considered, as giving character to man. Few phrenologists can be found, who could not readily and essentially strengthen their opinions by those of Galen.
This is an important book, and one which, if duly translated, would greatly aid in enabling us to judge of Galen’s real estimate and views as to the circulation. A favourite opinion is here enlarged on, viz., the important rank of the liver in the animal economy; perhaps it is nowhere so fully and strongly insisted on, as in this book, which appears almost to have been written with the intent of proving, by reason and experiment, or dissection, that this viscus is the source of the veins, and of hæmatosis, and also of concupiscence (animæ concupiscibilis). Many passages seem adequate to establish the knowledge and views of a circulation,—and a vindication is presented for Hippocrates against the erroneous opinions attributed to him of four pair of vessels arising from the head. His own opinion or hypothesis of the hepatic origin of the veins, is very ingeniously sustained by reasons principally derived from Hippocrates (p. 1010, Bas. ed. refers to his treatise, De Humoribus). In considering the liver as the great organ of hæmatosis, he draws a distinction to this effect,—that a procreative faculty or power exists in it of forming blood, and that it is, as it were, the feeder or nourisher of that faculty. It seems that a belief was entertained by some, that the power of forming the blood was derived from the veins of the heart, and the materials from the liver. All this speculation, ingenious to the full as any on the same subject at the present day, must nevertheless be admitted to be very much of a mystification. Much close attention is required to comprehend it, if, indeed, it will not receive a different meaning, in conformity to the previous impressions of the reader’s mind! He contends, however, that the heart is not the commencing organ of the formation of the blood, but of the arteries only, and that this is conspicuous even in the fœtus, in which he opposes Erasistratus, who maintained the heart to be the beginning of both arteries and veins. He opposes Praxagoras and others, who considered the pulsation of the arteries to depend solely on themselves, and he considers it proved, as he states it, from the pulsation ceasing when the artery is divided. The idea of a circulation was certainly common amongst philosophers, although differently explained by them, long before the time of Galen: even Plato suggests it in a manner no way obscure. “Cor vero qui simul et venarum fons est, et etiam sanguinis qui in omnia membra vehementer circumferatur, in satellitis apparatorisque sedem ac domicilium constituerunt,” &c. (Bas. ed. p. 1026, c.)
This book, in maintaining the origin of the nerves from the brain, and explaining how sense and motion thence arise, falls again into metaphysical disquisitions and criticisms, on the opinions of others. Some phrenology is scattered throughout its pages, and his ideas are given as to the nature and structure of the nerves. He contends that sensation and motion may be maintained, even when the ventricles of the brain are wounded. There appears also an attempt to locate the mind. A nervous fluid is spoken of, and the difference of the optic from other nerves is pointed out. The humours of the eye, and the sense of smell, are treated of, and the opinions of Plato, Aristotle, and others, on these and other subjects, are discussed and opposed. He treats of the spinal marrow, its structure and power, and he affirms that Erasistratus in his old age was acquainted with the true origin of the nerves, but that Aristotle never was.
After a slight recapitulation of the preceding seven books, this proceeds to consider the opinions of Hippocrates and Plato on the subject of the four elements, and of the formation of bodies from them. It then treats of respiration, and of the receptacles for food and drink. From a deficiency or excess of those four elements, it was commonly supposed that disease occurred. In admitting of four humours, their influence in health and disease is upheld, and their modification by season, age, and other causes, is pointed out. Some of the differences of opinion between Hippocrates and Plato are noticed, together with many errors of Erasistratus; on which, however, Galen correctly remarks, that they are by no means deserving of contempt, for that all that may be erroneous, is far from being contemptible; dogmas are uncertain, and arguments that may be satisfactory to many, may yet be inconclusive to others, and such arguments are never wanting in support of our opinions. Among other points considered, he adverts to an opinion maintained by some of the ancients, that fluids, in drinking, passed into the lungs, which he denies, and refutes in the last chapter. (See Hippoc. in περι χαρδιης.)
This, the last of these books, is not less interesting than its predecessors. In some respects, it is even more so, as will be admitted, when it is stated to be an attempt to point out the best method of distinguishing truth from error. Here, the opinions of Hippocrates and Plato on the subject are compared, and the necessity of uniformity is pointed out; and consequently the great importance of such comparisons as to the similarity or dissimilarity of subjects, if you desire not to be deceived;—as with respect to the face and countenance of the sick, and all those other parts from which our judgments may be deduced; and he quotes largely from both writers. He also discusses the intention of the physician in his practice, and takes notice of the great dissimilarity amongst the members of the Profession in this respect. All, he tells us, propose to oppose disease; but some are actuated therein by humanity, some by ambition, avarice, and so forth. (p. 1090.) In an edition of Brown’s Elements, by Beddoes, some years ago, we have in his preface a somewhat analogous generalization of physicians, which he drew up from the medical characters of Great Britain of his day. It is probable he was led to it by the example of Galen; nor is it improbable that the same might not be done in every large city in all parts of the world! The importance of method in investigating and in dividing diseases, is noticed; and the diversity of practice arising from this, is exemplified in pleurisy; some employing bloodletting, others purgatives, fomentations both wet and dry, &c., and equally diversifying their drinks and ptisans, &c.
Dissensions among physicians are injurious, says Galen; therein differing from contrary opinions among artisans, in which opposition tends to improvement. He notices the reasons of such philosophic differences, and proposes sundry queries of utility to, or injurious to physicians and philosophers. Here we may perhaps discover a counterpart in the profession of our own times, in the picture he has drawn of men, who, in opposition to common opinion, most obstinately persist in their own, and feign to believe them implicitly (p. 1100, A., &c.), whilst others, denying the opinions of their opponents, falsify in the most unblushing manner! Had Galen lived in our times, he would not have wanted an ample harvest for his keen and caustic pen.
In considering, in a subsequent part of this book, the providence of a Supreme Being, as exemplified in the structure of the body, he hints at the folly of those who suppose it to be the work of chance; and in a manner both brief and comprehensive he replies thereto, in proof of its extreme absurdity, by recapitulating its wonderful structure, the number of its parts, the uniformity of infinitely numerous beings, the congruity and adaptation of every part, whether single or double, in organization; all proving a divine Architect, and the utter impossibility that a blind chance could have had any influence in the formation of the universe. He again quotes largely from Plato’s Timæus, on the subject of the mind or soul and its faculties, and thus concludes the last of these most interesting commentaries on the Decreta of Hippocrates and Plato. Much unquestionably is speculative and metaphysical; but is it the less interesting from conveying to us the philosophy of the ancients as to the mind and its operations? Are the metaphysical dogmas of the present day so absolutely certain as to be universally admitted? If shadows, clouds, and darkness envelope the metaphysical principles of former times, not less discrepancy of opinion and wild speculation as to mind and its operations will be found in the eighteenth and nineteenth century! A comparison of both would possibly lead to the admission, that the opinions of Hippocrates, Plato, Aristotle, Galen, and such like philosophers, of twenty centuries’ standing, are as likely to be correct, as the many-headed monsters of the present period.
GALENI, DE FACULTATIBUS NATURALIBUS, LIBRI TRES.
of the natural faculties, in three books.
t. linacre, translator.
Bas. Ed. p. 1113.
The faculties (powers) are of three kinds, natural, vital, and animal. The first seems principally connected with the liver, and is distributed by the veins to every part; the second is connected with the heart, and through the arteries, with all the body; and the third with the brain, and through the nerves with the whole system. Galen here notices the difference of plants and animals, in the possession by the latter of sense and motion. He considers the difference of simple nature and the soul; sense and voluntary motion being the result of this last, whilst augmentation and increase, are the result of the former. It is the soul that governs; and in order to prevent misrepresentation, he defines the words he uses, and notices some of the opinions of the sophists respecting certain natural changes, such as that of food into blood, &c.; he considers that a certain faculty or power exists in different parts, by which those parts are enabled to induce certain changes. He notices four qualities in matter, two of which, hot and cold, are active, and two, moist and dry, are passive. By the operations of nature, we find three actions or faculties awakened, viz., a generative or productive, an augmentative or inductive of growth,—and one of nutrition; all of which, with other interesting subjects, he separately considers. He opposes the opinion of Asclepiades in relation to a direct passage of drinks to the bladder, and relates an experiment to refute it, viz., that of tying the ureters, and thus examining, from absolute observation, the real mode of transmission, (p. 1125.)
In giving an explanation of the ureters, (p. 1118,) considerable light is thrown upon the ancient views of different tubes in the body; which, although intended for different purposes, had, nevertheless, the common appellation of phlebs, or vein, given to them. He tells us the ureters are not arteries, since they neither pulsate, nor do they consist of two coats; neither are they veins, since they contain no blood, nor do their coats resemble those of veins; and still less do they resemble nerves; and yet, adds he, every part of the body necessarily consists of an artery, vein, and nerve, or is composed of them. A considerable part of this book involves the consideration of attraction, as explanatory of many of the propositions assumed; such as with respect to the secretion of urine, &c.; and he introduces Epicurus’s explanation of the magnetic attraction of iron, together with his disputes against Asclepiades on this subject, (p. 1128.) This seems a favourite subject, as he strongly opposes both Erasistratus and Asclepiades. In one part, his language is of a strong character, asserting, that in regard to the attraction of the kidneys, Erasistratus was a dissembler, but that Asclepiades was an absolute liar: “itaque Erasistratus dissimulavit, Asclepiades mentitus est,” (p. 1135.) The primary, nay, the exclusive superiority of the arteries, veins, and nerves, in the opinion of the ancients, is here well exemplified: “Si namque ex singulis eorum instrumentorum, venas, nervos, et arterias exemeris, reliquum corpus, quatenus sensu animadverti licet, simplex elementareque est,” &c., (p. 1118.) And elsewhere he says, that if we desire to comprehend the universal powers or faculties of nature, every individual organ must be carefully considered.
This book is deserving of attention in a variety of particulars; and few will read it, I imagine, without admiration and gratification. The same may be said of the second and third books, in which, with the author’s own opinions on the subject of nutrition, &c., we find, in his opposition to many of the philosophical tenets of contemporaries and others, much of the physiology and speculative views of the then existing and preceding ages. The importance of the humours or fluids may be considered as having always stood prominent in the estimation of the ancients, since they, or some of them, counted up no less than ten different kinds, besides the blood, (p. 1159.)
The third book treats rather more particularly of the retentive and expulsive powers, as the preceding did of the attractive. The necessity of such powers is demonstrated in the stomach and uterus, and also in the urinary and gall-bladder; all tending to a general proposition, that there are four faculties or powers in nature, viz.: of appetency, attraction, retention, and expulsion. Towards the close of this third book, Galen explains his reasons for writing them; and they differ but little from those which might now, with great propriety, be advocated by every honourable member of the Profession, viz., to oppose that sophistry, which, under the revered name of science, extends its baneful influence to the younger and ingenuous student, before he can possibly form a correct decision as to the doctrines that are promulgated by his teachers; and by which he becomes bound in fetters, from whose embrace he scarcely ever can effect an escape. This particular chapter (ix. p. 1170,) is one of such importance to truth in our researches, that it is well deserving of general extension in our medical schools!—A chapter of some interest (twelfth) is given, as to the means of exciting the expulsive powers to act. In it, the distention of the uterus, bladder, &c., is considered, and a variety of causes are stated, as inducing abortion. The same channels, it is said, are employed by nature, both for attraction and repulsion, though at different times; thus, the œsophagus, in swallowing food, and in the reverse case of nausea and vomiting; the gall-bladder, filled by regurgitation, and emptied by the same duct. The os uteri, regarded as the passage by which the semen reaches its destination, and that of the expulsion of its fœtal incumbrance.
Several passages in this book, are strongly illustrative of Galen’s knowledge of a circulation, and of the strict and necessary communion between the arteries and the veins (see chap. xiii. p. 1180): “Si enim multis amplisque arteriis præcisis, jugulare per eas animal velis; invenies ejus venas æque atque arterias vacuatas; quod sanè nunquam fieret, nisi inter se haberent altera in alteram ora reclusa,”—and soon after, speaking of the pulmonary artery, he says of the blood that passes into it, “manifestum est, quod in sinistrum sinum transmittitur.” The whole chapter deserves transcribing; and if translated, would, with numerous parts of his writings, greatly surprise the reader, to find that in almost every part, the wonderful Greek had preceded, and pointed out fully, the path, which has so incorrectly tended to establish the undeserved claim of Harvey to the discovery of the circulation of the blood! whilst the undoubted rights of Galen have been trampled under foot, to the disgrace of our profession, and the false honour claimed for him by the British nation!
GALENI, DE MOTU MUSCULORUM, LIBRI DUO.
of muscular motion.
in two books.
n. leoniceno, translator.
Bas. Ed. p. 1182.
These two books on muscular motion are, to say the least of them, equal to any of the lectures delivered on the subject to the London College, under the name of the Croonian Lecture. Indeed, if we take into consideration the remote period at which they were written, perhaps more praise might be claimed for Galen in their behalf. Their general contents can alone be noticed. They present a pretty full statement of every thing that is connected with the subject of which they treat. Commencing with an explanation of a muscle as the instrument of voluntary motion, it considers the action, number, and mode of movement, with the difficulty of comprehending it; its difference from tendon, ligament, nerve, &c.; explains the nature of these, their origin, connexion, &c.; notices the spinal marrow, and its difference from the marrow of the bones; the communication of the brain and spinal marrow with the muscles, through the medium of the nerves; and the result of their division, or injury from any cause, on motion and sensation, &c. The extreme vascularity of the muscles is said to resemble a well-irrigated spot; this vascularity depends on its arteries and veins, which, originating in the heart and liver, are widely distributed through the body of the muscle;—the difference of tendon from nerve and ligament; its mode of insertion in the bone; what muscles (as of the tongue) have no tendon; the dissimilarity of the heart from the common muscles; some muscles, (as of the mouth, &c.,) have no connexion with bone; the œsophagus, &c., the muscles of the rectum, the diaphragm, and other parts, considered; their peculiar actions, as distinct from others accidental to them;—reference is made to the various peculiarities of muscles, and to their fourfold action, viz., of contraction, relaxation of extension, and variation as to these, or permanent tension; which leads to the consideration of the character of swimming, flying, &c., and to the nature of tetanus; reasons assigned why, when a muscle is cut through, and it contracts most powerfully, yet the part to which it is attached is not moved by it; equality of power in opposite muscles, with remarks on Hippocrates’ writings respecting the muscles. In the second book, the high character assigned by Galen to the upper extremities, leads him to a minute detail as to the various muscles of those parts, and to some views as to the exact character of the bones of the arm; the motions of extension and flexion, of pronation and supination, &c.; of the quiescence of muscles in sleep, drunkenness, fatigue, &c.; the best position for sleeping; sleeping whilst walking, of which he gives an instance in his own person; the almost constant tonic action of the temporal muscles; guardianship of the muscles of excretory organs during sleep, &c., except from some causes, as inebriety, phrenitis, &c.; and he condemns those who assert the soul to be quiescent in sleep, since they can feel, and speak, &c., yet all their actions are not natural. Of voluntary, involuntary, and mixed motions; singular case of delirium during thirteen days, relieved and cured by a sudden hemorrhage from the nose, followed by sweat, and having no recollection of his previous state. Galen’s remarks thereon, and analogous cases;—important character of muscles in relation to the retention or expulsion of excrement; in the operations of respiration and the voice, &c.; explanation of expiration and inspiration; diaphragm and other muscles subserving respiration, &c. Many other particulars are noticed, which this scanty outline can scarcely afford a notice of; yet it is probably, adequate to show the high estimate of the subject in the mind of Galen; and that, although much is here unnoticed, he himself has omitted nothing, that directly, or by implication, has connexion with it.
GALENI, DE MOTU THORACIS ET PULMONIS, FRAGMENTUM.
of the motion of the thorax and lungs.
Bas. Ed. p. 1216.
This short treatise, called a fragment, is stated to be found only in ancient translations, and is not in the Greek copies; does not constitute a part of the Venice editions. What is here given, is from the Basil edition, but without the translator’s name. Its purpose is to prove, that naturally, the lungs are devoid of motion, but depend for it on the action of the thorax. The want of connexion of the lungs with the thorax, in which they are loosely suspended, is stated; and this is assigned as a principal cause of the difficulty in affording an explanation; although it is certain, that no motion in them takes place, unless simultaneously with that of the thorax. Galen, however, if the treatise is his, endeavours manfully to meet the difficulty, and solves the problem in a manner not very dissimilar from that which is at present maintained, although perhaps not quite so philosophically illustrated and expressed. (p. 1216.) This great man had not reached the absurdity of his successors in talking familiarly of the horror vacuæ of nature; but confining himself to the simple fact of water rising in a tube, if the air be drawn out of it, he shows that the lungs, following the enlargement of the thorax, the air passes down into them, and is expelled on its contraction; from whence he concludes that the thorax is the prime mover of the lungs. Now, as he has elsewhere demonstrated the action of the intercostals and diaphragm to be the cause of motion in the thorax, so the chain of events is fully established by him, if even we should be disposed to disclaim his hypothesis, but which is too closely linked with his data to be easily rejected.
GALENI, QUOD ANIMI MORES CORPORIS TEMPERATURAS SEQUANTUR.
that the qualities of the mind depend on the temperament of the body.
b. sylvaneus, translator.
Bas. Ed., p. 1218.
This is a very interesting book at the present period, from its metaphysical and phrenological tendency in various parts. From experience, not once or twice, but frequently, (sæpius,) he assures us he had found it to be true, that the powers of the mind (animæfacultates) are closely connected with the temperament (ϰρασις) of the body: nor was this opinion confined to himself, but was sustained by teachers and philosophers after careful inquiry. The affections of infancy indicate great diversity both of mind and body in them: some are timid, some stupid, some generous, others avaricious,—some are impudent and others modest, with many other varieties. Of these species he notices three, as among the most excellent faculties, according to Plato, and yet they appear to act differently in different subjects; from whence Plato seems to have imagined three species or varieties of soul, located, the one in the liver, another in the heart, and a third in the brain. On these defects of Plato, in his consideration of the soul, Galen animadverts; as also on the opinions of Aristotle, the Stoics, and others as to the substance of the soul and its immortality, who appear to have ascribed much to certain qualities of heat, cold, humidity, and dryness, &c., and which leads Galen to ask if dryness is a cause of prudence, and humidity of madness; and to inquire into the peculiar temperament of the body, the heart and liver, and of other points sustained by the philosophers. The influence of the temperament (ϰρασις) of the body in inducing mental affections is considered, and the mind is affirmed to be injured by bodily diseases, such as vitiated humours, or a depraved state from any causes,—“Nemo enim sponte malus est,” (says he in the progress of his observations, p. 1225,) “sed ob corporis pravum habitum, rudemq: educationem fit malus.” Such even was Plato’s opinion, and it seems to be acceded to fully by Galen. He agrees with Aristotle, that different faculties of the mind are influenced by the temperament of the blood; and that the character (animæ temperatura) may be learned from the physiognomy, as derived from the forehead, eyebrows, palpebræ, eyes, and ears; and he proves from Hippocrates, that a diversity of customs, studies, and arts, have their source in the variety of climates and seasons. The meaning of the ancients respecting the term vein as applied to arteries, is adverted to, and he explains that of the pulse, as distinctive of the arterial character, and how used by different persons. After some metaphysical enlargements on the subject of virtue, he considers seemingly the questions of necessity and free will, (p. 1233,) and of the attending difficulties of each; also of a threefold cause of punishment, and inculcates the suppression of vice, by education, study, and discipline. He wonders at the Stoics for thinking all men to be born equally disposed to virtue; but he admits that they become perverted and depraved by their associations. This, says he, could not have been the case with the first man, who had no predecessors; and he seems thus to incline to the doctrine of original sin; yet he lays great stress on discipline, diet, and medicine, in restraining its consequences, which he admits could scarcely be depended on, if that doctrine, (de infantium corruptione) were altogether true.
I know not whether I have entirely succeeded in comprehending his views; but I am sure that phrenologists will here find abundant matter for reflection as to that science, as well as of physiognomy, in the days of Galen; whilst the moralist and metaphysician will not be disappointed on the interesting topics of the origin of virtue and of vice.
GALENI, DE FŒTUUM FORMATIONE LIBER.
of the fœtal formation.
j. cornario, translator.
Bas. Ed., 1237.
Galen begins this book by stating, that from neglect of anatomical research, both physicians and philosophers had erred in their doctrines, and differed from each other in their views of the fœtal formation, and had derived their opinions from an accidental abortion. He tells us that Hippocrates was the first who, founding his remarks on experience, wrote correctly on the subject. Much of what is here given, is necessarily speculative; yet not less probable than the hypotheses of the past and present times, on the mysterious subject of generation, &c. Galen proceeds to treat of the vessels, the membranes, the urachus, and other parts; of the formation of the fœtal skin; of the formation and substance of the liver, which he considers to be anterior to the heart; of the nourishment and growth of the fœtus. He adverts to the common application of the word vein by the ancients, to both arteries and veins; and he assures us that in a fœtus of thirty days, the liver, heart, and brain, were distinctly to be seen. The dissection of living animals is considered useful; and the close and essential connexion of respiration with the motion of the heart, and with life, is particularly insisted on. The sources by which respiration is impeded are stated, such as suffocation from hanging, drowning, inflammation of the fauces, &c., in which last may be discovered many analogies to the circumstances of croup. The extensive distribution of veins over the body; the mutual aid afforded by the brain, and heart, and liver; the importance of which last viscus he considers as every where apparent. On its account he deems the urinary and gall-bladders to have been made, and ingeniously speculates on this point. Explains the use of the double porta to the liver; speaks of the heart, its formation, and its two ventricles; the blood in the left one being hotter than in the right; the inferior temperature of animals not possessed of red blood. Blood is contained in the arteries, though denied by Erasistratus; in many places expressions occur, that bear apparently on his views relative to a circulation, (p. 1243, &c.) This whole book is full of interest, the latter part especially, wherein he speculates on the formative power (causa formatrix—nisus formativus of modern times) of the fœtus; the wisdom and art evinced in its construction, its numerous muscles and bones &c.,—all tending to the infinite power and extent of motion, and of the ends thereby proposed to be attained. He notices, moreover, the beauty and adaptation in the construction of every other part;—the intentions of each part, he says, would, if fully investigated, amount to thousands; adequate, if properly appreciated, alone, to demonstrate omnipotence and infinite wisdom in its construction; and he concludes with a remark that conveys a direct and positive assertion of a circulation, if words have any meaning! “Hoc igitur solum de causa animalia ipsa formante, ut possibile me pronunciare puto, nempe, artem et sapientiam ipsam existere maximam. Quemadmodum et hoc quod post formationem corporis, ipsum universum corpus per omnem vitam tribus principiis motuum gubernetur; eo quod ex cerebro est, per nervos et musculos; quod ex corde, per arterias; et quod ex hepate, per venas.” The remainder of the book indicates the existing state of knowledge as to the soul; by which it would appear, that materialism and immaterialism, then, as now, had their respective partisans; and it may be safely presumed that the dogmas on this mysterious topic were equally unsatisfactory, as are those of present philosophers! “Ex quibus autem principiis hæc fiant, hactenus non fui ausus palàm confessa opinione pronunciare, velut in multis operibus indicavi, et præsertim in eo quo de animæ speciebus tracto, de animæ substantia nullatenus sententiam ferre confisus sum. Neque enim hactenus reperi ullum aliquem, qui mathematicis et liniaribus demonstrationibus uteretur ad adstruendum, num omnino incorporea sit anima, aut corporea, aut prorsus sempiterna, aut corruptilis et interitura, quemadmodum in tractatione de animæ speciebus explicavi.”—I cannot help adding a few words, when he is noticing the order of the progressive formation of the fœtus from the seminal fluid, as first calling into play the vessels which go to form the viscera, of which the heart and liver may be regarded as the foundation of the house, or keel of the ship, and as preparatory to its immediate connexion with the uterus, and progressing in addition and increase of parts: “Nequaquam igitur ab aliorum opificio natura animalium formatrix desistet, sed et venas et arterias semper findens ad adnascendum his alia viscera propellet, quemadmodum et hepar et cor adnasci dictum est, una cum hoc quòd et figuram decentem, et positionem, et quæcunque alia hujusmodi partes habere convenit, debito modo operatur.”
GALENI DE SEMINE, LIBRI DUO.
of the semen, in two books.
j. cornario, translator,
Bas. Ed. 1255.
These books, speculative in a high degree, are yet of great interest, both anatomically and physiologically, and which it would be impossible fully to elucidate in the short compass assigned to this abstract. They contain the opinions of his predecessors, Hippocrates, Aristotle, and others, which he combats or maintains, as they agree with his own. The inquiring and independent mind of Galen, is perhaps no where so well depicted as by himself, in the very commencement of the book, in the consideration of the question, “num intus maneat semen eis quæ sunt concepturæ, an excernatur?” In replying to this, he tells us the investigation of it may be effected in three ways:—first, and most certainly, by a measure which he says he often had pursued with respect to mares, dogs, asses, cows, goats, and sheep; this was by observing, whether after coition, they retained, or discharged the semen. He was told by those well skilled in these affairs (ejusmodi rerum peritis), that they had carefully remarked that when conception was to ensue, the semen was always retained. But, says Galen, “although I confess the fault, and may be reprehended for it, for throughout my life I have adhered to it, I never confided in what others said, unless I was satisfied of the same by my own experience, so far as it was in my power.” Hence, although in the above case, all seemed uniformly to agree, yet he was not satisfied until, with his usual incredulity, he had himself made the experiment, and thereby was convinced of the truth.—Another mode, was by close inquiry of females, and his curiosity was amply satisfied, as to the fact being the same with them as with brutes. The third mode was by consulting the works of all who had written on the subject, and the same opinion was sustained by them.
The progress of fœtation is followed up, and he sustains the idea of the female seed, whose conjunction with that of the male, is essential to the formation of the fœtus, but which idea seems to have been pretty sharply contested. An explanation of the formation of its different parts is attempted, fully equal to any of present notoriety. His chief stress seems to be that of explaining the formation of the heart, the liver, brain, spinal marrow, aorta, and vena cava; and he speaks of four periods in the fœtal progress, viz., 1, as a semiformal matter; 2, a fleshy-form; 3, the distinctive though obscure formation of the limbs; and, 4, their full perfection. In each of these periods, the rise of parts is respectively noticed; as ossification, pellicular covering, &c., and some views are given as to the origin of the semen from the blood. The testes and convolution of their vessels; the results of castration, and various other particulars are noticed in order; with the influence of the semen on the animal economy.
In the second book, he treats more particularly of the female testes: and opposition is made to some opinions of preceding writers. In insisting on the existence of a female seed, and speculating on the resemblance of children to their parents, he lays much stress on this, and affirms that unless possessed of testes and a seminal fluid, the venereal appetite would not be excited in females; he proposes sundry difficult questions, as requiring an answer from those maintaining an opposite opinion; refers to the eggs laid sometimes by hens, and those of fish, without the male co-operation;—the similitude of sex, is also mentioned, in a curious and interesting display of the general difference between the outline and appearance of the male and female, among all classes of animals; by which they are at once discriminated, even at a distance, and before observing the more immediately distinctive criteria of the genital organs; and that even when they materially differ among themselves.—The semen being supposed by many to be derived from every part of the body, it would seem that it was imagined that the different parts in conception, were constituted from that part of the semen derived from its counterpart; and hence, that the parts peculiar to either sex were derived from that alone to which it belonged. A comparison is drawn between the sexual organs, and they are presumed to be nearly the same in both, differing chiefly in the location assigned to them by nature, viz., externally in the male, and internally in the female sex: their nourishment from the same arteries and veins, is insisted on, and the similar origin of their nerves.—The variety of operation, in the works of nature as displayed in animal life, is well delineated. The above is perhaps sufficient to excite to a desire of further investigation of the treatise at large; and it well deserves it. Galen must always be his own and best commentator, for it is uniformly seen (and here particularly,) that although his opinions were the predominant doctrines for so many centuries, yet that he never depended on those of others, when able to verify them himself,—asserting in the seventh aphorism of the sixth Epidemics, that it is a tyranny for any person being constrained to accede to any opinion, without the clearest demonstration of its truth;—and the same is repeated in the seventeenth aphorism of the same book.
AN OMNES PARTICULÆ ANIMALIS QUOD IN UTERO EST, SIMUL FIUNT.
whether all the parts of an animal are simultaneously constituted?
Bas. Ed. p. 1303.
This book, consisting of a single chapter, is said not to be in the Greek copy. Be it as it may, it is a curious little essay, that in the subject-matter has frequently been discussed since the time of Galen, and yet probably not more accurately, or with greater interest. It is simply an inquiry whether all the parts in the fœtal state are formed conjointly, or in due succession.a The conclusion adopted by Galen is, that they are not all constituted at its first formation, for the best reason, that nature does not want them; but that as she does nothing in vain, so she goes on progressively with her charge; and, as the architect, in building a house or ship, begins with the foundation or keel, and makes his additions as the various parts are required, so does nature call up the organs to complete the whole, in the direct order in which they are necessary.
AN ANIMAL SIT ID, QUOD IN UTERO EST.
if what is formed in the womb, is an animal.
h. liman, translator.
Bas. Ed. 1304.
This is stated as being falsely attributed to Galen, and to be the production of some “Iatrophist.” For the reasons assigned, this may probably be the case; and yet, as affording us acquaintance with many speculative notions of the philosophers of Rome, it may be esteemed a choice morsel of curious inquiry, of which much may be said on both sides. It is unnecessary to dwell upon it here; the nature of the inquiry is explained by the title. I shall merely add, that the writer, whoever he be, seems to think the object in question is an animal, and that it is possessed of a soul and of reason; maintaining his opinions promptly, forcibly, and with apparent good faith. He terminates the book with the following apostrophe to the fœtus itself, which the translator treats as ridiculous;—whether meant so by the writer, is problematical! “Sed jam ad fœtum ipsum, tanquam animal id, ut nihil ipsi quo minus homo sit, desit, formatum, nostra vertatur oratio. Prodite quæso è sinibus nihil timentes ò fœtus, neque generis demissionem, neque charissimos alienatos, neque opes auferendas. Non vos multorum calumnia, atque horum qui naturam ipsam injuria afficiunt, excludit malignitas; qua propter eos pœna vos afficietis, ut Pericles, ut Pisistratus, ut Paris, illeque Macedon Alexander, atque Hercules.”
GALENI, DE SEPTIMESTRI PARTU, LIBER.
of the seventh-month birth.
j. cornario, translator.
Much interest will be felt in this short treatise;—the subject of it is not less important now than formerly. Agreeing with Hippocrates, Galen points out the common, minimum, and maximum number of days that go to constitute a seventh-month birth. A computation of the Greek months is given, and calculations as to the days and division of the year. The years are all equal, but considerable variation appears in the months and hours. One hundred and eighty-two days is the period assigned to a seven-month birth, with some slight variation. Perhaps, under some circumstances of a medico-legal investigation, embracing this subject, reference might be usefully had to this treatise.
This terminates the prima classis of Galen’s division. The following is of scarcely inferior interest, but will not occupy so large a space.
This class appears to treat principally of the so-called non-naturals. The Venice (eighth) edition thus mentions it in the title page: “Materiam sanitatis conservatricem tradit; quæ circa aërem, cibum et potum, somnum et vigiliam, motum et quietem, inanitionem et repletionem, animi denique affectus versatur.”
GALENI, IN HIPPOCRATEM DE AËRE, AQUIS, ET LOCIS.
three commentaries on the treatise of air, waters, and locality, of hippocrates.
Bas. Ed. tom. ii. p. 6.
The Basil edition (1549), contains merely the translation into Latin, of the Greek text of this work of Hippocrates. That of Venice, (8th, 1609,) has three commentaries of Galen thereon, translated by M. Alatinus, a Jewish physician, which supplies the want of the Basil edition, and which it acknowledges by saying, “Galeni commentaria desiderantur.” Having, however, pursued the order of arrangement in the edition of Basil, I have not adverted to these commentaries, farther than to notice where they may be found; and especially as I have in the abstract of Hippocrates’ writings given the translation of this book of his. I merely remark, that the first commentary is on the part that treats of the variation of the air, and diversity of situations, arising from the direction of the winds in different places; the second treats of the waters, their nature, and influence on the temperaments in different bodies, and according to their respective character; and the third, the salubrity or insalubrity of different seasons; and how the temperies of the air and condition of the heavens influence the nature of the human body; and how it is affected by the influence of society, according to age, sex, temperament, and season, &c. A variety of other topics are incidentally treated of, some of which are of a singular character, connected with the Scythians and their habits of life, &c.
GALENI, DE ALIMENTORUM FACULTATIBUS, LIBRI TRES.
of the faculties or powers of aliments.
in three books.
Bas. Ed. p. 22.
We are told that many ancient writers had treated on the power of aliment, but differed so greatly among themselves, that a new work on the subject was demanded, founded on reason and experience, rather than on apparent demonstration, the great dependence of Empiricism; and the opinions of many are freely investigated and criticised. The different effects, and facility of digesting the same kind of food by different persons, are adverted to. In successive chapters, we are presented with an account of numerous articles of food, viz., that of wheat, and the various forms of food prepared from it; barley and its preparations; oats, which is said (previous to Dr. Johnson) to be the food (jumentorum) of cattle, and not of man, except in cases of extreme hunger; millet, rice, beans, vetches, lupins, and many other articles, among which the seed of the poppy is enumerated, as well as flaxseed and hempseed.
In no less than seventy-one chapters, we here find enumerated almost every kind of fruit, whether derived from trees or plants, of the orchard, garden, &c., that is at present known; and also vegetables of every description, there appears to have been no want of choice. Lettuce, among other modes in use, appears to have been boiled, which, says Galen, “ego nunc, ex quo dentis mihi male habent cœpi facere.”—There seems to have been a dispute as to the correct mode of spelling asparagus, whether so, or asphargus! I write it in the former way, (adds Galen,) with those, whose business is to attend to health, and not to words. The danger of some of the fungi, is noticed.
Animal food is considered in this book, and various articles derived from them, as eggs, milk, cheese, butter, blood, honey, &c. One chapter is devoted to wine. The animals mentioned, are the hog, the ox, &c. The flesh of hogs so much resembles that of man, that, independently of dogs eating the last without suspicion, it was sometimes served up by dishonest tavern-keepers. Castrated animals most appropriate. General rules are delivered; the female ass and the mare were employed as food. We are then presented with the particular parts employed, among which are enumerated the udder, the thymus gland, the testes, which are considered inferior to the teats or udders, especially when these last contain milk,—the testes of the bull, goat, and ram, seem, however, to have been too much even for a Roman stomach;—the brain, the liver, spleen, lungs, &c., stomach, uterus,a and intestines. We have a catalogue of animals, &c., derived from the fields, woods, waters, air, &c. Milk and its various preparations; asses’ milk. A great variety of fish is mentioned; shell-fish, cartilaginous, scaly, and others. Salt provisions. We have, in short, in these books, a Materia Alimentaria; consisting chiefly, as may be presumed, of the facts of the day; and which, devoid of the remarks of Galen, are not very interesting; yet, as affording a table of contents for the feasts of the Romans, they are not undeserving of attention.
GALENI, DE CIBIS BONI ET MALI SUCCI, LIBER.
of the good or bad juices of food.
Bas. Ed. p. 6.
This book will to many appear among the most interesting of the writings of Galen. Its intention seems to be chiefly that of pointing out the measures by which good and bad or vitiated humours are produced; in other words, how the system may be supplied with the former, and avoid the latter. In admitting a vitiated state of the humours, the claim of Galen stands pre-eminent, although the doctrine extends to the earliest records of our profession. We shall readily perceive, however, that, although the medical men during a long series of centuries, too slavishly adopted all his views, and considered any departure from them as heretical; yet he himself was the slave of no man, nor of any hypothesis of whose truth he was not fully satisfied; and in vindication of which he was always ready to give an answer to all of the faith that was in him; which is more than the majority of our medical partisans can now do! Galen, rising above the prejudices of a single sect, was truly an Eclectic; and, like the bee, quaffed honey from every flower; separating the dross from the ore, he adapted what he thus collected, in its state of refinement, to his own especial views and sentiments. Hence we find him an enlightened Solidist, in conjunction with the Humoralist; at least I think this is truly the case; for it is under the banner of this great man, that I have uniformly attempted to oppose the paltry and contracted views of either, when exclusively promulgated in our schools!
The chief interest of this book, nevertheless, arises in my opinion from other sources; the first of which is, the account it affords us of a mighty famine and plague in Rome, (or rather extended throughout the world,) and continuing for several years. The recurrence, from extreme necessity, to unwholesome plants and herbs, soon vitiated the fluids, and disposed the system to numerous diseases; such as various affections of the skin, ulcers, erysipelas, phlegmon, herpes, itch, and lepra, and others, accompanied with fever, affecting the intestines, &c., with dysentery, inflammation of the viscera and bladder, &c., and up to malignant diseases of the highest grade, with all their accompanying and frightful symptoms. In the beginning of these, some physicians bled their patients, and the blood, he tells us, was always bad, of a deeper and darker hue than natural, more watery and acrimonious, and the incision healing with difficulty. Many, it appears, died from eating some of the fungi, cicuta, and other noxious plants. After some further remarks, all tending to elucidate the mode by which the fluids may become affected from the diet employed, he gives a detail of his own mode of living, and of the state of his health from childhood under the dietetic precepts of his father, whose knowledge and learning, and infinite virtues, he most piously commemorates. When, however, he reached the state of adolescence, and pursued his studies apart from his parent, with extreme assiduity both day and night, even in the dog-days, he largely lived on vegetables or fruit, and in consequence was attacked with an acute autumnal fever, for which he was bled. Changing this mode of living by his father’s advice, he escaped the following (his nineteenth) year; but his father then dying, he pursued his previous mode of life, and had a return of his former complaint, which, annually, or every second year, attacked him until his twenty-eighth year, when he became apprehensive of an abscess in the liver at its connexion with the diaphragm, and discontinued all the fruits but grapes and figs, and finally overcame his complaint, and enjoyed for many years exemption from disease. He tells us he dwelt on these particulars, (and some others detailed,) from their having some connexion with the subject before him. It is unnecessary to detail the particulars of this book, which is, indeed, much of a like nature with the preceding; or, perhaps, rather a kind of commentary on every variety of food, both general and particular. There is, however, sufficient difference to render it of interest, even should the reader not coincide in all the premises of the illustrious writer. I shall only notice that the use of woman’s milk in phthisis is particularly commended, and especially by actual suction of the female, as directed by Herodotus and others. A good deal is said respecting wines, in some of the last chapters; the celebrated Falernian seems to have been a sweet wine. Snow was much used in cooling wines and other liquids. He terminates the book by a list of many diseases that are induced by the influence of vitiated humours.
GALENI, IN HIPPOCRATIS LIBRUM DE SALUBRI DIÆTA, COMMENTARIUS.
commentary on hippocrates’ book of a healthy diet.
Bas. Ed., p. 151.
Here, under several heads, to which as texts his commentaries are appended, Galen affords information, both for public and private life, of the appropriate diet, as connected with the variations arising from season, habits, age, sex, &c., and in which much of a useful character is to be found. It cannot, however, be readily abridged, and little is here noticed. Vomiting during the winter months is commended, and much is said on the subject, which at the present period will not be approved of:—the treatise is deservedly suspected, says Galen; some even regarding it as not being the production of Polybius, much less of Hippocrates. With such impressions, it may be considered extraordinary that Galen should have taken the trouble to comment on it. Many remarks by him, are, however, of importance.
GALENI, DE ATTENUANTE VICTUS RATIONE LIBER.
of the rationale of an attenuated diet.
Bas. Ed., p. 166.
The utility of an attenuating diet in the cure of many diseases, or at least in mitigating them, is here attempted to be explained; and different kinds and preparations of food, are here pointed out, by which the humours may be kept in a healthy state, and disease obviated or removed; as in cases of gout, dyspnœa, enlarged spleen, and scirrhous liver; and it is on the whole, deserving of attention in many cases of chronic affection. What proves attenuant, is partly learned from experience, and in part from reason. Many articles are here enumerated. Poppy-seed, appears to have been not an uncommon admixture to their bread and cakes. The soporiferous property of the seed of lettuce is noticed. The book is in fact, closely associated with those preceding it. Condiments and salted food are noticed, and wine and honey are not omitted.
GALENI, DE PTISANA LIBER.
on the ptisan, or barley-water.
Bas. Ed., p. 181.
This book may in general be regarded as a treatise on barley-water,a —and as this is by no means an unimportant article in the sick-room, it is not undeserving of attention. So much was it regarded in Roman practice, that Broussais is but a mere distant follower in their ranks. The ptisan was not used merely as a drink, as commonly imagined; it formed a part of their more solid nutriment. There appears to have existed a difference of opinion as to the superiority of the whole, or of the shelled (pearl) barley; the latter of which Galen seems to favour. Of its mode of preparation, of different strength to suit different circumstances; it was prescribed with strict attention as to time and quantity; and particular circumstances are referred to, which precluded its use.
GALENI, DE EXERCITIO PER PARVAM PILAM.
of the game of fives, or tennis.
Bas. Ed., p. 187.
This book is connected with gymnastics; and the game treated of, which seems equivalent to our game of fives, would appear to have been a favourite with Galen; and he recommends it as superior in many particulars to various other gymnastic exercises, in which more danger of injury exists. Many of them, too, are expensive, and require much time;—this is prompt, and unexpensive; requiring but trifling apparatus, and only a moment’s warning; and in extent it may be pursued to each one’s content. It is, moreover, useful in the exertion of every part, whilst in other games, some parts are unemployed, and others overpowered with labour. The eyes and judgment are called into operation,—and other excellences are detailed, accompanied by a corresponding display of the inconveniences and hazards of various other games and exercises; and hence he concludes that this game is preferable to all others, and more especially as being adapted to every age, and to the weak as well as to the strong; it is devoid of danger, which is so common in the other gymnastic games and exercises. It is well deserving of the attention of physicians, who are often puzzled to direct aright the exercises of the convalescent state.
GALENI, LIBELLUS DE COGNOSCENDIS CURANDISQUE ANIMI MORBIS, QUAS PERTURBATIONES LATINI APPELLANT.
of the knowledge and cure of mental affections.
Bas. Ed., p. 194.
This book is stated to point out, how every one may become acquainted with and cure the affections of the mind; and that it was composed in favour of a friend, who had asked the opinion of Galen respecting a book of Antonius, an Epicurean, having the title of “De Ephidria, propriorum affectuum,”—and in which the word ephidria, or subsidium,a was not sufficiently explicit as to the meaning he intended to give it; a fault, he remarks, that was common to all his writings. Pursuing this train, in a kind of preface to the book, Galen tells his friend that many philosophers had written on the treatment of mental diseases, as Chrysippus, Aristotle, and Plato; and he remarks, that faults, and affections, though differing from one another, may yet be regarded under the common name of faults (peccata); adding, that although reference might be better made to the above authorities, yet, that in behalf of a friend, he was induced to take the subject in hand.
Entering on the subject, he tell us, that all commit faults even when they think themselves free from them; and he praises the saying of Æsop, that all men wear two cloaks, by means of which our own faults are concealed from view, whilst we readily see the faults of others; and he dwells on the extreme blindness exhibited to our own faults respectively,—whilst so ready to point out to others those which they possess. The whole book is one of morals, and well deserves attention; the emotions and passions of the mind are noticed, and their excess denounced; and a knowledge of oneself, as far as possible, is strongly recommended. He states the absurdities in which, in youth, his anger plunged him, and his successful endeavours to amend, which gradually improved. He relates the effects of anger which he had seen, one of which was of the Emperor Adrian, and gives some rules against the passions. He compares the passion of anger, to the horse and dog; and concupiscence, intemperance, and lust, to the boar and goat; accompanying all his views with many sensible observations, praising temperance in all things; he speaks of contention, ambition, envy, &c., of the faults and depravities of youth, even by nature as well as from education, and the various ways in which exhibited; some are naturally quarrelsome, thieves, gluttons, liars, &c.,—and they differ in manners as well as in diseases, in their grades of modesty and decorum, of memory, prompt to learn, or idleness, &c; and he dwells on the importance of a correct education, which is analogous to the culture of plants, yet not always able to overcome evils of early establishment.
In the course of this book he gives an account of his excellent father, as being “ab omni iracundia alienum, justissimum, humanissimum;” but his poor mother, like another Xantippe, must have sorely tried this good man’s patience; for she was, says Galen, “adeo iracundam, ut etiam morderet interdum ancillas, semper autem et vociferantur et contenderet cum patre, et longe quidem odiosius quam Xanthippe illa cum Socrate.” This extreme diversity in his parents appears to have had a powerful influence on his young mind, seeing that under no circumstances was the equanimity of the father disturbed, whilst his mother was constantly suffering from the veriest trifle. At fourteen years of age he began to attend on the lessons of some of the philosophers, Stoics, and Platonists, and others; and he states his father’s causing him also to pay attention to geometry, arithmetic, architecture, and astronomy, with which he himself was well acquainted; and his beneficial advice against becoming the slave of any sect: the advice is so beautifully exhibited, that I am compelled to give it in the words of Galen, (p. 210 et seq.)a
Now, says Galen, “I say, that the precepts I received from my father, I have, to this day, carefully followed; nor have I as yet allowed myself to be called by any sect, which I have studied with all diligence; unmoved by the various and daily changes in life, I remain as my father recommended, esteeming of little importance, honour, wealth, or fame.” The whole of this part deserves publicity; but I am precluded from further quotation. He proceeds to paint the folly of an insatiable desire for riches, and the happiness of moderation and content; the former, if possessed beyond due bounds, tends to many vices, such as avarice, &c., and with much useful truth, the book closes.
GALENI, DE CUJUSQUE ANIMI PECCATORUM NOTITIA ATQUE MEDELA, LIBER SECUNDUS.
of the knowledge and cure of mental affections: book second.
Bas. Ed. p. 219.
This book is, to all appearance, a continuation of the preceding; and it is called the second book, in the Basil edition; but in that of Venice, it is styled, libellus. If the former is deserving of notice, not less so is this; it is equally interesting and instructive, and that in many particulars, which the titles would scarcely lead us to expect; thus, in one of the chapters the subject of the clepsydra or water-clock, by which time was counted, is introduced, in order to demonstrate some of the positions assumed in this moral and ingenious tract; and he is to be pitied who can peruse it without benefit, even though not absolutely connected with the subject of medicine, to the same extent as are most of Galen’s other writings. In the preceding book, affections of the mind are principally considered; in this, the faults or vices of the mind are taken up, and it is attempted to show how contrary they are both to judgment and to reason. In the first chapter we have the painful intelligence that, “multo desunt in codice græco!” Some distinction is drawn between faults and errors; and a state of doubt in regard to this, is placed by many, we are told, between virtue and vice; a good deal of the reasoning in this book is deduced from the views taken of certain sciences, as geometry, arithmetic, architecture, &c., on which much useful remark is bestowed. The errors arising from sectarian adhesion, or of hearing only one side of a question in philosophy or science, are pointed out, and reprobated; the contentions existing at that time on some of these, are stated, as on the subject of a vacuum, &c., the importance of demonstration,—yet liable to error, from haste and precipitation; which are always to be guarded against, and which he had sedulously adhered to, from youth upwards. The ready credence in the assertions of others, without duly weighing or investigating the subject, is a frequent source of error, and regret; this arises frequently, from an unhappy propensity to see more than others, and to attain it sooner; leading thus to ignorance rather than to truth and knowledge. Some philosophers both teach and dispute rashly, and without demonstration. Most men are ignorant in respect to subjects, doubtful or obscure; whilst our (“doxosophi,”) wiseacres, are only ignorant of those that are manifest. The disputes of the Stoics and Epicureans on a vacuum, both between themselves, and against the Peripatetics, are noticed, and ended, he tells us, in mere probabilities; whilst they insisted on their being absolute demonstrations. We may remark that he makes an allusion to the squaring of the circle in one of his chapters (p. 222).
GALENI, DE CONSUETUDINE LIBER.
of habit or custom.
Bas. Ed., p. 235.
The force or power of habit on the body in various particulars, both of food, and exercise of body and mind, is strongly set forth in this book; and it is declared to constitute a curative indication of high importance; at the same time that other indications may not be neglected! The testimony of Hippocrates and Erasistratus in relation to the power of habit was confirmed by most physicians. The habits relating to food, drinks, &c., are noticed. Concoction or digestion,—how, and what; diversity of power in different persons, for the same food, &c.; the variety of food required by different animals according to their genus, &c. The difference of food in respect to its taste, and the fluids that are prepared from them. The power of habit, from external causes, as changes in the air; how influenced; from heat and cold, &c.,—exercise of body, and of mind; Hippocrates’ opinion as to this; moderation in both commended. Evacuations from the body, habitual; not, however, so essential from habit, but from the necessity of preventing the accumulation of noxious matters. Some remarks incidentally introduced on the plans of education are then pursued.
GALENI, DE SANITATE, LIBRI SEX.
of the preservation of health.
in six books.
Bas. Ed., p. 246.
To detail the full intentions of these six books, would be impossible in the limits to which I am restricted. The head or argument of each book, will show its importance, and demonstrate that the whole series is deserving of the attention of medical men.
This book purports to point out the reasons for striving to preserve the health, even up to old age. This constitutes an art, consisting chiefly of two parts, the one in the preserving of health, the other in opposing the powers of disease. The various circumstances by which life is sustained are adverted to, as air, and food, on which the author dwells, more especially from birth to the seventh year; giving many important directions, both as to nursing and subsequent education; strongly prohibiting the use of wine, and enforcing that of water. He continues his remarks on education during the second and third septenary, and in its connexion with health; adverts to the regularity of the discharges, as affording much to the healthy state of the organs which are employed for the purpose; the causes of retention of such discharges are noticed, and the means to be used to rectify the same. Health, we are told, is to be judged of by the natural functions; and he defines health as consisting in that state of the constitution, wherein all its functions are freely performed without any pain or uneasiness. Milk, music, and motion are the three means or remedies in childhood. The various exercises of body and mind most appropriate at different ages. Pure water, and air, their respective signs.
Here, we have pointed out the different modes and powers of exercise, friction, &c., including gymnastics. Nine kinds or varieties of friction, under three heads, of dura, mollis, mediocris; each of which is divided into pauca, multa, mediocris; with some significations of names employed. Frictions are employed as a remedy, or to preserve the body in a healthy state, or as preparatory to gymnastic exercises, and are therefore capable of much modification; and they will depend also on different circumstances, as to region, locality of the gymnasium, and the period of the year, or time of day in which employed; the various gymnastic kinds of exercise are explained, their powers and use. Muscular motion, per se, or indirectly; voluntary or involuntary; of the motion of the heart and arteries, &c., and its perpetual necessity; the variety of that of the pulse, and its causes. Motion from external sources, as from medicine, equitation; regulation of exercise to the state of the system, moderation in. General remarks and conclusion of the book, which seems to be intended to apply to the third septenary of life, viz., from fourteen to twenty-one, as the first was connected with the period from birth to fourteen years.
A brief recapitulation of the two preceding books, followed by a continuation of the subject of exercise, especially of that of the gymnasium, the scope or intent of which is pointed out. The measures to be pursued in order to remove the debility of different parts, induced by various causes, are likewise considered, and are derived from diet, as well as from exercise. Frictions, dry, and with oil, in preparing for the gymnasium, are duly dwelt on; attention is bestowed as to the wind, that is respiration; the best means of improving it, and the variety in the operation. Bathing, cold and warm, their effects. Weariness or fatigue, or rather debility, is divided into seven different kinds, which with their causes are explained, and their cure pointed out, as also the various evils incident to them.
The subject is still continued, and he enters into some explanations for his treating of the ratio medendi of many morbid affections, in a treatise on the preservation of health; which, he tells us was expressly to defend himself against the calumnies of the Sophists;—of the means of acquaintance with the vitiation of the fluids; the treatment of various forms of debility; some remarks on Erasistratus, and his opposition to blood-letting; various remedies spoken of, for various affections; amongst which, is the oil of savine: the article wine, is not forgotten.
This book embraces principally the dietetics of advanced life, its diseases, cure, exercise, &c. The causes are enumerated which tend to promote obesity or thinness, and other changes in the body. The mode of living of two physicians, or grammarians, Antiochus and Telephus, is particularly noticed, who lived to a very advanced period. The nature and influence of various wines is treated of, as respects their country, colour, body, and taste;—their uses considered. Certain preparations of honey, with pepper and other articles, in old gouty, or calculous persons. The character and quality of bread, for different persons. Milk, its use and injury in different temperaments. Goat and asses’ milk, and an excuse for treating on these subjects. An inquiry into the state of the bowels and urine in age, and remedies against their morbid states. The axiom is explained of “Contraria contrariorum remedia.”
A brief recapitulation of the preceding five books, is here given; and the author adverts to the precepts that are intended for preserving health, which, owing to the great diversity of constitutions, must necessarily vary greatly. Those enjoying liberty and a sound temperament, must in this, differ much from those impelled to incessant labour, and who know not any certain time for nourishment or exercise; as well as from such as are uniformly valetudinarians. Organic variations, and numerous other circumstances, promote vast differences in all these cases. of the use of mild vomition under certain circumstances. Various temperaments and intemperies noticed. The state of servitude considered, and its disposition to disease. All disease is affirmed to be produced, either from redundant or vitiated humours; their removal noticed on general precepts. The author adverts to the diseases arising from intemperance; promoting an accumulation of vitiated matters, and even augmenting these, by their unnatural feasts; gout, stone, and others, affecting them, or acute diseases attacking them annually or every second year, or even twice a year, with other remarks of analogous character. In the course of his books he treats of hiera picra and its uses, and its triple preparation. The various defluxions and means of restraining them are touched upon; and a variety of matters more or less connected with medicine, are successively brought to our view.
Much useful matter may be found spread throughout these six books; it is, however, enveloped in a mass of chaff; and yet they will compel attention when we fairly engage in their persual.
GALENI, ARS TUENDÆ SANITATIS, NUM AD MEDICINALEM ARTEM SPECTET, AN AD EXERCITATORIAM, LIBER.
the preservation of health, whether does it depend on medicine or exercise?
addressed to thrasybulus.
Bas. Ed., p. 402.
The occasion and reason for writing this book are afforded in a kind of preface, addressed to Thrasybulus. Who he was, we are not told. In this book, the author states with accuracy, the respective claims of medicine, exercise, and diet, to the honour of preserving health; and he concludes that all, constitute as it were, links of one great chain, not easily to be separated; but which conjointly, constitute or form the science of medicine in its fullest extent. In the course of his remarks, he takes occasion to enter into an examination of the modes of defining medicine, which is closely and logically pursued in its different bearings; and as to the end or intention of this science, he alleges that seven arts are required in it, in relation to the human body, the scope of all being that of bodily health. In this view he enters into their consideration. Health, action, and beauty, in conjunction, form the summum bonum of the body; and what tends to this conjunction is by him traced in the particulars of the air, wakefulness and rest, sleep, motion, food, and drink; and the influence of moderation in preserving unchanged a state of health, is noticed. Some good remarks are made on the folly of investigating names, rather than things,—and an inquiry is instituted as to when dietetics and gymnastic and athletic exercises were first introduced. Much reference is made to Hippocrates, Homer, and others, and his subject terminates with an inquiry into the reason of the name of physician (medicus) as applied to the practitioner of medicine. The book is certainly ingenious and interesting in many particulars; and whilst evincing the profound researches of Galen on every point he treats of, yet, I think the subject has much of the mystification, that is not altogether uncommon in various parts of his writings.
This book is the concluding one, or end of those constituting the Second Class of Galen’s works. We proceed now to the Third Class.
Signa quibus tum dignoscere morbos, et locos affectos, tum præscire futura possimus, docet.—Eighth Venice Edition, 1609, Title.
Complectens, cui insunt quæ de morborum ac symptomatum causis differentiisque; et reliqua hisce finitima materia per artem totam traduntur, unà cum commentariis in libros Hippocratis, de morbis vulgaribus.—Basil Edit. 1549, Title.
GALENI, DE DIFFERENTIIS MORBORUM ET CAUSIS, SYMPTOMATUMQUE.
of the difference and causes of diseases and symptoms.
in six books.
Bas. Ed. p. 6.
These books, under a number of subdivisions, treat of the differences of diseases, of their causes, of their variety of symptoms, and of the causes of those symptoms. We notice them in the order pursued in the Basil edition.
GALENI DE DIFFERENTIIS MORBORUM.
of the difference of diseases.
This commences with propounding what is meant by disease, and what by health; what are primary and universal, and simple diseases; and, lastly, what those diseases are that are compounded of the former. It is that we may comprehend the nature of disease, that Galen first takes a concise view of its opposite, or the state of health. All men, says he, consider themselves well, when, by means of the various parts of the body, the actions essential to life are perfectly performed (sine aliquo vitio perfungi potuerint); and that if the operation of any part is painful (offensa sit), that part must be considered as in a state of disease (ægrotare).—If so, says he, then health is to be sought for in two things,—viz., in the natural functions of the parts, and in the structure of the organs (fabrica instrumentorum) by which those functions are performed. May we not be permitted here to inquire, if, in these few words, we have not a concise, yet comprehensive view of all that has been lately enlarged upon, in newfangled terms, as to organic and functional diseases? He goes on to say, with respect to disease, that it must therefore consist in “vel operationis, vel structuræ oblœsio,” and we may defy modern writers to define in fewer words, the objects thus brought to our notice.—To support his views, Galen is at no loss; but we cannot dwell on them. Certainly the merit of the doctrine, if any, belongs to him, but he has never been quoted as authority for it, that I know of, proh pudor!—I shall only remark, that he soon after adds, that, in order that any operation may ensue, the structure must be natural; if otherwise, it is productive of imperfect operation, or disease.
In considering the nature of the body, Galen regards it as a compound, and not, as some imagined, constituted of only one kind of matter; and he proceeds to state, that the composition and structure of the animal frame is of a triple character; viz., 1, of certain similar parts, such as arteries, veins, nerves, bones, cartilages, ligaments, membranes, flesh, &c. (Quere? What are these but the so-called tissues of the present day?) 2d, of various instruments or organs, compounded of some or more of the above, as the brain, heart, lungs, liver, stomach, spleen, kidneys, the eyes, &c.;—and of 3d, the full and perfect body or animal system;—which thus is found to be constituted of the above different instruments or organs; and which, in like manner, are themselves constituted of the more simple, but similar parts, that are themselves formed by the conjunction of the primary or elementary matters. Thus, in illustration, he says, flesh, inasmuch as it is flesh, consists of the four primary elements; but, inasmuch as it constitutes a part of an organ or instrument, in its formation or magnitude, &c., a discrimination exists between them.
It would be impossible, without enlarging greatly, to pursue the views of Galen on this subject further; what is thus cursorily noticed, will, perhaps, suffice to give some slight appreciation of what is omitted; wherein he treats of the diseases incident to similar parts; of those incident to organs or instruments; of such as arise from defective formation, either natural or accidental; and of various other divisions he has thought it expedient to make. In speaking of redundancy in size, as constituting disease, he refers to an individual whose body augmented so greatly, that he could not move, adding that it was reported he was cured by Esculapius.
GALENI, DE CAUSIS MORBORUM.
on the causes of disease.
In this book are considered, as causes of disease, heat, cold, food, both as to quantity and quality; constipation, moisture, and dryness;—of the causes of compound diseases of similar parts;—of those connected with instruments or organs in various particulars;—and of the causes of a solution of continuity, &c. In one of the chapters of this book, he strongly enforces the injury sustained by children, from the careless or injudicious manner of bandaging them by the nurse; as well as subsequently, in attempts to enlarge certain parts, by pressure on others, by which spinal distortion ensues; so that the system of corsets and stays of the present period, appears to have equally prevailed in the females of the time of Galen; and from him downwards.
GALENI, DE SYMPTOMATUM DIFFERENTIIS.
of the difference of symptoms.
Here he commences by defining or explaining some terms, which, though frequently confounded, have yet a difference, which is pointed out; and many excellent remarks are made on the change of names by authors, with the endless disputes thereby induced, and which it would not be unreasonable to ask our perpetual innovators in nomenclature carefully to peruse. “Litigando, (says he, speaking of these modifiers of well-established names, in order to uphold a favourite doctrine,) litigando enim de nominibus totam vitam conterunt. Quare ad finem artis attingere nunquam possint.” He considers in due order what a symptom is, both common, or proper;—some symptoms are referred to affections of the body; some to imperfect actions, and others to the circumstances connected with the excreta and retenta. The actions that become injured, are animal, natural, and vital; the first is subdivided under three heads; in one of which, that of sensation, Galen says something as to the five senses, and points out the symptoms arising from their diseased action. Symptoms are said to be of a fourfold nature; some are visible, some sensible to the smell, some to the taste, and some to the touch. Surely he ought to have added a fifth, that connected with hearing! Who can recognise the principal symptom of cynanche trachealis, by any better or more peculiar, than by the characteristic sounds of breathing or of coughing? And assuredly Galen was acquainted with this disease, as various references to the subject of angina, &c., may serve to testify. He does, indeed, say something on the subject of sound as a symptom, both as regards the voice, and of the crepitus and intestinal rumbling, &c., denoting their varieties by particular terms; which renders it the more extraordinary that he does not divide his symptoms by at least an equality of the senses.
GALENI, DE SYMPTOMATUM CAUSIS.
of the causes of symptoms.
This book, subdivided into three parts, is highly interesting, in following the learned author in his attempts to explain in various places the symptoms of diseases.
1. The first of these books treats of the causes of the symptoms, in the diseases of the senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch, and of the causes of pleasure and pain in each of them; and he seems to ascribe to the venereal orgasm a species of sense or sensation sui generis. He treats of the causes of symptoms arising from the stomach, appetite, hunger, thirst, &c., and in Chapter V. he dwells much on the sympathy between it and other parts of the system.a He distinguishes between nerves of sense and motion, and treats of the causes of the symptoms of the affections of the brain, and of its faculties, &c., and he calls the brain in one part the “sensoriorum sensorium.” Some phrenological remarks may also here be noticed.
2. The second of these books embraces the investigation of the causes of the symptoms of depraved motions, in which the author treats of paralysis, convulsions, tremors, palpitation, rigor, cough, sneezing, pandiculation, itching, and many other vitiated motions. He then proceeds to consider the causes of the principal animal functions, in respect to their motions; and treats of the motions of the stomach, uterus, and other parts, both natural, and symptomatic of a diseased condition; of the causes of apoplexy, epilepsy, coma, lethargy, delirium, loss of memory, and other affections of the brain, &c.
3. The third book treats of the causes of the symptoms of the natural functions and faculties; of the causes of imperfect concoction in the stomach, vessels, and each particular member; of the symptoms connected with distribution through the system, and of its excretions; of imperfect nutrition; unnatural excretions, as of hemorrhages, vomiting, and purging, &c.; of symptoms appertaining to the urinary organs; of sweating, fluxions from the head; and of symptoms connected with the uterus; of priapism and gonorrhœa, or rather involuntary seminal discharge; together with the causes of the symptoms connected with several other parts, &c.
These last three books terminate the six books embraced in the first book of this class, De differentiis Morborum.
GALENI, DE DIFFERENTIIS FEBRIUM, LIBRI DUO.
of the difference of fevers: in two books.
Bas. Ed. p. 113.
In this book some principles are laid down by which the differences of the various fevers may be comprehended; of their general division and the symptoms distinguishing them; the foreign causes of fever; of an ephemeral and pestilential fever; objections against those who consider fever of a putrid nature; and some analogies and differences noticed between putrefaction, in and out of the vessels;—of hectic fever and its varieties. In pointing out the principal differences of fevers, he seems to consider a preternatural heat as the essence of the disease; which heat is sometimes most extreme in the solids, at other times in the fluids, and sometimes in the spirits; according to a subdivision of Hippocrates, in some measure analogous to a theory of later times, of the continens or solids, the contenta or fluids, and the impetum facientia or spirits; the two last of which are regarded as more generally the first invaded, and if not soon resolved, the febrile disposition soon extends to the solids also. A long list of causes is given of the preternatural heat that gives origin to fever: such as fatigue, anger, &c.; external heat and cold, &c.; as also a pestilential state of the air. In the course of his remarks, he adverts to ignorance, especially of physicians, with accompanying reasons for such remarks; and divides such ignorant physicians into two genera: the one, confiding in self-experience, affirms that by reason alone, we cannot find out the nature of any thing; the other, ascribing all knowledge to themselves, whilst, in fact, quite as ignorant as the others; yet always watching to catch the passing ideas of science. The hardness of the pulse in some diseases is taken notice of, in opposition to Archigenes; and many excellent observations and practical remarks abound throughout the whole book. The different forms of fever are adverted to, besides the above: intermittents, simple, continued, quotidian, tertian, quartan.—Of obstruction in the vessels.—A question seems to have been the subject of dispute, whether a fever in the blood occurred, and is considered by Galen. He says he had seen the state of rigor in quartans, without fever; and he presents to us a variety of the old names of febrile subdivisions, serving partly to illustrate the nosology of that period. The intermixture of febrile forms is pointed out; and, taking the whole of these two books into consideration, we shall be led to the conclusion, that sixteen centuries ago, the hypotheses and practical attainments as to the various particulars of fever and its symptoms, were as well cemented together, and quite as well explained and illustrated, as at the present enlightened period of medical science! Nor can it be doubted, I think, that a close perusal of them, will amply repay, both in pleasure and profit, all who will take the pains to examine them.
GALENI DE INÆQUALI INTEMPERIE LIBER.
of an unequal intemperies.a
Bas. Ed. p. 162.
By intemperies, Galen apparently means that unseasonable or unfit state of some individual part of the body, or of the whole system, which predisposes to disease, if it be not actually disease itself. He makes four varieties of it,—simple, compound, equal, and unequal. A variety of affections are mentioned, seemingly as coming within the scope of this division. The modes of origin of this unequal intemperies are described; a concise view of his division of the body is given; and some particulars, as by what means inflammation arises and terminates in any part. Sundry anomalies are explained of this temperament, such as the sense of heat and cold at the same time, and of rigors not followed by fever, &c.
GALENI, DE MARCORE SIVE MARASMO LIBER.
of atrophy, or marasmus.
Bas. Ed. p. 170.
This state of the system is defined to be a corruption of the living body arising from dryness (siccitas). Marasmus, the Greek term, is that which is still used to signify a wasting away of the body; and has some analogy with tabes. An interesting subject it is made in the hands of Galen, who speaks of the inevitable approach of age, as one of the forms or states of marasmus; and he ridicules the folly of some Sophists who promised to make men immortal. He treats of it as affecting the whole, or a part of the body; and mentions one in his time, who wrote a book on the subject at the age of forty; he reached that of eighty, but was then so shrivelled and dried up, as to resemble the description given by Hippocrates in his Prognostics (the facies Hippocratica) as the precursor of death, viz., sharp nose, hollow eye, collapsed temples, cold contracted ears, with the lobes partially turned, the skin of the forehead, hard, tense, and dry;—the picture indeed of death, under the name of the Hippocratic countenance.
Galen here investigates the causes leading to old age, both in man and animals; he considers the usual comparison of life to a fire provided with fuel, and gradually becoming extinct by combustion, as altogether incorrect, although maintained by all the physicians and philosophers of the day. Equally does he oppose the idea of a similarity between the flame of fire and animal heat; and he vindicates Hippocrates from being the author of a book in which that subject is discussed. He attempts to prove the necessity of growing old, from the nature of the elements constituting the animal structure; and shows, that although it cannot be avoided, yet it may be hastened or anticipated. The different varieties of marasmus are in turn presented to notice, with the means of relief, from diet, bathing, drink, &c., together with much useful matter of a practical tendency, and well deserving attention.
GALENI, DE COMATE, LIBELLUS APUD HIPPOCRATEM.
Bas. Ed., p. 183.
This is rather a commentary on the Hippocratic views of coma, as exhibited in various parts of his works, (Prorrhetics, Epidemics, &c.) He points out the opinions entertained on the subject by him, and its connexion with cataphora; which last is considered as twofold, viz., somnolent and wakeful, (coma vigil.) and which becomes in a measure a distinction between lethargy and phrenitis. Galen is far from agreeing to all the views of Hippocrates, and argues fairly when dissenting from him. Attention to this book may prove very useful to the physician, in some cephalic affections; and so may likewise attention to the succeeding book.
GALENI, DE TREMORE, PALPITATIONE, RIGORE, ET CONVULSIONE LIBER.
of tremor, palpitation, rigor, and convulsion.
Bas. Ed., p. 191.
The occasion of writing this book, appears to have been that of rectifying the error of Praxagoras, otherwise so superior in medicine and philosophy, in ascribing all the above, together with the pulse, to an affection of the arteries, differing only in degree; and in so doing, Galen has presented us with an excellent treatise, wherein he points out the kind and variety of motion, in tremor, convulsion, rigor, and palpitation; he notices the locality, causes, and difference of them. In that part where he treats particularly of palpitation, much stress is laid, when speaking of blood-letting, on the communion of the vessels. Adverting to the propriety of bleeding in some of these cases, which by many was much opposed, he notices the statement of Hippocrates of his daring so to do, and his reasons for so doing; and remarks on the locality from which blood should be drawn in certain specified cases. Some remarks are made, tending to show a difference between convulsions and tetanic affections.
GALENI, DE DIFFICULTATE RESPIRATIONIS, LIBRI TRES.
of difficult respiration.
in three books.
Bas. Ed., p. 214.
Few of the writings of Galen are, in my opinion, more interesting than these, or which will better repay the attention of the reader. It is impossible to do justice to them, within the compass I have allotted to myself. A full translation of them would, I think, prove acceptable to the Profession. I shall barely state, that setting off with the term of difficultas respirandi, he considers it to be the same with the dyspnœa of the Greeks;—the difference or variety in which, are to be learned by attending to the respiration, and thus, by comparison with that which is natural, judge of its existing state. This was strictly attended to by the ancients, although the latter, being as it were a unit, and the former infinite in variety, the difficulty was by no means small. The subject is largely pursued, in all its relations; its causes, natural and preternatural. Natural respiration by being either excessive or defective, becomes preternatural; the names attached to the variations, both of inspiration and expiration; of quick or slow, &c.; the mode of detecting their respective causes. Of the proportion between the pulse and respiration in health, the attention seems to have been extended in a degree of minuteness, that can scarcely be conceived of, to every particular connected with the function of respiration. The difference of respiration and of the pulse in youth and age is taken notice of; the influence of sleep on; of fever, and of other agencies, such as cold, heat, pain, internal congestions or suppurations, mental emotions, &c. The different varieties of respiration, as quick, slow, deep, irregular, &c., are all investigated; and a kind of classification seems to be attempted, in which the intimate connexion of the function with the pulse is strongly laid down; and towards the end of the first book, the conclusion is drawn, that there are three genera of causes influencing respiration, viz., faculty or power, utility, and the essential instruments, which, separately, or conjointly, are productive of the changes, &c., which lead to its deterioration.
Continuing his observations in the second book, much reference is made to Hippocrates, as to what he remarks of the breathing, in his first and third Epidemics, in numerous cases of disease; a refutation of those who regarded respiration as involuntary, referring to his remarks in the second book, De Motu Musculorum. The whole book seems enthusiastic in praise of Hippocrates; and scarcely less so is the third book, wherein the other remaining books on Epidemics, ascribed to him, are referred to, and their cases considered; here, too, some inquiry is entered into, as to the authors of those writings. Not a little of the value of these books consists in the analysis thus necessarily entered into by Galen, of the writings of Hippocrates.
GALENI, DE (PLENITUDINE, VEN. ED.) MULTITUDINE LIBER.
Bas. Ed., p. 302.
This book opens with a statement of the confused opinions of the medical men in Galen’s time, respecting plethora.a These various opinions he attacks, and turns the arguments of his opponents against themselves; indiscriminately urging his objections against the Rationalist and Empiric sects; against the Stoics, Herophilus, Erasistratus, and others. Partial and general plethora are noticed, and an inquiry is pursued as to whether plethora consists in the blood alone; in which many curious remarks on that fluid are to be found, as to its amount, &c., and not undeserving attention. The general indications of a plethoric state are pointed out, as redness, tension, sense of weight, pulsation, &c.
GALENI, DE TUMORIBUS PRÆTER NATURAM LIBER.
of præternatural swellings.
Bas. Ed., p. 330.
Explaining what he means by a preternatural tumour, or swelling of a part, or of the whole body; he states that it may be sometimes caused by an excess, of that which in itself is natural, as in a great increase or augmentation of obesity; or of the natural fluids of the cavities, &c. He, however, principally treats of them, as the product of actual disease; beginning with inflammation or phlegmon, whose symptoms are detailed and explained, with as much probability perhaps, as in the present day, its termination in abscess is noticed, and its various locations, inducing empyema, sinuous ulcers, fistulæ, &c. He then treats of atheroma and other encysted tumours; of anthrax, cancer, erysipelas, herpes, œdema, scirrhus, ecchymosis, aneurism, scabies, lepra, elephantiasis;—speaks of buboes, or swellings in the inguinal glands; of sarcocele, hydrocele, and many others;—all indeed briefly,—and the whole of less importance than many others of his writings. It is not undeserving of a cursory examination, if only for the purpose of noticing the synonymes of many diseases, now differently denominated.
GALENI, DE MORBORUM TEMPORIBUS LIBER.
of the periods or stages of diseases.
Bas. Ed., p. 338.
This is an attempt to illustrate and explain the progressive periods of diseases, which he assimilates to the regular progression of the different stages of life, or age, in animals. He considers such consecutive changes in the progress of disease, as partly depending on the age of the patient; and that a doubt may be raised, whether any determinate point of time can be fixed on, as the beginning of disease, Much curious speculation is pursued in the consideration of the subject, which is not devoid of interest. He concludes, however, in favour of a commencement; and opposes some opinions of Archigenes, and gives the views of medical men, anterior to the period of Archigenes. He then takes notice of the different periods in intermittents, and the variety of the class, interspersed with much useful observations in regard to the accession, progress, and stages of these diseases; together with practical remarks on the state of the pulse, under these various changes during the paroxysm; and he gives us a division of the paroxysm into six periods, viz., the beginning, a state of inequality intermediate between it and the third state of augmentation, or increase; the fourth is that of vigour, or full strength, or acmé; the fifth is the declension, and the sixth, the state of remission. Here he gives a digression, as to the abuse that had been made of ancient names, and the itch of coining new ones, which had led to much error and confusion; adding, that some were so prone to it, (quidam hujusmodi ingenio refractario sunt præditi,) that they would not have regarded Apollo or Esculapius, if giving them advice to the contrary. He, moreover, adduces this fault, as a cause, and that a chief one, of their errors and ignorance as to the difference of diseases. He proceeds to consider the terms or names applied to the stages of an intermittent paroxysm, and affords a variety of particulars connected with fever, and with the opinion of Hippocrates on the subject. The periods or stages of fever, non-intermitting, (continued,) are next attended to, and of some of a mixed character.
GALENI, DE TOTIUS MORBI TEMPORIBUS.
of the periods of the entire disease.
Bas. Ed., p. 353.
This book, it is stated, ought not to be separated from the former, but should be considered as a part of it, and that Galen seems so to have intended it to be. Four times, or periods, are assigned to disease; the beginning, increase, acmé, and decline. These are respectively considered; the signs distinctive of each, pointed out; the variety in each under different circumstances, and other particulars. He then notices the nature of mortal diseases, their indications and periods; and the diversity induced, when, at the same time, the patient is attacked with several diseases; one generally predominating. Great stress is laid by Galen on strict attention to three principal parts of the body, viz., the brain, the heart, and the liver,a together with the vessels that belong to them, and their respective subdivisions—pointing out the utility of this knowledge, and of the stages of disease, as greatly assisting in their cure.
GALENI, DE TYPIS LIBER, VEL COMMENTARIUS.
of the form or order of diseases.
Bas. Ed., p. 362.
It has by some been supposed that this is not the production of Galen, inasmuch as much of what is herein delivered, is in opposition to what is to be found in his other writings.
The author sets off by stating, that many having largely treated of this subject, he thought an abbreviated and simpler statement might be useful to beginners. He proceeds to explain what the term indicates, and distinguishes it from points with which it had been frequently confounded. Many diseases, he tells us, have their types, especially fevers, with the exception of continued. The type is the order in which the occurrences take place. The period or circuit is the time employed therein. He notices the difference and division of types;—those of fevers, with their symptoms; and gives an explanation of those of double fevers, as the double quartan, tertian, and quotidian; and shows their numerous complications in a singularly curious and terminating chapter. Some have short accessions and long remissions; the opposite is the case in other instances; and this leads to a twofold division. Some occur at stated periods, some precede, and others are tardy. A quintan and a septan type are treated of;—the difference of pulse under these varieties are mentioned. A good deal of subtile distinction is made in all these particulars; yet, even admitting his divisions to be problematical, there is considerable interest in the book.
GALENI, AD EOS QUI DE TYPIS SCRIPSERUNT LIBER.
an address to the writers on types.
Bas. Ed. p. 367.
This may be considered as subsidiary to the preceding book; in it the author points out the error of those who confounded the types or order of diseases, with their period or circuit,—as well as in other respects. He gives a curious table, in which all the types of fevers are designated, in conformity with those erroneous hypotheses; from that of the quotidian, embracing twenty-four hours, up to one called quinquegesimanus, of eleven hundred and seventy-six hours, or forty-nine days;—which he says he formed at the request of his friends,—and points to the mistakes which such hypotheses lead to; saying that fools only would engage in such pursuits, to the total neglect of more important subjects. The whole is sufficiently interesting to demand perusal.
GALENI, DE CAUSIS PROCATARCTICIS LIBER.a
of procatarctic causes.
Galen begins by maintaining the pre-existing causes of disease to have existence, and repels the sophistry of the older physicians. He then explains the action of such causes, by the changes they induce in the body; of which he affords instances in point, in order to satisfy his friend Gorgias, to whom the treatise is written. We have here a proof, that however sedulous in his profession, yet that he was not inattentive to the poetic precept—
“Neque semper arcum tendit Apollo;”
for we find him referring to the theatre as proving the truth of his propositions;—this resort of dissipation thus becoming in his hands a place for observation! Heu! quam pauci!—Accordingly, like the bee, culling from every variety of flower, so Galen draws important deductions from this locality, in speaking of Menander; in whom he prognosticated a hemorrhage from the nose, which took place, to the astonishment of those around him. His remarks are levelled principally at Erasistratus and Herophilus; but others are noticed, and we have thereby the means of attaining the opinions of several, whose writings have not reached us. In the progress of this, he introduces a train of legal distinctions, and an oratorical piece of imagery in defence of Orestes as the murderer of Clytemnestra, which is given as a reply to the sophisms of Erasistratus, and would not disgrace the acutest member of the bar. Another of the like nature, is the inquiry into the cause of death in a person to whom medicine is given,—whether it be the physician, the nurse, or the apothecary! all in a strain of mirth, yet accompanied with reason.
GALENI, IN HIPPOCRATIS DE MORBIS VULGARIBUS, COMMENTARII.
i. commentarius in primum librum hipp. primus.
commentary on the first book of epidemics.
Bas. Ed. p. 400.
As commentaries upon the books of Epidemics, it is scarcely necessary to say that a rich treat awaits all who will take the trouble to explore them—far beyond that, which the simple text of Hippocrates alone affords.
In the Basil edition of this first commentary, about a page is wanting, which appears in that of Venice. Three commentaries are given by Galen on this first book, and three on the third. Both these (the first and third) books are regarded as the genuine productions of Hippocrates; the others are at least problematical. On the sixth book of Hippocrates, we have six commentaries, besides some additional ones, not appearing in the Basil edition, but are found in that of Venice. It would be impossible to analyze them—they are themselves a luminous analysis of Hippocrates, with the superaddition of Galen’s reflections,—and which must suffer by any mutilation, as they consist of nearly three hundred folio pages. A translation of them would, I should think, be acceptable to the whole profession.
GALENI, IN LIBRUM SECUNDUM HIPP. DE MORBIS VULG: COMMENT. SECUNDUS.
a second commentary on the second book of epidemics.
Ven. Ed., p. 198—Novissime Repertus.
It would seem that three commentaries on the second book of Hippocrates’ Epidemics were written by Galen, or, at least, once had existence; but that this, the second commentary, has come to light at a period not very remote, (1609,) whilst the first is altogether wanting, as far as I can determine. The comments are pursued upon the same plan with the preceding,—and a vast deal of important practical and speculative matter is dispersed throughout. In several parts of these two commentaries, numerous lacunæ are unhappily supplied by stars, (* *), implying a loss or destruction in that part of the copy.
GALENI, IN LIB. TERTIUM HIPPOC. DE MORB. VULG. COMMENT. TRES.
three commentaries on the third book of epidemics.
Bas. Ed., p. 488.
This is one of the books considered as legitimate. It is on the same plan as the others. Some particular cases of disease, mentioned pretty concisely by Hippocrates, are very largely commented on by Galen, and are spread through all the three commentaries. The first is divided under twenty-nine paragraphs or sections, the second under nine, and the third under eighty-eight.
GALENI IN SEXTUM H. DE MORB. POPULARIBUS. LIBRI SEX.
Similar in arrangement, &c., to the preceding books.
GALENI, RELIQUUM SEXTI COMMENTARII IN SEXTUM DE MORB. POP. LIBRUM.
Ven. Ed., p. 212.
This was not printed in the former editions of the commentary on the sixth book; it is stated (Ven. eighth edit.) to be “nuper in lucem prolatum,” and is, as the title expresses, a continuation of the sixth commentary of the sixth book. It continues in the same style as the preceding, and begins with the ninth paragraph of the sixth book, and ends with the twenty-seventh.
GALENI IN SEXTUM HIPPOC. DE MORB. VULG. COMMENTARIUS SEPTIMUS.
Ven. Ed., p. 215.
This, which is not in the Basil edition, follows the preceding, in that of Venice. It belongs properly to the consideration of Epidemics;—and it gives a description of the pestilential state of the air, explaining the various and successive symptoms, &c., in thirty-four paragraphs, accompanied with Galen’s comments on them.
GALENI, IN SEXTUM HIPPOC. DE MORB. VULG. COMMENTARIUS OCTAVUS.
Ven. Ed., p. 220.
As the preceding;—in forty-two paragraphs, and accompanying comments. In one of which (seventh), the “continentia, contenta, impetum facientia” of Hippocrates are explained.
The whole of these Hippocratic tracts, de morbis vulgaribus, occupy, with their accompanying commentaries, about two hundred and fifty folio pages, and, certainly, are not undeserving of perusal, both on account of the facts stated, and of the explanatory aid afforded by Galen.
GALENI IN LIB. HIPPOC. DE HUMORIBUS, COMMENTARII TRES.
Ven. Ed., p. 225.
These commentaries are not in the Basil edition, but they are in that of Venice (eighth), with a remark that they were not in the preceding editions. They are in different paragraphs; concise, and serving as texts on which Galen has abundantly enlarged; the three containing nearly one hundred paragraphs, and several lacunæ.
This book created formerly much dissension as to its paternity, whether it was written by Hippocrates or by his son Thessalus, or son-in-law Polybius. Galen has his doubts, but inclines to Thessalus. Be this as it may, it is deserving of attention, if only for the purpose of understanding the estimation in which the fluids were held in ancient times; and the folly and presumption of those who have at different periods risked the interests of medicine by their absurd attempts to do without them; explaining every thing by sympathy, and associated motions, (which they cannot demonstrate, but give upon trust) among the solids of the system alone!—It is not intended to affirm that all here said by the ancients is right, and all of modern date is wrong: it is the want of harmony and co-operation that is to be regretted in these particulars; which, by both parties might easily be surmounted, and a more equitable estimate had of every part of the system. It is the defect of information as to the real extent of the knowledge of our forefathers, that renders us so unjust to their merits, whilst we plume our writings with their feathers.
The third class terminates with the above. The fourth is now to be noticed. It is very much of the character of the preceding books, consisting chiefly of commentaries on particular parts of the writings of Hippocrates. All interesting, and of much value; yet scarcely capable of being epitomized.
Galeni, librorum quarta classis, signa quibus tum dignoscere morbos, et locos affectos, tum præscire futura possimus, docet. Eighth Ven. Ed. Title, 1609.
GALENI, DE LOCIS AFFECTIS, LIBRI SEX.
six books on the parts affected by disease.
Bas. Ed., tom. iv., p. 5.
This treatise, taken generally, is of much interest, and of great importance. The very name may be considered as indicating this character. It consists of a general explanation of those various modes that had been adopted, in order to become acquainted with the parts affected by disease; after which the subject is taken up more in detail, that is, as to the affections of individual parts. The whole is deserving of attention, but that is incompatible with our present object: a few particulars from each book are all that can be expected.
This first book sets off with affirming the importance of a knowledge of the parts diseased, and of the necessity of anatomy in attaining that information. Examples are afforded in proof of this; among which is to be found a reference to the discharge, by coughing, of the bronchial cells, or portions of them in pulmonary ulcerations, and of the intestinal coats in dysentery, &c.—No action or function of a part, it is asserted, can be injured, unless from an affection of that part, although it may be scarcely discriminated at times, from its slightness, but is only different in degree from that of the highest character. The different subjects adverted to are numerous; in that of retention of urine, the catheter is noticed, and some general divisions are given, in order to facilitate the distinction of affections, and of their causes; thus the obstructed actions of a part, lead to the notice of the excreta, position, species of pain, and the appropriate symptoms. A distinction is made between idiopathic diseases and those from sympathy; and an interesting case is related of distant affections removed by applications made to the spine; and notice is taken of the occasional loss of motion, without the loss of sensation, and of the reverse of this; with other circumstances of much interest.
Three modes are stated as leading to a knowledge of the parts affected; one has reference to each individual part; a second, to the causes and affections or disposition of the parts; and a third, to the difference in the accompanying symptoms. Many of the remarks in relation to the different kinds of pain, are directed against Archigenes and his observations, and an explanation of that diversity is attempted; a great number are mentioned under a specific nomenclature. The mode and rationale of the means of knowing the seat of a disease and its disposition, are then pointed out, and some cases of interest are occasionally referred to.
The distinction of primary from sympathetic affections constitutes much of this book. Archigenes is again attacked, and his observations on the loss of memory are critically examined, and his mode of treatment is pronounced to be absurd. This leads to a consideration of the origin of the nerves; and many of the diseases that are dependent on their presence, as convulsions, epilepsy, and others, are cursorily noticed and explained.
The affections of the face and fauces, &c., are here taken up, and their distinctive marks; of those of the spinal marrow, in the consideration of which, the subject of angina is touched on, one species of which was supposed to arise from a luxation of the cervical spine. The vitiation of respiration, and of the voice, through the influence of spinal affections: pulmonary affections, hemorrhage from; and a case of hemorrhage from swallowing a leech, is of some interest. One also of Antipatrus, a Roman physician, who died suddenly, after a long-continued irregularity of the pulse, but without much indisposition, or difficulty of respiration, until a few days previous to that event. Some cardiac and thoracic affections are briefly noted.
In this book are considered the affections of the heart, more extensively than in the preceding; and those of the thorax, diaphragm, with somewhat on phrenitis; the affections of the throat or gullet; of the os ventriculi, and liver; with remarks on dropsy and jaundice.
The palpitation of the heart and its danger, from the connexion of that organ with every part, is particularly noticed; its other peculiar diseases, and those of the pericardium. In various parts, the etymology of sundry organs, &c., is given, and the changes thereof at different periods; stricture of the œsophagus is noticed, and its causes, &c. Some remarks allied to the pulmonary circulation may be found in this book. The diaphragm, septum transversum, phrenes vel mediastinum, is said to have had the first name given to it by Plato, from διαφραςϛω, to limit or divide, as by a septum, the irascible power of the mind, supposed to be contained in the heart, from that of appetite or desire that was located in the liver. Such are the fluctuations of language, arising from fancy or hypothesis, and by which perpetual difficulty is presented to the advance of science. The os ventriculi, by which is now meant the upper orifice of the stomach opening into the œsophagus, was formerly called cor; from whence its name of cardiac orifice; it also had the name of stomachus, or rather, this term was applied to the œsophagus itself, subsequent to the time of Aristotle; whilst in Galen’s time it had received the name of gula, from whence our gullet. It is obvious that infinite mistakes have arisen among medical writers by inattention to these changes, in investigating the works of the ancients, and thereby mistaking the accurate meaning of their terms! This ridiculous propensity for coining new names in every branch of science, in place of those well known and long employed, and more especially in medicine and its collateral branches, was never more extensive, (nor more absurdly conducted,) than at the present period, when the “march of mind” seems even to out-herod Herod himself.—A few interesting cases are to be found in this book.
Here we have the consideration of affections of the spleen, intestines, kidneys, bladder, uterus, and penis;—among those mentioned, we find nephritis and its various symptoms; diabetes, apparently a rare disease, since Galen seems to have met with but two cases of it, (“eum equidem ante hac, bis duntaxat videre potui.”) In speaking of uterine affections, much is said respecting seminal and menstrual retention; and the question “num uterus animal,” is duly considered and its absurdity pointed out. The subject of Hysteria, and its connexion with that organ is mentioned, especially as appearing in widowhood; and a curious trait in Diogenes is related; some reference is made to rabies, which is affirmed to be confined to dogs, though extended to man by means of their saliva. In speaking of the diseases of the penis, &c., various passages present an analogy to some of those diseases that are now considered to be venereal. From this brief account of these books, some slight idea of their importance may be had.
GALENI, DE PULSIBUS LIBELLUS, AD TYRONES.
a concise treatise on the pulse, for students.
Bas. Ed., p. 166.
At No. xviii. of the prima classis of Galen’s writings, (p. 491,) we have the treatise “de pulsuum usu;” and which, had I not fixed on the arrangement of the Venice and Basil editions, I should have rather connected with the present and succeeding books, as a more appropriate location. It is deserving attention, from having so much in it, of close connexion with the subject of the circulation of the blood; the few extracts given from it will perhaps serve to satisfy most persons, desirous of truth, rather than of being considered “addicti jurare in verba magistri.” Before perusing the present treatise, it may not be useless to refer back to the book above-mentioned.
The outline of the present book is here presented, more in proof of Galen’s ever active mind, than from any estimate of its absolute correctness, or of its practical utility; yet it contains much interesting mat ter for reflection.
The heart and arteries have a uniform pulsation, though not equally sensible in all the arteries; wherever it is capable of being felt, it is equally adapted for observation; but some parts are superior to others, and of these the carpus is best. The arteries are extended in every dimension, viz., in length, breadth, and depth. The quality of the motion; the interval or time of rest; equality and inequality of. Of a common and inordinate pulse; inequality of one pulsation; of a compound inequality of pulsation; vermicans, fluctuosus, formicans, magnus, longus, latus, altus, vehemens, mollis, celer, frequens, æqualis, ordinatus.—A threefold difference in the mutation of the pulse, viz., natural, non-natural, and præteronatural. Each one may learn his own pulse by experience.—Of the pulse in men and women in infancy, and in age, and at intermediate periods. Modification of pulse according to season, country, &c. Pulse in pregnancy; in sleep; on waking;—changes of, from habits, natural or acquired; differences in, from different exercises, or baths, or food; influence of wine, water, &c., on; all which, immoderately used, are præternatural; their action is explained by the vital power, and the character of the pulse induced. Of the pulse of syncopal affections; of anger, pleasure, grief, fear, pain, and its varieties; of the pulse of inflammation; its locality and character, as of the diaphragm, in pleurisy, and its varieties; in empyema, marasmus, the hectic pulse in it, and in phthisis; pulse of peripneumony; of lethargy; phrenitis; catalepsy; catochos; convulsions; palsy; epilepsy; angina; orthopnœa; hysteria;—the pulse, and its diversity in various affections of the stomach; in dropsy, and its varieties; in elephantiasis, jaundice, and in those who have taken hellebore, &c.
We see by this brief exposé, to what an extent Galen carried his observations on the pulse; can it be possible he never dreamed of, or elucidated the route of the circulation!
In the succeeding books, the subject is very minutely entered upon. These books, are thus denominated.
Making sixteen separate treatises, and all of greater or less interest.
GALENI DE PULSUUM DIFFERENTIIS. LIB. QÚATUOR.
of the difference of pulses.
in four books.
Galen begins with some good remarks as to the use of names. In themselves, they only facilitate the attainment of, but add nothing to the art. He animadverts on the perpetual changes made in them, and on the useless commentaries and disputes on the subject. These seem to have been as numerous as in our times; and to have no less retarded the progress of the science. He then notices the name of pulse, on which numerous commentaries appear to have been written, (omnes qui de pulsibus instituerunt commentari,” Ven. ed.) Hippocrates seems first to have employed the term, whilst others called it palpitation; and this was a common name both by physicians and the public. He then notices the intention of this book, and proceeds to consider the different genera, species, qualities, or difference of pulses, by all which names they have been called. This leads him on to the consideration of them more in detail; and he gives, in a tabular form, no less than twenty-seven varieties, dependent on the threefold distinction of quick, slow, and moderate; he next considers the quality of the stroke.—The difference of sects, some of whom judge of the variety of pulse by the distention of the artery, others by its contraction;—its state of quiescence, and the difference of it, and of the rhythm, which he explains;—also the different inequalities of motion; with tables, &c., he speaks here of various pulses, such as the undulating, vermicular, formicans, vibrating, and convulsive, &c., and gives an explanation of them, and of several others.
This second book begins with an explanation of its use. Of the use of names, and of definitions, in opposition to the sophists; some of whom he severely animadverts on, and calls one of them atrocious. This is a highly amusing chapter; and his description of his arguing with them, and turning them into ridicule, would form an admirable appendage to some of the writings of La Sage or Quevedo. He takes occasion to dwell on the opposition of Archigenes to himself (Archigenes) in his nomenclature. He then states how he discovered the differences of pulses, with reasons for distinguishing the common genera; and alternately lashes his opponents for their opinions, and their nomenclature.
In this book Galen takes notice of several varieties of pulse; the vehement and languid, &c., refers many of the difficulties and contrarieties on the subject, to the intermixture of terms, and improper definitions. Archigenes, who is again the subject of his attack, errs greatly in even his definition of a vehement pulse; and the perpetual disputation about names, he tells us, had been more than useless, and that they have filled immense volumes with such follies as are undeserving of pardon; for since the subjects are obscure, if man’s life was tripled, even then we should have but imperfect acquaintance with them.—Much more to this effect he says, that is deserving of consideration; and calls up for castigation various authors besides Archigenes, as Magnus, Herophilus, Athenæus, Asclepiades, &c., and points out their contradictions and intricacies; he especially speaks of Archigenes and his followers, as “imperitissimi et pertinacissimi,” and of their entire ignorance, abuse, and obscurity in their names, when they speak of heavy, light, impeded, and repressed pulses. He gives a laughable interview and conversation with an old man of ninety years; and shows himself a deep critic in nomenclature and etymology, in adverting to the word ϱοιζωδης as improperly employed by Archigenes, meaning as it does, poetically, stridulus, which will not apply to the pulse in question.
It may be a question at present, whether this same term stridulus is properly applied to discriminate the peculiar sound in croup, as in different writers.—Objections are made to other definitions of Archigenes; and the host of hard names employed by him to explain the different pulses, are considered by Galen as being both obscure and useless. In this he was unquestionably right, if we may judge from those he has adduced, of which the following few are samples, as difficult of pronunciation as any Polish or Indian words, in the softly-flowing Greek: apokekroumnismenos, extethamboumenos, apopepougos, engkaluptomenos, ukopleptomenos, &c., &c. The Latin translations are not a jot behind, either in obscurity or in utility, as applied to the pulse, and which they could scarcely be divested of, in an English dress, though possibly they might befit the unpronounceable dialects of Wales or Poland. Galen has well bestowed on this wretched host the epithet “id genus nominum immensus numerus.” Alone, and separate, adds Galen, these words have some meaning, but they have no appropriate connexion with the pulse. He affords some idea of his own views of a vehement pulse; opposes the Pneumatists in their explanation of a full and empty pulse, and gives some reasons for changing those names. He states what he thinks to be the proper signification of a hard and soft pulse, and the deception of the Pneumatists in respect to them.a
In this book, we find Galen still sedulous in repelling the ancient definitions, by which each partisan thought fit to transmit the notions of the pulse peculiar to his sect. He assigns some reasons whereby he was compelled to combat the shadows of the Pneumatists; and explains his opinion of what the pulse properly is; and from what he says, it appears that young physicians, then, as now, gave publicity to their lucubrations, (“non requirunt multa verba, quibus scatent juniorum medicorum libri.”) He speaks of the various definitions of the pulse by the ancients, and the disputes thereon, apparently, as numerous as in later periods. It is a curious chapter, (ii.) and quite as well deserving of attention as any of the speculative treatises of Parry, Hillier, and others. Some defined the pulse, as the motion of the arteries; to this, some superadded that of the heart; others say it is that of only the arterial part of the heart, or ventricle. Further disputes sprung up, as to whether the arteries pulsated by their own accord (sponte sua,) or by that of the heart, &c., and although he freely criticises, he yet seems to admire Aristotle. He notices the different structure of an artery and vein, and regards the pulse as a peculiar motion or action, especially (præcipue) of the heart, and then of the arteries, which, by a vital faculty are excited to distension and contraction, and whereby a degree of native heat is maintained. From Galen’s statement, it would seem that the labour would be immense, and useless, to pursue all that had been said on the subject. That it was a favourite one, we cannot doubt; for he tells us, the pupils of Herophilus were the principal leaders of this curiosity, (hujus curiositatis), to whom several of the family of Erasistratus succeeded; and to these, many Pneumatists and Methodists.
In the succeeding chapter, (iii.) he gives the description of the pulse, by Heraclides of Tarentum, Alexander, Demosthenes, Bacchius, Aristoxenes, Chryserneus, another Heraclides of Erythrea, Agathimus, Archigenes, Magnus, Athenæus, Asclepiades and his followers, Moschion, Erasistratus and his followers; many of whom may be recognised as writers quoted by authors of the present day. We must suppose, therefore, that the pulse has always been a subject of great interest, and that among so many learned men, and anatomists, had their writings and observations reached us, in full, we should probably find more than mere conjecture and distant probabilities, of a well understood and acknowledged circulation. As to Erasistratus and his followers, since they disagreed amongst themselves, as much as they did with other sects, we are led to wonder, says Galen, not so much at the diversity of medical sects, as that they differed the most, who were the disciples of the same master!
GALENI, DE DIGNOSCENDI PULSIBUS. LIBRI QUATUOR.
on the knowledge of the pulse, four books.
In this book, Galen remarks on the difficulty of attaining a knowledge of the pulse; and previously recapitulates his division of his books on the pulse, pointing out which are most connected with medicine, and which with philosophy. The first he considers common to both, (de differentiis.) The second and fourth (de diagnoscendis et præsagitione,) to the physician, and the third to the philosopher, (de causis.) Of particulars to be considered in the distension and contraction of the pulse, and in various other points; how to feel the pulse. He lays down four principles for knowing the pulse. Investigates the disputes as to whether the contraction of the pulse is felt;—how to apply the hand to the artery, to perceive the contraction; prognosticating by the pulse, and some cautions, &c.
Here, he notices the quick and slow pulse, and compares them with the moderate pulse, to which reference is always to be made in becoming acquainted with any other variety. He animadverts on Herophilus and his followers, for being so careless and negligent respecting the pulse.
Galen defines a quick and slow pulse, and points out how they are to be known; referring to his previous remarks respecting the intervals of motion, and the force of strength, and, keeping in view the moderate pulse, the state of distension, &c. He points out the attainment of the difference of the pulse in regard to length, breadth, and depth, (longitudo, latitudo, profunditas), or the quality of the motion; he then notices the mode of acquiring a knowledge of the rhythmus,a (interval of stroke, &c., Qu.?) giving a tabular view of his ideas, in two columns, representing the states of distension and contraction of the pulse;—the commencement of this scale is that of quick (celer) in both, and the ending of it is (tarda) slow in both; moderata in both, constitutes the mean of the scale, and the intervening degrees are filled with varieties in combination of these three terms.
Here we have the hard and full pulse; and his opposition to Archigenes and other ancients, as to their knowledge of the pulse. He describes how we are to know the stroke (ictus) of the pulse. A great (magnus) pulse, by some judged of, from its vehemence; by others, from its hardness. Of a full and empty (vacuo) pulse; some did not distinguish a vehement from a full pulse; and Herophilus and his followers did not know it; whilst Archigenes has written obscurely and erroneously respecting it, and others equally so. Galen then explains a full pulse; full, being first considered as of three kinds. Much interesting and useful matter may be found interspersed through these four books.
GALENI DE CAUSIS PULSUUM. LIBRI QUATUOR.
on the causes of the pulse.
in four books.
The causes giving rise to the pulse, are here generally adverted to, and are very ingeniously treated of under three heads or genera;—some arising from the nature of the instruments or organs; others generated, as it were. He then speaks of these separately; the instrument or artery, and foreign agencies, as heat, emotions, passions of the mind, eating, drinking, exercise, and so forth. The influence of age, as in infancy, &c. The inequality and other changes of pulse, from these and other causes, are noticed.
As the causes of the pulse generally constitute the principal intention of the former book, so those inductive of inequality in the pulse, are here considered. Of the causes of inequality in a single pulse,—of the vibratory, and many other varieties of pulse;—all, probably, as fully and as well explained as by any later writer.
This may be in a measure considered as explaining the operation of the so-called non-naturals, in promoting the action and changes of the pulse:—of the pulses of man and woman,—of those of warm temperament,—of thin persons;—of its changes by age, season, climate, and state of air,—of pregnancy,—in sleep, and waking,—from artificial habits or temperaments,—exercise,—hot baths and cold,—food and wine. It is a book replete with interest, independent of its more immediate connexion with the pulse.
Preternatural causes are here noticed as productive of modifications of the pulse;—anger, joy, sorrow, fear, grief, pain;—the pulse of inflammation, of pleurisy, suppuration, decay, consumption, peripneumony, and a host of other diseases, are here noted; and, assuredly, in many, with a precision not inferior to any writer on the pulse of the present period.
GALENI, DE PRÆSAGATIONE EX PULSIBUS, LIBRI QUATUOR.
of prediction from the pulse, in four books.
Some general remarks on prognostication;—on that from a large and small pulse; from a quick and slow one; strong and weak, hard and soft pulse. In this consideration, the state of the pulse is to be connected with the particular disease, and not simply estimated from itself. The previous books on the pulse should be consulted before reading this. Various pulses noticed, and their changes; privation of pulse; of the long, short, broad, narrow, low and high pulses, from whose varied combinations twenty-seven different pulses originate, &c. Four general differences in distention; causes increasing and oppressing strength; what external causes produce a hard pulse, and a soft one, &c.
After noticing four differences of pulse according to the contraction of the arteries, similar to those derived from distention, he proceeds to note the prognosis from a frequent and rare (raritate) pulse, by the rhythm, from inequality in, from intermission, &c. Signification of rhythm, and inequality, &c. What pulse affords two strokes in one distention. Signification of certain pulses, as caprizans, dicrotus, and others. What is presaged by order in the pulse, and what by its disturbance. An intermitting pulse in age and in childhood less to be dreaded than in youth.—Many of these terms have maintained their standing in some of the treatises on the pulse in later times.
In this book, the peculiar pulse in the different diseases of the heart is noticed, and the appropriate pulses of different fevers. He is very precise in defining his terms; thus he says, that he is about to treat of those pulses that are peculiar to affections (affectionibus) or diseases; and he calls that an affection that is preternatural, (præter naturam), and the pulse peculiar to each one, that which perpetually attends it, or most frequently. He then proceeds to the different cardiac and other affections arising from heat or cold; with some observations as to the pulse in pestilential fevers, and on other sources of prognosticating, in which he seems to have observed the heat about the præcordia greatly increased, whilst other parts were cold;—of the pulse in such states.—A very useful chapter follows, on the proper signification of names and metaphors, and its connexion in regard to the pulse is pointed out. The general character of the pulse in fever, and the individual character in some particular kinds, explained. Changes in the pulse, from certain causes acting on the heart and arteries.
Presages drawn from the pulse, as modified by affections of other parts, especially those of respiration, nutrition, the head, &c. He notices the pulse, thus created by affections of the lungs, thorax, liver, diaphragm, pleura, stomach, and other digestive organs; and those of various other parts, as inducing sympathetic action.
Thus, then, the sixteen books on the pulse are concluded; but we find, immediately succeeding to them, one entitled, (at least in the Ven. edit.), Synopsis librorum sexdecim de pulsibus, or Synopsis of the sixteen books on the pulse.
GALENI, SYNOPSIS LIBRORUM SUORUM, SEXDECIM, DE PULSIBUS.
Ven. Ed., p. 123.
The following preliminary remarks to this book, under the name of “Censura,” may not be unacceptable to the reader, as showing that Galen had been induced to write such an epitome of his sixteen books on the pulse, that it might be more correct than if committed to another person; and he commences by a recommendation to read his larger work first, as then, a few words of the synopsis, by association, would recal much to mind.
Galen, at the close of his book “de arte medicinali,” thus writes “It is my intention to write another book, in form of Epitome of all my sixteen books on the pulse, which I shall entitle Isagoge, Synopsis, or Epitome!” But in his book, “de libris propriis,” chapter five, he says, “I have written one other book, a synopsis of the abovementioned sixteen books on the pulse.” Now this must be that book abovementioned by Galen, for both the doctrine, and the reasons assigned for writing it evidently prove it. The author refers the reader frequently to the treatise on the pulse addressed to beginners, (Tyrones), and which he sometimes calls Isogogic; also to the larger work in sixteen books, and not unfrequently to the books “de Crisibus,” and some others. Now as all those are declared by him to be his, this is found conformable to them; and he often declares that much will be gained by a previous acquaintance with the larger work, which he inculcates in the eleventh chapter of the present tract.
He then reminds the reader of the fourfold division of the work, viz.,
1. Of the difference of pulse, and mode of distinction.
2. Of the knowledge of the pulse, and how the distinction is made.
3. Of the causes, &c., of different pulses.
4. Of the prognosis of the pulse, and which he considers as the manifest point for which the whole was written. The danger of attending to names, rather than to facts, is strongly re-enforced. “Often,” says Galen, “one word has various significations, and very often the same thing has different appellations, not always or equally appropriate, or of indiscriminate application. There is, therefore, a great chance of some equivocal meaning being bestowed by those who are not fully masters of a language, or of its various idioms,” &c., and he therefore strongly urges the absolute necessity of giving to things their correct appellation.
The diastole (dilatation) and systole (contraction) of the arteries have received the name of pulse, to which two things or circumstances have relation, viz., the space through which the artery moves, and the time of that motion. He then assumes the position that four generic differences are to be considered in the diastole of the artery, viz., as to quantity, time, tenor, and the body of the vessel itself. He hereby distinguishes twenty-seven special varieties in the pulse, though limited by others to a smaller number. Varieties further arise, in relation to the length, breadth, and depth of motion, &c. He attempts to prove, that no other than the above four named generic differences can be found in the diastole, by impugning the opinions of those who have explained a diversity of pulse, from the nature or character of the article conveyed (re infusa) through the artery; it being a question, if arteries were devoid of blood, or contained both it and spirits; also, as to the blood, whether it be serous and thin, thick and viscid, or intermediate between both.
He adverts to many absurdities advanced respecting the pulse; as of the full pulse, making three varieties, and confounding names, &c. He then proceeds to notice the different speculations on the systole of the artery; considered by some as sensible, by others, as insensible, and states the division of pulses founded thereon. After this he adverts to the hypothesis respecting the rhythmus, or interval between the diastole and systole, as to the equality or inequality of time, inductive of variation in the pulse with respect to strength, continuity, or interruption, &c.; then points out the mode of estimating the quantity of the diastole and systole; and says that the volume or smallness of the pulse, with its other variations, should be attended to in the systole. This is followed by noticing a triple genus of causes of the pulse, designated by the terms continent, antecedent, and procatarctic. This being explained, he points out the uses of diastole and systole; and remarks, that when those are augmented, such and such pulses are induced. He now proceeds to a consideration of the pulse in health, as leading to the knowledge of that which is preternatural or unhealthy; and examines the propositions of Herophilus on the subjects of diastole, systole and rhythmus; says that systole can scarcely be known in new-born children; but that as age advances, the four times or differences augment; and he then directs the reader to the mode of acquantance with the systole and diastole, both in febrile invasion, and in putrescence of the humours. Diastole, he says, relates to inspiration, systole to expiration; and by comparing these, the extent of lesion may be judged of. He then notices some pulses, in which the rhythmus varies; the difference of natural pulses, as induced by sex, age, season, &c., and takes a glance at those natural things or circumstances in sickness (symptoms) by which accurate information of the affection may be attained; next speaks of the signs of febrile invasion, and of those which Themison regarded as absolute and certain. He now proceeds to consider the causes of inequality in the pulse, and reckons up nine orders of such inequality in one pulse; says that the inequality in one pulsation is not in the softness or hardness of the artery; and that if it be in several pulsations, it will generally be in frequency or in slowness. He observes that a conjunction of inequalities in one pulse, will enable us to judge which concur in promoting a good or bad crisis; mentions what pulses should be considered in the diastole of the artery; what affection is peculiar to each, and what prognosis may be drawn from them. He then describes a great variety of pulses, under the names of vibrating, waving, undulating, vermicular, formicans, &c., and proceeds to notice some, that in one diastole, have an inequality in different parts of the artery; explains sundry occasional phenomena apparent in the pulse; speaks of the knowledge attained of fever, by means of the pulse; of the different forms of fever, and of the pulse peculiar to each, and of the indications of crises to be derived from it. He now proceeds to speak of the pulse peculiar to various diseased states, as pulmonic and thoracic affections, of the diaphragm, liver, spleen, stomach, bladder, uterus and its membranes, muscles, testes, &c., and then takes notice of the diagnostics of those causes (external) by which the pulse is altered in magnitude or diminution, such as baths, frictions, exercise, &c.,—what indications are deducible from slow, frequent, intermitting, intercurrent and other pulses; and speaks of inequality as consisting either in the situation or the motion of the parts. In a synoptic view of the whole subject in his last chapter, Galen collects what has been said, and teaches how to prognosticate the termination of disease in health or in death; the time of recovery or death, and the mode of each; embracing in this consideration the rules for knowing whether the vis vitalis is weakened by its own exertions, or is overpowered by a host of foreign agencies; and concludes with some remarks on the termination of future crises in various modes.
This hasty summary of the different books on the pulse, occupying nearly two hundred folio pages, imperfect as it is, is sufficient, I should judge, to impress on every medical man, an opinion highly favourable to the illustrious author of these ancient views, had even nothing further of his writings reached us. Upon the whole, on reviewing the sixteen books of Galen, on the pulse at large, or his condensed synopsis, and other treatises on the subject; I apprehend we may safely conclude that there is full as much good sense and reason in his speculations, as in any of those that have since his time been promulgated by Solano, Bordeau, Nihill, Falconer, and others, down to the later period of Hillier, Parry, and many more in Great Britain, and elsewhere. A comparison of his statements will establish the correctness of many of his propositions; and we may be inclined to doubt, whether a man, who here so fully proves his powers, and the resources of his art, could possibly have drawn his explanations and deductions on the pulse, from dissections and observations of the monkey alone; or that one who observed so cautiously and extensively, could be deficient in a knowledge of the circulation in most, or all of those particulars, which have been so pertinaciously awarded to Harvey! The loss of some of his writings has unquestionably thrown difficulties in the way of knowing the full extent of his information on this, and some other subjects; but enough is here said, in connexion with other parts of his works, to render such opinion not even tenable. I have largely discussed this subject elsewhere,a and shall only add, that so many authors are alluded to, whose works and opinions are known to us through Galen alone, as to give a high character to his extensive research and erudition; and our regret must be strengthened, that so much actual information of ancient science, especially that of medicine, should have been lost, in the conflagration of the Alexandrine and other libraries, before the general extension of printing had rendered such an event of comparative insignificance.
GALENI, DE URINIS, LIBER SPURIUS.
Bas. Ed., p. 474.
It seems doubtful whether this be the production of Galen, although he did write one on the urines, as he mentions in his first commentary on the humours. That the ancients generally thought more on the subject of this discharge, and attended to it more uniformly and critically than is now done, cannot be doubted; and that many indications, &c., framed on the discharge, either as to colour, density, or tenuity, and other points, were well founded. It must be admitted that we fail greatly, by our almost total relinquishment of its inspection, whilst we sedulously attend to the discharges from the bowels, the stomach, lungs, &c. If these are required,a why not also, in a greater degree the inspection of that fluid, which comes freighted with so large an amount of saline and other matters secreted from the blood, and freeing that important fluid from some of its most injurious contents. Why has this occurred? And from what period may this solecism be dated? It may be difficult to respond to these questions. Possibly, the dignity of the Profession was humbled, by the empiric extension of this subject of inquiry, in the hands of the so-called water doctors, who regarded the urine as the sole register to be examined in respect to the patient! In laughing those rogueish medicasters out of countenance, the regular members have occasionally received some rubs, which seem to have caused a perfect obliviscence that the urine was a secretion from the blood; and an excrement whose discharge from the system was of infinite consequence. Its saturation and super-saturation with saline matter, that could find no exit from the circulation except through the kidneys; and the evil to be apprehended from its retention, to the system at large, or to particular parts; conspire to prove that it was deservedly considered of the highest importance by our patient and indefatigable forefathers in medicine! and that, although they may have overdrawn the subject, it is not the less deserving of our favour and protection.b
The author of this treatise, whoever he may be, has presented in successive chapters, all that apparently was then known on the subject; and no doubt, accurate observation on our part, would fully substantiate the truth of many particulars laid down in this and other writings connected with the subject. The treatise scarcely admits of abridgment. The importance of urine, as a critical discharge, is considered in the following treatise.
GALENI, DE CRISIBUS, LIBRI TRES.
of crises:—in three books.
Bas. Ed., p. 482.
The doctrine of crises, it is well known, has at all times been a favourite and plausible one among the most learned members of our science, until within a short period; but even now, when it is considered as having been greatly exaggerated and overdone, in bygone times, there is not a doubt, that we still look, (with half assurance of its truth) for the same events, under equal circumstances, as are detailed in the pages of Hippocrates and Galen.
By the term crisis, the ancients understood a sudden and rapid change in disease, tending to recovery or to death. In this struggle of Nature, if she prevailed, the patient was saved; but if she succumbed, the tendency was to death. In a more limited application, the term was sometimes used to signify a secretion of some of the humours, through which the semina morbi might be evacuated, and health restored.
Great allowance is to be made for the difference to be perceived, as to the facts themselves of the doctrine of crises, as abundantly set forth by former observers, when we consider the numerous alterations in the habits of life in almost every particular, from those of former times; each in its turn, no doubt, exercising some influence on the regular operations of the living system. Thus, the introduction of many articles of immense consumption, employed primarily perhaps as merely luxuries, but subsequently becoming of absolute and universal necessity. Is it possible such an entire change of habits should be unaccompanied by modifications in the human constitution, and thereby greatly tend to alter the natural actions of foreign agencies, whether of an healthy or morbid influence? Need we mention the articles of tea, coffee, punch, spirituous liquors of every description! the narcotic influence of tobacco amongst the nations of Europe and America, and of opium among the Eastern population, where wine is altogether prohibited! May we not to these superadd the extension of commerce, and the gradual increase of, and facilities in travelling, alike productive of infinite changes in the long established customs and habits of former ages? Changes, moreover, among a large proportion of mankind, arising out of the numerous modifications of religious and sectarian pursuits, that have sprung into existence since the reformation; by which those salutary habits of restriction in diet, by temperance and fasting, have been nearly abolished, or at least most imperfectly conformed to!—and latterly, the powerful influence of liberty, both of mind and body; which, originating principally through our revolutionary struggles, is still advancing, and must continue to advance, until the whole human race shall taste of that (to many, still forbidden) fruit! Consider the invigorated operations of the mind since printing shed its influence abroad; and which was in truth, the principal agency in advancing into broader day, what had before been merely dim and feeble glimmerings, amidst the Cimmerian darkness of the middle ages! Let us, I repeat, advert to these and other circumstances which will present themselves to the mind; and we shall probably discover sufficient causes for those discrepancies that are to be found in the critical observations of the ancients and moderns.
Physicians formerly regarded themselves as merely the ministers of nature,—and acting under this impression, seldom interfered to restrain her operations. In the rapid advance of science, and the march of mind, fancy has not been idle! and the former humble follower of nature, has ventured to take the lead; and amid the revolutions of the world, the physician has assumed the privilege of enforcing, or of counteracting the laws of nature, by means of the adventitious and partial knowledge, that he has (or thinks he has) acquired! But, as the poet says of this mighty power,
“Natura si furca expellas, tamen usque recurrit.”
And hence she strives continually to maintain that supremacy, to which she is so justly entitled! Shackled and enchained however by her ruthless tyrants, what can she, for the most part, effect, save abortive attempts; by which too frequently injury is produced, rather than the benefit that might have otherwise been anticipated! Under all the circumstances thus presented for reflection, it will be readily perceived that it would be unnecessary to enter further into the subject; and yet, very much of a practical nature might be attained from a correct translation of the books in question, and many acknowledged truths would be admitted by the reader.
GALENI, DE DIEBUS DECRETORIIS, LIBRI TRES.
of critical days: in three books.
Bas. Ed., p. 558.
In the commencement of the first of these three books, Galen explains what is intended by crisis, and critical days, in a very satisfactory manner; and opposes those who deny the existence of the latter. He then enters on the consideration of the doctrine of these days, and that of each in particular; and minutely considers the subject under all its bearings.
In the second book the subject is continued, and that of astral influence is taken up, especially of the sun and moon. Hippocrates is largely referred to, and, indeed, the whole may be regarded as in a great measure a commentary on that great physician. The comparison is made between the sun and the moon, the changes of the atmosphere from the influence of the latter in its occultation, &c., together with much of a meteorological nature. This is further extended in the third book, the beginning of which is chiefly a recapitulation of the preceding. The sol-lunar influence is as fully unfolded as by Balfour and others of later date. The changes of weather and of the winds, &c., as derived from the appearance of the moon, are given, in the quotation of some Latin hexameters from Aratus, which Galen says are correct; and he gives us his reason for writing this third book on the subject of critical days; which was, a vehement call on him from many friends, to carry it into effect, and he concludes by affording an explanation of what is meant by an acute and chronic, a short and a prolonged disease, &c.
And here we may ask, why the heavenly bodies, or planets, should not possess some influence on the living system both of animals and vegetables, when that influence is admitted on mere brute matter. The production of the tides is attributed to the influence of the moon, although the quo modo is not uniformly established. How far it is really true, is hard to say. Our highly-gifted Franklin doubts its correctness in an interesting essay or letter on the subject! Much may be urged on either side, and whether it be possible to arrive at a perfect solution, may well be doubted.
GALENI, IN PRIMUM PRORRHETICI LIBRUM HIPPOC. COMMENT. TRES.
three commentaries on the first book of the prorrhetics of hippocrates.
Bas. Ed., p. 616.
There have been doubts as to the first book of Prorrhetics having been written by Hippocrates. However this be, the predictions, (170 in number,) with the commentaries upon them, are not undeserving of attention. They can scarcely be abbreviated: all that need be stated, is, that after pointing out, why predictions are necessary to the physician, we have several of the symptoms or signs, by which predictions are deduced; such as those derived from the eyes, tongue, mode of lying in bed, and all such as are enumerated in the book of prognostics; and, as it seems to me, they should be conjointly studied, as affording mutual and great assistance. Like all the brief sentences or aphorisms of Hippocrates, they require the able comments of Galen, fully to appreciate them. Like isolated texts, without an explanation, they are very unimportant and incomprehensible, if not inconsistent; a position admitted by Galen himself, who, in the beginning of the second commentary, says, “Multa quidem in libro toto carent perspicuitate.”—I may here remark, that this is one of the Hippocratic writings that has been translated by Moffatt, and printed 1788, with “large annotations, critical and explanatory.” They serve, however, rather to whet the appetite, and thereby prepare it for the far more extended commentaries of Galen.
GALENI, IN PROGNOSTICA HIPPOCRATIS, COMMENT. TRES.
three commentaries on the prognostics of hippocrates.
Bas. Ed., p. 726.
This book of Prognostics is likewise translated by Moffatt, but it is of the text alone of Hippocrates, and unattended by any notes or commentaries, save a few at the foot of a page. Galen has been diffuse in his commentaries. This, like the preceding, can scarcely be abridged; and I could but repeat, what is there remarked. Certainly the comments of Galen in a good translation, would be well calculated to promote reflection; for they are on subjects of much interest and importance. In the Venice edition there appear to be one hundred and fifty-eight sections or texts, whilst in that of Basil, they are made to amount to one hundred and sixty-four.
GALENI, DE DIGNOTIONE EX INSOMNIIS LIBELLUS.
of indication from dreams.
Bas. Ed., p. 820.
In this short treatise of scarcely a page, Galen has given us much on the indications derivable from dreams; and undoubtedly the state of the body must, and does influence that of the mind on many occasions; so that a judicious physician will be enabled occasionally to call to his assistance even the “visions of the night” in aid of his opinion. His speculations as to the state or location of the mind (anima,) during dreams, and sundry speculations as to the causes, &c., are plausible at least as any that can be now advanced; and although this production is of no great importance, it yet affords additional proof of the indefatigable attention paid by Galen, to investigate his patient’s complaints by every means that would afford him a probable assistance in attempting his cure!
GALENI, DE PRÆCOGNITIONE LIBER.
Bas. Ed., p. 822.
This book, addressed to Posthumus, maintains the capability of the physician to predict what is about to happen to each patient. In doing this, the writer informs his friend that he had offended many physicians on his first settling at Rome by the predictions he made on several occasions. He depicts the habits of the medical men, at that period residing in Rome; by which it appears that professional animosity was as high then in that city, as it has been elsewhere, at any time; and he comes to the following conclusion in relation to them, “Ergo, ut apud nos sibi latrones parcunt, et in facienda injuria, mutuo conveniunt, ita medici Romæ nunc habitantes faciunt, hocque solo a latronibus differunt, quod in urbibus, non in montibus scelera perpetrant.”—In animadverting on the ignorance and malice of these men, he speaks of patients cured by himself after they had been deserted by them;—of his detecting by the pulse the love and anxiety of a female for a man; together with other cases of considerable interest; and finally mentions his retreat from Rome to his native country; and his recall by the Emperors Antoninus and Commodus;—then recurring to the subject of predictions, he states other instances of much merit, finishing thus the book;—and with it terminates the fourth class.
Galeni Librorum quinta Classis eam medicinæ partem, quæ ad Pharmaciam spectat, exponens; simplicium medicamentorum, substitutorum, purgantium, antidotorum, componendorum tam per locos quam per genera medicamentorum, ponderum denique, ac mensurarum doctrinam comprehendit.—Venice Ed. 1609.
These books, or fifth class, are of interest sufficient to engage the attention of all who are desirous to investigate the theoretic opinions of Galen and others, as to the asserted faculties or powers of simple medicines. It is impossible to abridge them; yet they are full of facts and practical matter; and, to the teacher, they open a wide field of information as to the Materia Medica of the day; and thus enable him to compare its present, with its past extent; and to find not a little, that in later days has been given to the world as altogether novel!
GALENI, DE SIMPL. MEDICAMENT. FACULTATIBUS, LIBRI UNDECIM.
of the powers of simple remedies.
in eleven books.
Bas. Ed., p. 5.
Among the many subjects of this book we find water pretty fully noticed; and in the course of its consideration, reference is made to mineral waters; and even artificial mineral waters seem to have been known. After mentioning saline, nitrous, sulphurous and bituminous waters, Galen adds, “Imitari autem potes sicut marinam, sic aliarum quamlibet,” &c. Connected with the subject, we find a speculation as to the cause of thirst, and of tastes, &c. Vinegar also is considered.
In this book, he attacks the opinions of the Sophists who refused to confide in the senses, and confutes their demonstrations. Here the subject of oil is largely considered, in the course of his arguments against Archidamus. Other practical remarks occur throughout, of a pharmaceutic character.
Repeating the outlines of the preceding books, the subject is discussed of hot, cold, moist and dry; and something is said respecting the necessity of experience, in order to know and properly estimate the powers of medicines; and this is made to diverge in a variety of particulars, much of which is speculative, and arising out of the hypothesis adopted by Galen.
The consideration of some individual articles and preparations is here further pursued. Astringents, bitters, and other divisions of the Materia Medica are elucidated; and the various tastes, &c., are considered as to their essence and existence.
The uses of medicines are pointed to; such as refrigerate or moisten, and heat or dry the system;—in connexion with some of which the production of pus, of scirrhus and some other affections, &c., is explained; likewise purgation, diuresis, &c., and some other discharges.
BOOKS VI. TO IX.
These books embrace the consideration of all the individual articles, chiefly in alphabetical order, of the vegetable kingdom.
The powers of medicines as derived from the animal kingdom are here treated of; chiefly, however, of the excrementitious parts, beginning with the blood of various animals; then follow, milk and its preparations, bile, sweat, urine, saliva, &c.—excrements of man, of the dog, and many other animals, with their differences; and the sordes of the ears and skin!
The animals themselves, and their different parts, are herein mentioned. Thus, we have the viper, fox, hyena, weasel, frog, grasshopper, earthworm, bugs, cantharides, and many more. Notice is paid to the fat, lard, marrow, heads, bones, horns, liver, nails, skin, and other parts. Cobweb is also mentioned;—oysters, eggs, snails, crabs, swallows, sponge, and so forth. Several hundred articles are thus treated of in these eleven books, derived from the different kingdoms of nature, that appear to have been employed in the practice of medicine. Some few of these have reached us, and continue, under different indications, to augment the list of the present day.
GALENI DE SUBSTITUTIS MEDICINIS LIBER.
of medicinal substitutes.
Bas. Ed., p. 322.
Galen tells us that as Dioscorides and others, had written somewhat on this subject of succedania, or a quid pro quo; he also deemed it right to state what, in case of need, might be substituted for an article intended, and informs us by what means he was induced to follow it up. Alphabetically arranged, we have a list of two hundred and fifty articles and more, whose place may be supplied by others; and from those enumerated, it would seem of little importance which of them were employed; as for the most part they might be adopted at random.
GALENI, DE PURGANTIUM MEDICAMENTORUM FACULTATE.
of the faculty or power of purgative remedies.
Bas. Ed., p. 328.
In this treatise, Galen attempts to show, in opposition to Erasistratus and Asclepiades, that every purgative possesses the power of attracting and discharging an appropriate humour; and that by this means the blood is purified. Not that the humours are capable of transmuting the medicine into themselves, nor is any humour indiscriminately discharged by any purgative. Bloodletting, inasmuch as all the humours are conjoined together in the vessels, promotes the discharge of all alike; and such is the case also, when by the operation of a violent remedy, blood is evacuated by stool; otherwise the remedy given, first purges off the humour to which its affinity is greatest, and then one of the others may follow. Some useful facts are dispersed throughout the treatise, which, founded on what are now regarded as erroneous data, is, nevertheless not unskilfully managed in the superstructure.
GALENI, QUOS PURGARE CONVENIAT, QUIBUS MEDICAMENTIS, ET QUO TEMPORE, LIBER.
whom, with which, and at what time, purgation is appropriate.
Bas. Ed., p. 340.
This book is by some asserted to be the production of Oribasius, made up from the writings of Galen. It is probably the case, for it is at best, a trifling work, and cannot add to the reputation of Galen. Some good remarks are made as to the occasional difficulty of exciting purgation, from the compact and hardened state of the fæces; under which circumstances enemata should precede the administration of the remedy.
GALENI, DE THERIACA, AD PISONEM, LIBER.
of the theriaca.
Bas. Ed., p. 340.
The subject of this book seems to have been a favourite with Galen, who pursues it in all its bearings; and he explains what led physicians to the formation of so compound a remedy. A long list of the articles entering into the composition of the theriaca forms perhaps the chief value of the book at the present day; and notice is taken as to numerous variations that had been introduced into its formation; its uses, doses, and other particulars find their respective places, both in prose and in verse.
GALENI, DE USU THERIACÆ, AD PAMPHILIANUM, LIBER.
of the use of the theriaca.
Bas. Ed., p. 372.
This is considered a doubtful production. It is of little importance in the present day, when its sixty or eighty ingredients have been cut down to fifteen or twenty. It may be regarded as a continuation of the preceding, and as deserving about the same degree of attention.
GALENI, DE ANTIDOTIS, LIBRI DUO.
two books on antidotes.
Bas. Ed., p. 378.
In this first book, explanation is afforded of what is understood by an antidote, viz., that it is a medicine, which taken internally, cures the evil affections (malas affectiones) of the body. The author proceeds to mention a great variety of such remedies, and particularly notices the Mithridate, and the Theriaca Andromachi, between which a comparison is drawn, and their preparation is unfolded, and the various frauds therein pointed out. The choice of the various articles is explained, and the different instruments and manipulations described. The preparation of the theriaca of the elder Andromachus is given afterwards in verse, its uses, and in what diseases, &c., and also of the theriaca of Damocrates.
The subject is here continued; and a great number of antidotes from different authorities are described, many of them in Latin versification. Among the antidotes are many against the bite of a maddog, most of which have had their ups and down, in perpetual fluctuation of recommendation and contempt, which it is scarcely necessary to copy. I shall only state that amongst them we find the alyssus, trifolium, crabs-claws, and others that are occasionally still made to appear under the sanction of some quack. As giving us some slight acquaintance with the remedies at that time employed, a cursory glance may prove useful; and whilst laughing at the polypharmacy of past ages, let us not omit to consider, whether in our own time, this folly is not still too prevalent both in our prescriptions, and in our drug-stores; and equally so in the schools of medicine.a
GALENI, DE COMPOSITIONE MEDICAMENTORUM LOCALIUM, LIBRI DECEM.
of the composition of local remedies.
in ten books.
Bas. Ed., p. 450.
Ten books on the subject of remedies appropriate for different parts and their respective diseases!! Specifics and panaceas, no doubt! yet amidst all this work of supererogation, there is to be found a good deal of useful matter, in the description of many of the diseases peculiar to the different parts or organs.
In this we are first presented with the indications of cure, and the general preparation of remedies; followed by an account of the various affections of the hair of different parts of the body, and the different prescriptions at different times proposed. Alopecia is largely considered, and the means of prevention; as also for the growth of the hair; in which Cleopatra figures as a candidate, for the honour of preventing the necessity of a wig! Tinging or colouring the hair is largely expounded; and some treatises on this subject and on general ornamenting of the body, as collected by Crito, who appears to have embraced the whole art and manipulation of cosmetics and their congenera; his four books on which, the delight of the female sex, Galen tells us were in every one’s possession. Our present perfumers and venders of arcana, sink into nothing before him; and if his books could be attained, they would indeed prove a treasure! Galen gives the heads of the chapters of each book, but the particulars are unnoticed, probably for the reasons above. One of the chapters is headed “Quæ conservant virginitatem!”—Perfumes, unguents, and other personal and domestic applications are numerous, whether for gratification or the removal of disease. Galen concludes the list, by saying, “In his quatuor libris Crito diligentissimè omnia fermè exornatoria pharmaca scripsit, appositis etiam comptoriis quæ spuriam pulchritudinem non veram inducunt, quapropter etiam ego ea relinquam.” He does, however, notice a few articles “quæ pulchritudinem secundum naturam conservant.” A chapter on Phthiriasis affords numerous articles for its cure.
Headache from numerous causes is treated of in this book, its contusions, ulcers, &c., and the appropriate remedies, including amulets, epithemeta, &c., from various authorities.
The various affections of the ears and nostrils are here considered, and their treatment given.
Here the diseases of the eyes and lids, &c., and remedies are noticed; and the multitude of both, would not disgrace our present authorities!
Continues the subject; and to it succeed the affections of the chin and face, and those of the teeth and gums;—dentistry seems nearly at as high a state as at present; Archigenes, Appollonius, Asclepiades and others have forestalled us in preventing the loosening and fœtor of the teeth; or removing them without pain; and dentifrices were abundant. Crito is equally at home here, as in the first book. Galen’s own prescriptions, which he mentions as “experimento comprobata” if we could readily verify all the articles mentioned, are here found.
Affections of the mouth follow. Many remedies are stated, and their preparation; and many authorities noticed. In this book is also noticed the removal of the uvula by incision, and as recommended by Hippocrates; an operation supposed by some of our confraternity to be of recent origin, and ignorantly ascribed to a late celebrated Professor; although it is mentioned by almost every writer from Hippocrates down; and by some of whom even a picture is given of the instruments by which it was to be executed!
Affections of the respiratory organs are here given. Dyspnœa, and other difficulties of breathing; hæmoptysis, phthisis, &c.,—remedies, &c.!
This book is occupied with the remedies adapted to affections of the stomach and liver. The various modes of preparing the Hiera are again given; volvulus, singultus, &c. Liver and its affections.
The liver and its affections continued; icterus. The spleen and its complaints, and remedies from various sources. Dropsy, colic, dysentery, affections of the rectum and anus, hæmorrhoids, prolapsus, affections of the pudenda, and of the uterus, especially hysteria.
Here the remedies adapted to affections of the kidneys, bladder, and joints are noticed; nephritis, sciatica, gout, &c., as described by different authors.
These books have some interest, as containing the remedial measures of many physicians, whose names are not unknown to us; and some amusement may be found in the descriptions given of them, partly in prose and partly poetical.a
GALENI, DE COMPOSITIONE MEDICAMENTORUM PER GENERA, LIBRI SEPTEM.
of the compounding of remedies in relation with their genera.
in seven books.
Bas. Ed., p. 788.
Galen, in a kind of preface to these books, informs us that he had previously completed the two first, but that they were unfortunately destroyed in a fire, which burned down the Temple of Peace,b and the vast libraries (ingentes bibliothecæ) belonging to the palace. Several other of his writings shared their fate, and he was compelled, from the want of another copy, to renew his labour at the solicitation of his friends. He points out the previous attainments necessary for those who desire faithfully to compound medicines, and reproves those who maintain that in such compounds, the powers of the simple medicines are preserved; telling them they do not distinguish between proper, and acquired powers. He then states what is the use of compound remedies; and treats of a great variety of plasters, and of the principles that enter into their formation, and uses.
Here, remedies are classed together that are employed in the affections of the nerves, from wounds, punctures, contusions; and he prides himself on being the first to pursue the plan, which differed greatly from that before adopted, and which was generally fatal. Many useful practical preliminary remarks occur, relating to the subject; and the history is given of the first invention by him of his mode of cure. Several other histories of cases are interspersed, pointing out the difference of, and danger of mistaking nerves, tendons, and ligaments for each other; and the equal folly of supposing that all kinds of wounds, ulcers, &c., were curable by one and the same remedy. The remedies of different physicians in such cases are enumerated by him from time to time.
BOOK IV., V.
Remedies useful in putrid, malignant and other ulcers, are here treated of; many plasters of the elder physicians described. And such is the case in the fifth book, derived from every source, and certainly, in number, sufficient for every emergency.
This book, consists chiefly of plasters and the like; dignified with the adjunct of many virtues, (De emplastris polychrestis), which they certainly possessed, if only of half the amount attributed to them.
Emollient, relaxing, discutient, and other like remedies are here treated of, still closely united with plasters; but differing a little in name, viz., malagmata, acopa, et alia.
GALENI, DE PONDERIBUS ET MENSURIS LIBELLUS,—SPURIUS.
of weights and measures.
Bas. Ed., p. 1046.
This book is of importance in determining the value of the weights and measures employed in medicine, in the time of Galen. It is obvious, however, that it cannot be abbreviated; and that it requires close attention in all who may be interested in the consideration of the subject. If not the production of Galen, it may be esteemed as correct, until at least the contrary is proved.
With this ends the fifth class of Galen’s works.
OF THE INSTRUMENTS OF CLINICAL PRACTICE.a
Galeni librorum sexta classis de Cucurbitulis, Scarificationibus, Hirudinibus, et Phlebotomia præcipuo artis remedio tradit.—Ven. Ed. 1609.
This sixth class, although the shortest, is yet, all things considered, one of, if not the most interesting of Galen’s works, whether as tending to show his great promptitude in bloodletting, his excellent judgment, in relation thereto, or in connexion with his admirable defence of it against Erasistratus and his followers. In most instances his rules are excellent, and some particulars may afford us instruction in several cases of a doubtful nature. If we admit that Galen did not fully comprehend the circulation as now (yet imperfectly) taught, we cannot doubt that the existence of such a function was strongly and uniformly present in his mind, and that he comprehended its necessity, and acknowledged its importance, in his regulations for derivation and revulsion! A man who judges so correctly of venesection, and points out so minutely all its details and its practical utility, surely cannot be deemed ignorant of its existence universally; and in acknowledging the possibility of death from loss of blood from a single vessel, from the anastomosis of them in every part; surely, no great superiority over this information, can be strictly or justly ascribed to the assumed discoveries awarded to Harvey.
GALENI, DE HIRUDINIBUS, REVULSIONE, CUCURBITULA ET SCARIFICATIONE.
of leeches, revulsion, cups and scarification.
Bas. Ed., p. 1053.
In the first chapter of this book, he briefly notices the multiplied uses of leeches, with the means of insuring their biting, in which ablution of the part is particularly insisted on; and even preparing the leech for the operation, by putting it in warm water, and removing the sordes from their surface by soft sponge, &c.—if applied to the hands or feet, those parts are to be immersed in the water with them. Snipping off their tail, to keep up the flow of the blood, is mentioned; and the subsequent application of cups, if necessary to continue it. Several measures are given for stopping the bleeding when it continues beyond our wishes, amongst which are burnt galls, and heated pitch. He regards the action of this species of bloodletting as confined to the blood of the superficial skin and flesh, and that they are simple substitutes for cupping, and are to be removed when half the amount is abstracted, in order (it is to be presumed) to give place to the cups.
In treating of revulsion in the second chapter, some useful practical facts are afforded, even if dissatisfied with his doctrines. Thus, in promoting revulsion from the chest or belly, the application is to be made to the hand; and to the lower parts, when the revulsion is to be made from the stomach to arrest vomition; acrid glysters are recommended for a like intent. The application of cups to the breasts (mammas) is spoken of; and to the præcordia, in epistaxis, or in uterine hæmorrhage, and other particulars are laid down.
In respect to cups, (third chapter,) evacuations are previously recommended; and plethora seems to be regarded as opposed to their employment; for which cause they are not to be used in the beginning of inflammation of the brain and membranes, or other parts; but rather after all due evacuations are had recourse to. The effects of cupping are to abstract matter, allay pain, diminish inflammation, discuss swellings, induce appetite, restore energy to a weakened stomach, to cut short deliquium, translate morbid afflux from parts deep seated, restrain hæmorrhage, and benefit menstruation.
The subject of scarification is then taken up, and “multum in parvo” may be said of it; the when, and the where, are briefly pointed out to the reader.
Immediately following this book is a short one, in the Venice edition, called a discourse (sermo), by Oribasius; it is on nearly the same subjects, and taken from his seventh and eighth books, as by him abstracted from Galen, Antyllus, Herodotus, Apollonius, and Menamachus; and in so far as epitomizing several preceding writers, it is by no means devoid of interest. Not belonging to my subject, I, however, pass it by, merely stating that different kinds of cups are mentioned, such as glass, horn, and brass:—this last being most commonly employed; and the glass is commended from its enabling us to see the amount of blood discharged. The operation is effected with the glass or brass cups, by aid of heat; with the horn, by forcible suction through an aperture. On the subject of phlebotomy, Apollonius, who is very favourable to scarification, says, however, that no one will suspect him of thereby exploding it, for he never omits it in the most dangerous diseases; in which it is requisite to employ it speedily and largely, in proportion to their violence.
GALENI, DE VENÆSECTIONE ADVERSUS ERASISTRATUM LIBER.
of venæsection, in opposition to erasistratus.
Bas. Ed., p. 1057.
Erasistratus appears to have been the prototype of old Van Helmont in his enmity to bloodletting; and severely has Galen animadverted on him and his disciples. He commences this book by saying he deemed it worthy of inquiry, why, whilst Erasistratus had in relation to many trifling remedies, written most minutely, even as to their most insignificant points, as in the manipulations of a poultice, he had been altogether silent respecting bloodletting; even studiously so, whilst many celebrated ancient writers had fully treated of it before his time; and he tells us, that in all his writings, the word venæsection only once is to be found. This anomaly Galen attempts to elucidate, and gives us the opinions of Erasistratus in respect to the origin of fever and inflammation, and their conjunction; and then inquires, why he preferred abstinence to bloodletting, seeing it was so tardy in its effects, when the latter was prompt and immediate. Galen remarks on the universal evacuation from bloodletting, its rapid influence, and even the example of nature herself, who was so much esteemed by Erasistratus. The whole book is a satirical review of his opinions and conduct. Neither Dogmatist nor Empiric rejected phlebotomy; and physicians themselves uniting in its employment, only differed as to the amount, the precise period, and the part from which its abstraction was to be made; which points, he briefly treats on. He adverts to the facility of stopping the discharge at pleasure, and of the judgment that may be formed as to the amount from the change of colour in the blood as it flows.—Other remedies, after being taken, are no longer under our control, whether they work for good or evil; and this remark extends even to the aliment employed. He ridicules those who call themselves after Erasistratus, and tells them, they did not comprehend him. That their master had only three modes of evacuation,—baths, exercise, and the negative one of diminished diet; which last, he adds, is longer in promoting its effects, and is more injurious to the whole system than venæsection; which is more prompt, and safer, and not unfrequently prevents a rupture of some vessel. On these and other points, much is said, and he repeats that Erasistratus makes no reference to venæsection.
GALENI, DE VENÆSECTIONE ADVERSUS ERASISTRATÆOS QUI ROMÆ DEGEBANT.
of venæsection, in opposition to the erasistrateans of rome.
Bas. Ed., p. 1074.
It is probable that the preceding book had called down the indignation of the followers of Erasistratus; and that Galen wrote this, in reply to their affirmations in behalf of their master. He tells us that at first settling at Rome, he found many physicians who so totally repugned venæsection, that they would not bleed in cases of the greatest emergency; some of which cases he mentions, and their fatal issue. He affirms that they even mistook the opinions of their master, and fell into subterfuges on the subject. In evidence of this, he analyses in a masterly manner, several of these cases, which had evidently proved fatal, from a neglect of this evacuation; their errors are largely dwelt on, and combatted; and the practice pursued by them, is justly censured! The reasons assigned by them and their masters, for the omission, are considered; and some judicious remarks are made as to the use of this evacuation, or its omission. In one part of the book we find the unacceptable remark, that “Desiderantur hoc loco non pauca.”
GALENI, DE CURANDI RATIONE PER SANGUINIS MISSIONEM LIBER.
of the rationale of bloodletting.
Bas. Ed., p. 1099.
This book may be considered as a full account of every thing connected with bloodletting; such as the mode of operating, and the preliminary considerations leading thereto; what affections chiefly require it, and wherefore; the locality to be selected, whether of an artery or vein, the amount, and other particulars. It is as a whole an admirable book, and deserves to be studied for its merits as practically elucidating the benefits of venæsection. Unquestionably much useless speculation exists, but this ought not to preclude us from the information to be derived from other parts. The boldness of his practice is conspicuous throughout; his judgment not less so; neither of which are reconcilable to an ignorance or doubt of a circulation, even if some error may be ascribed to his demonstrations, so repeatedly enforced in order to enhance the merits of Harvey. No one has a right to judge in this, who has neglected or omitted to read the writings of both Galen and Harvey; and yet deems himself adequate, on mere second-hand authority, (too often itself removed alike from actual investigation,) to call in question the knowledge of the former, and to crown with laurel the head of the latter! If Harvey has actually discovered any individual parts of the circulation or its structural adaptations, unknown to Galen, or to any anterior to the period of his own elucidations, let them be clearly advanced in his behalf; but that such can be done by his warmest admirers, we have great doubts! for even now, all the mysteries of that wonderful contrivance are far from being fully comprehended, or universally admitted.
In this book, Galen again animadverts on the falsehoods of the Erasistrateans as to venæsection, telling them very plainly, that subtile as they are in their wicked sophistry, they well knew that they were lying at the time (mentiri se sciant), in striving to prove it a novelty. Whereas, many ancient writers, some of whom he mentions, had extolled it as first on the list of remedial agents. He affirms that on every question, reason or experience, or both united, must decide; and refers the reader to his treatise “de plenitudine” as a proper subject, previously to reading this book. He points out some of the circumstances that indicate the propriety of bloodletting, and others forbidding it; together with the general views to be considered when about to prescribe it, and the indications by which its propriety may be judged of. He speaks of its use in gout, and of his cures by it in the spring, as well as by purging; both of which are usually injurious in cases of intemperance, whether in eating or in drinking. He makes a remark of importance to show the conjectural character of medicine, as deduced from the different doses of medicine required; and points out, what cannot be too often repeated, as a guard to presumption in our doses, that such exhibition if erroneous, admits not of correction; whilst venæsection is superior in this respect, since we can at once arrest it; its efficacy is immediate, when from plethora, &c., a violent and acute fever requires to be arrested, by bleeding ad deliquium, yet at the same time with proper caution.a He says he remembers thus having drawn off six cotylab (about one lb. troy each) at once; with other instances of a like kind, being at the same time governed by the indications drawn from the pulse, the spissitude or tenuity of the blood, and its improved hue from a dark colour; which last, he tells us, was Hippocrates’ rule for bleeding in pleurisy, and he gives various cautions for our benefit. The pulse, he tells us, he particularly attended to, as the blood was flowing, lest, when least expected, death might ensue instead of syncope, as happened in the practice of three physicians. He inculcates what practically we find erroneous, not to bleed (with some exceptions) under fourteen years of age, nor beyond seventy, to which he seems to have been led by some of his speculations on the subject of plethora. A case is recorded of ophthalmia, in the steward of a rich Roman, attended by a physician of the sect of Erasistratus; that is, one who was an enemy to bloodletting; and who had been under his hands for twenty days. By a little finesse, Galen obtained the chance of prescribing for him at his own (Galen’s) house for three days, at which he was directed to call. “Venit autem, (says Galen,) circiter horam quintam: ac prima protinus detractione, tres sanguinis libras exhausi, deinde, hora nona, aliam,”—and by this treatment, and some topical application, on the third day, he sent him back to his master, nearly or quite restored. The other physician seems finally to have received from the master, the appellative or nickname of αιμαφοβον or sanguifugus.
Galen speaks very decidedly as to bleeding in inflammation of the throat and windpipe; and reprobates those physicians who limit blood-letting to the first days of the disease; some, he says, not daring to extend it beyond the third, and others the fourth as the extreme; but he adds, we must bleed even on the twentieth day, if strength permits, and forbear even on the second, should prostration ensue. He laughs equally at the presumed hour of the day, on which some fixed the operation, as at five or six in the morning, &c. Night or day, says he, makes no odds;—giving at the same time some cautions on the subject; and concluding this interesting book with some remarks on arteriotomy, its dangers and advantages; the danger of aneurism, and even death from not being acquainted with the vessels by dissection; and declaring the necessity of tying up the artery with a ligature, when unhappily wounded, (necesse enim hic est laqueo vasculum constringere). He seems not to have omitted arteriotomy in different parts, on many occasions; and notices the circumstance of the ancients having called arteries by the name of veins, as being elsewhere treated of by him.
With this book the sixth class is brought to a termination.
Galeni librorum septima classis curativam methodum tum diffuse tum breviter descriptam, victus rationem in morbis acutis, singulorum morborum facile paranda remedia, privatam quorundam morborum curationem, chirurgiæ constitutionem, fracturarum ac luxationum sanationem, fasciarum denique et laqueorum, et machinamentorum tractatum continet.—Venice Ed. 1609.
In the Venice edition, the following notice appears, “Hos sex libros, quos Vidius olim converterat, nunc idem etiam diligenter recognovit.” The last three are not in the Basil edition.
GALENI, DE MEDENDI METHODO, SEU DE MORB. CURANDIS, LIBRI QUATUOR-DECEM.
of the method of curing diseases.
Bas. Ed., tom. vi., p. 6.
This treatise in nearly two hundred folio pages, may be regarded as a partial consideration of Galen’s Practice of Physic, so far as medicine is concerned; for his whole writings point out how greatly he depended on diet. It would be impossible to give even a faint outline of this extensive work within the short limits to which I am restricted. A complete translation would not be useless at the present period.
The first book is a severe castigation of Thessalus (the prince of the Methodists) and of his sect; his principles he inveighs against, and overturns the foundations; pointing out the arrogance of the man, and the injury science had received through him. Some insight is afforded of the follies and vices of Rome, and ascribing the delay of his own writings to the idleness and debauchery every where surrounding him. Addressing himself to his beloved Hiero, he reminds him that he, and many friends, had exhorted him to write on the Practice of Physic; which, he adds, “I truly desire to do, both to gratify him, and to benefit posterity. Yet, I always delayed, and that on many accounts; the chief of which was, that I feared I should write in vain, since scarcely any at this period paid attention to the seeking after truth. Money, civil power, and voluptuousness, alone took the lead; and all who pursued knowledge were regarded as madmen!” He complains greatly of ignorance in respect to the science of medicine, and of several other sciences at that era; and informs us that Thessalus boasted that he would teach his pupils the profession, in six months; so that, says Galen, it is the fact, that now, cobblers, dyers, carpenters, and blacksmiths, forsaking their respective occupations, at once jump into the Practice of Physic! and the mere compounders of mixtures for painters or perfumers do the same. Hence, says Galen, I feel compelled to detail the methodus medendi, so successfully begun by the ancients, and which their successors endeavoured to perfect.
Can we not here see, as in a glass, the features of that period reflected amongst us, when bookbinders and others, forgetting the precept of “ne sutor ultra crepidam,” and recommended, moreover, by the fathers (!) of our science, quit their trades, in order to engage in the practice of physic; and by the assumption of some nostrum, under their patronage, realize fortunes, whilst the regular student, after taking his degree, starves in his professional career!
This man, Thessalus, rendered thus immortal by the castigation of Galen, who, noting his excessive vanity, and his envy of his predecessors, has likened him to Zoilus, who flagellated the statue of Homer, and to Salmoneus, who attempted to imitate the thunder of Jupiter; and also to a host of other miscreants, who feared neither men nor gods; this man, he adds, was nevertheless the leader of a sect, that upheld the doctrine of a fluxum et clausum, (a prototype of another subsequently maintained under the denomination of strictum et laxum.) Thus goes the world; old things become new, by the magic of a few unmeaning words, and by a change of nomenclature. The authors are forgotten, and arrogance joined with usurpation, or literary plagiarism of former doctrines, too often gives repute to the asserted novelties of present times!
The original modes of framing names for diseases are explained in the second book. The distinction of pain and disease, and several other particulars of interest to the medical reader. The third book is chiefly taken up with the consideration of ulcers and their treatment, both simple, and when complicated with other diseases.—The fourth continues the subject of ulcers of a malignant character, explains their nature, treatment, difference of in form, locality, &c., and this is extended into the fifth book,—all connected with many interesting practical remarks, and observations on the remedies and diet required. The sixth book notices the mode of treatment in injuries of the nerves and tendons, in those of the bones, and of wounds of the peritoneum. The seventh has reference to the stomach and its affections. The eighth embraces fevers, and has numerous dietetic remarks, which are continued in the ninth, together with remarks as to the indications of cure, and on some of the remedial measures, as venæsection, &c. Hectic fever is considered in the tenth book, together with its treatment; and putrid fevers in the eleventh. The twelfth inquires into the nature of a symptom; one or two in particular, as syncope, &c., are especially noticed. Tumours of various kinds, phlegmonous especially, are considered in the thirteenth book; the rise of inflammation, its causes, and variation, according to the parts affected; treatment of, both remedial and dietetic. Several particular cases, as phrenitis, &c., referred to, and many interesting observations are largely dispersed throughout. Complicated tumours and swellings occupy the fourteenth book. Erysipelas, œdema, scirrhus, cancer, anthrax, scrofula, and many others; together with some remarks on affections of the hair and of the eyes.
In concluding this hasty and imperfect sketch, I must repeat that I think a translation of these fourteen books would prove an acceptable present to every intelligent physician; an agreeable bon-bouche to all who can divest themselves of prejudices early instilled into their minds, by self-opiniated teachers, both public and private, against the ancient writers, of whom, in fact they know little or nothing. It is time that our medical youth should be led to know and to believe, that “all the talents” are not confined to a few plausible theorists of present times; but that with common diligence, wheat in abundance may be winnowed from the chaff of ancient lore, to their own advantage; and to a conviction that the science, perhaps even the practice of medicine, was as well comprehended and pursued, with far inferior advantages, in the time of Galen as at the present period of the “march of mind.” It is devoutly to be wished that a revulsion in favour of the ancients could fully and firmly be accomplished; which would be the case, if a translation should be made of their writings, for who, now studies them in their original dress!—what if there be trash among them! is none apparent in the boasted productions of the present day? Can none, in theory or practice be pointed out, in the syllabi, and essays from our Professorial chairs?—who is it leads the student to believe that nought but trash exists within the musty folios of antiquity? who? why usually some pretender, who mystifies his hearers, and through their means the world at large, by assuming as his own, the opinions and views of others who have long preceded him; and but for which, his ignorance or idleness would have precluded his attaining. Desirous of shrouding the sources of his borrowed plumes, it is necessary to blind those who depend upon him for information, by the assertion that nothing good can “come out of Gallilee!” What! is there no pleasure even in contemplating the embodied trash of the early promulgators of science, if only to ascertain how high we have ascended beyond them in the route they had begun to trace? If the folios of old, exceed in magnitude, the octavos of our times; these last excel in number, and in rapidity of emission, that by no means compensate the contents of the larger proportion!
GALENI, DE ARTE CURATIVA, SEU RATIONE MEDENDI, LIBRI DUO.
of the method of curing diseases.
Bas. Ed., p. 366.
These books, addressed to Glaucus, may be considered as the continuation of the preceding, and might without impropriety rank as the fifteenth and sixteenth books; and from these too, may be abundantly gleaned a copious mass of information. The first book teaches us the reasons leading man to acquire information generally, and that of medicine particularly, as arising out of it. To illustrate this, the subject of fever is selected, and the causes and symptoms of the various kinds of fever are successively brought to view, viz., ephemeral, putrid, tertian, quartan, quotidian, continued, &c., affections of the head from various causes; crises, critical days, and numerous particulars connected therewith.
The second book embraces very fully the subject of inflammation, its varieties, causes, &c., and the indication of cure, by general and topical means; œdema, abscesses, ulcers of different kinds, and morbid swellings of every description, are brought into view; and much practical information is every where to be found.
In these and other writings of former ages, we must be content to take them as we marry, for better and worse.—He must be fastidious in the extreme who cannot find something good; he that anticipates no error in them is a blockhead. In reading them we must “be to their faults a little blind”—at the same time remembering the centuries that have elapsed since they were penned, compare them candidly with those of the present period, and judge thereby of their extraordinary merits. No one will regret the loss of time in their perusal, for infinitely more is squandered away in the attention paid to the voluminous and reiterated repetitions in the successive volumes that now issue from the press.a
In the writings of Galen, much practical matter will repay his perusal, even when we may be inclined to reject his doctrines; doctrines, however, in which the germs of, I believe, most of late or present notoriety may be discovered. Remember him as a writer of sixteen centuries past! The author of more numerous works than any who preceded or followed him; and admitted chiefly as his genuine productions; besides that of many that have unfortunately been lost,—and of numerous commentaries on the Hippocratic writings; to say nothing of those deemed to be spurious, or merely philosophical, without having any very close connexion with the science of medicine!—Is such a man undeserving of notice by his medical posterity? Is it possible we can be satisfied to know him by name alone? It is high time such apathy should cease for sentiments of a more generous character; and delight would result from pursuing the train of thought that has been illuminated by the midnight taper of the greatest man that our science can boast of. The prince (or tyrant if so he must be called,) of the medical profession for one thousand years, if he is not worthy of consideration, I really know not who is, now! If the giants of medicine, who, during so long a period entered the nets of his disposing, were too readily seduced to devour indiscriminately all that they contained; those of the present day are precluded from the same; for the passages have been obstructed by every possible means, that interested motives could induce.
In the Venice edition, at the end of this book, we are told, that here ought to be placed that book which appears in the fifth class, under the title of “Quos, et Quando, et Quibus Medicamentis purgare conveniat.”
GALENI, IN LIBRUM HIPPOC. DE VICTUS RATIONE IN MORB. ACUTIS, COMM. QUATUOR.
of the rationale of food in acute diseases.—four commentaries.
Bas. Ed., p. 585.
To epitomize these commentaries is scarcely possible. Galen has divided the four books of Hippocrates on the subject stated, each into short sections or paragraphs, as texts, on which to build his remarks.
The first consists of forty-seven paragraphs; the argument of the book, in the Venice eighth edition is as follows, and sufficiently exhibits its contents.
Pertractat de iis, quæ veteribus medicis in acutorum morborum victu controversa erant; ac in primo quidem libro agit de Ptisana.”
The second consists of fifty-five paragraphs, thus indicated:
“Exemplo doloris lateris agit de vi ac usu fomentorum, deinde de repentina tum in victu, tum in reliquis rebus mutatione; fusé latéque pertractat.”
The third embracing sixty-two paragraphs, is thus headed:
“Exponit vini, mulsæ, oxymelitis, aquæ, et balneorum facultatem.”
The fourth contains one hundred and twenty-three paragraphs; headed as follows:
“Liber á quopiam ex Hippocratis discipulis, multis diversisque theorematis, inordinatéque dispositis, conflatus, quorum plurima ad acutos morbos videntur pertinere.”
The reader is referred to the subject by Hippocrates, in the preceding part of this volume.
Following the preceding, in the Venice eighth edition we have a short book, itself imperfect in the beginning, entitled,—
GALENI, DE DIÆTA HIPPOCRATIS IN MORBIS ACUTIS.
on the hippocratic diet in acute diseases.
From a note given, it appears doubtful whether this work on which Galen discourses, is the production of Hippocrates; but the remark is made, that whoever was the author, he was well acquainted with the doctrine of Hippocrates. Much other matter is contained in it than what appertains solely to diet, yet all connected with medicine, and deserving at least of a cursory perusal, but scarcely admitting of an abstract.
GALENI, DE REMEDIIS PARATU FACILIBUS LIBELLUS.
of remedies of easy preparation.
Bas. Ed., p. 419.
This is a kind of domestic dispensatory or pharmacopœia, affording receipts for the preparation of different remedies for an extensive set of diseases; having a preface explanatory of the treatise, as being written for the use of country people, travellers, and persons living at a distance from medical assistance. It consists of one hundred and thirty-one short divisions or chapters,—in some of which, the precepts of other physicians are given. Many of the prescriptions might subserve the interests of Charlatanism, by introducing some novelties to their notice. Much of it is praiseworthy, and fully equal to Buchan and his commentators on domestic medicine; superior indeed, in one particular, that of brevity!
We may connect with the above, the two succeeding books, for they are of precisely the same character, and seem as if they were the contents of Galen’s common place-book of recipes, &c., derived from all quarters; they altogether form a curious, and not uninteresting part of the works of Galen, or of that age.
LIBER DE MEDICINIS FACILE PARABILIBUS, GALENO ASCRIPTUS, LIB. SECUNDUS.
of medicines of easy preparation.
Bas. Ed., p. 447.
This is addressed or inscribed “ad Solonem, medicorum prinpem,”—and contains nearly one hundred and fifty recipes for sundry complaints and other intentions; some are connected with cosmetics, others for aphrodisiacal uses, &c, “Ad conceptum usum.” “Ut mulier marem generet,” &c., &c. Some promoting, others to prevent abortion, &c. “Aliquando dormitat bonus (Galenus) Homerus.”
LIBER DE MEDICINIS FACILE PARAB. GALENO ASCRIPTUS. LIB. TERTIUS.
Bas. Ed., p. 483.
This third book is called also by the title of “De medicamentis quæ ad manum sunt” (off-hand remedies), and consists of nearly three hundred prescriptions! in omnes ferè morbos, et quibusdem alios!
In these three books may be discovered the originals of many of the panaceas, and receipts of the present age, for Hydrophobia, and the “thousand ills that flesh is heir to.” They constitute a kind of romance in the domains of prescription!
GALENI DOCUMENTUM DE PUERO EPILEPTICO.
advice for an epileptic boy.
Bas. Ed., p. 518.
This is a letter of advice from Galen to Cæcilianus, who had consulted him respecting his son; in which he enters pretty extensively into the treatment, both remedial and dietetic, which he deemed proper to be pursued, and gives his reasons for the same;—although not capable of being epitomised, it will by its perusal afford information.
GALENO ASCRIPTUS LIBER DE INCANTATIONE, ADJURATIONE, ET SUSPENSIONE.
on incantation, adjuration, and charms.
Bas. Ed., p. 526.
This book on charms, amulets and the like, is ascribed to Constantinus Africanus, in whose writings it appears; why it should have been attributed to Galen, does not appear. It commences by an address to Constantine’s child (fili charissime), who seems to have inquired as to the utility of the objects in view; and whether any thing had been written on the subject by the Greeks or Indians? To this inquiry, the treatise is a reply; and Galen is referred to in more than one part. Much curious matter is spread over it,—and the influence of the mind or imagination on many occasions is pointed out, and its utility in practice is sustained. The folly of some of the notions then entertained, and which have come down nearly to our times, is pointed out, and the statements of some of the physicians of anterior period, as to charms, &c., are enumerated; and although he seems to doubt them, further than as operating on the imagination; yet he acknowledges the difficulty of coming to certain conclusions, where not personally present; adding, that as we would doubt the attraction of iron by the magnet, if we had not seen it, so many things may be true, which we cannot comprehend.
GALENI IN LIB. DE NATURA HUMANA, COMMENTARIUS SECUNDUS.
a second commentary on the book de natura humana.
Venice Ed., p. 180.
This book “de Natura Humana,” is not acknowledged by Galen as one of Hippocrates. (class 1, no. 3.) This second commentary is on that part of the treatise regarded by Galen as spurious, and which he attributes to Polybius. He divides it under twenty-two paragraphs, as texts for his comments. The operation of some common cause in producing an epidemic is affirmed. The origin of four pair of vessels from the head is properly criticised, and some useful remarks are spread throughout the whole.
GALENI, DE OCULIS THERAPEUTICON.—SPURIUS.
of the treatment of ophthalmic affections.
Bas. Ed., p. 530.
This treatise, stated to be spurious, gives an account of the eyes, their construction, their tunics, humours, muscles, nerves, &c., the mode in which vision is accomplished, and other particulars relating thereto. Then, after some observations on the primary intentions of medicine in general, in relation to diseases, their causes and symptoms; the affections of the eyes, and of their respective parts, are considered, and the remedial measures to be adopted for their removal. An immense assortment of collyria is presented, headed “de collyriis multis ad oculorum ægritudines,” and the patient must be hard to please who cannot find one for his purpose.
GALENO ASCRIPTUS LIBER DE RENUM AFFECTUUM DIGNOTIONE ET MEDICATIONE.
of diseases of the kidneys, and their treatment.
Bas. Ed., p. 566.
The kidneys are here described, as to substance, situation, parts, and uses. Nephritis, calculus, and other renal and vesical affections, are duly treated of. The causes of calculus, symptoms, &c., and of those impacted in the urethra. Difference of calculi in size, situation, figure and colour. Cure of, and relief, by various means, of a general character; followed by those adapted to particular cases. The latter part of the treatise is especially intended for, and is addressed to an individual labouring under calculus. Another tract upon the subject is partly promised.
GALENI, IN HIPPOCRATEM DE OFFICINA MEDICI.—COM. TRES.
three commentaries on the hippoc. treatise of the office of the physician.
Bas. Ed., p. 746.
There seems some doubt with Galen, whether this treatise is not the production of Thessalus, one of the sons of Hippocrates, and intended by him simply as hints for remembrance. The commentaries on each paragraph are pretty extensive, and many of much interest. Indeed the treatise is itself far too brief to be properly comprehended now, without the aid of Galen. The second of Galen’s commentaries commences with that part of Hippocrates’ treatise that treats on bandages, and the right indication for their employment. In the Venice eighth edition we are presented with a series of engravings of the various bandages affixed to different parts of the head, body and extremities, with copious remarks. The subject is continued in the third commentary, and not a little is said on fractures and luxations, which is, however, more fully pursued in the succeeding book.
GALENI IN LIB. HIPPOCRATIS DE FRACTURIS, COMMENT. TRES.
three commentaries on the book of fractures by hippocrates.
Bas. Ed., p. 840.
In these three commentaries the subject of fractures is largely discussed. After some preliminary observations as to the general nature of fractures, and the indications of treatment, they are individually considered, and some rude plates are given as explanatory of some parts, in the Venice edition. Luxations of sundry joints are treated of, as those of the femur, knee, ankle and others; and figures of some of the machines for extension in reducing them, are also afforded; some of which, probably, might be occasionally useful where at present pullies are employed, but which are not always to be had in the country at a moment’s warning. Compound fractures, &c., constitute the subject of the last or third commentary, with some accessory observations on bandages, luxations, &c. Some of the cuts given, look considerably like splints, &c., that have given celebrity to later writers!
GALENI, IN LIB. HIPPOC. DE ARTICULIS, COMMENT. QUATUOR.
four commentaries on the book of hip. on luxations.
Bas. Ed., p. 944.
As the preceding book, though nominally appropriated to fractures, contains much on the subject of luxations, so this, which is connected chiefly with luxations, has much respecting fractures. In the Venice edition we have a considerable number of cuts, explanatory of the processes pursued in the reduction of different luxations, especially of the humerus; the symptoms of each are pointed out, and the rationale of the process pursued. As in the former, so in this, it would be impossible to give an epitome of the contents. The subjects are copiously handled, and especially some of the most important; thus, on the luxation of the femur, we have it treated of, under the following heads.
There is a good deal of very singular and heels-over-head business in these books; for, under some circumstances, the reduction is made by hanging the patient by the legs, head-downwards, as described, and exemplified by engravings, and probably, in practice, not unavailing. Should curiosity lead any one to peruse these commentaries, some pearls may be found amongst a good deal of rubbish.
GALENUS DE FASCIIS.
Ven. Ed., p. 293.
The Latin translator (Vidus Vidius,) of this, which does not appear in the Basil edition, in an address to the reader, informs him that this is one of the three treatises on bandages, by Galen, Soranus, and Heliodorus; of which he gives only this, of Galen, since whoever knows it, will be masters of the other two. Satisfied that this is Galen’s, he remarks that it is the very book he promised, in the second commentary: “De Officina Medici.” As some few things are wanting that are found in Soranus and Heliodorus, he has here inserted them. Some further information of not much importance, is added, and the treatise itself immediately succeeds.
Various bandages (and many plates) for the head are described from different authorities, seventy in number;—followed by others for the luxation of the extremities; fracture of the clavicle; suspensory and other bandages, all derived apparently from other writers; and some not undeserving of present notice. Some indeed are in use amongst us.
ORIBASIUS, DE LAQUEIS, EX HERACLE.
of a noose or ligature.
Ven. Ed., p. 306.
This treatise introduced into the Venice edition, is only noticed here from that circumstance. It is, says the Translator Vidius, praised by Galen in his book on bandages (de Fasciis), and is elsewhere noticed by him, yet in the Greek copy, he adds, it is referred to Oribasius. However this be, he further remarks, there are many things in it necessary to the elucidation of medicine. The subject matter is that of ligatures, of various kinds, for tying up bandages or dressings, extension in the reducing of fractures, &c. Cuts are given of these, nearly twenty in number.
ORIBASIUS, DE MACHINAMENTIS, EX HELIODORO.
on surgical machinery, or apparatus.
Ven. Ed., p. 309.
What is said above, will apply to this treatise on the machinery employed. It appears to be a collection made by Oribasius, from Hippocrates, Galen, and other authors—giving the description and use of such machinery, with the rationale of its employment. It is accompanied by figures.
This concludes the seventh class.
Galeni extra ordinem Classium Libri, in quibus breves rerum determinationes traduntur, quarum perceptio, superiorum librorum lectionem requiret.—Venice edition, 1609.
The aphorisms of Hippocrates are in the hands of most physicians. They have been much read, and much commented on. They are in fact, almost the only part of his writings that are familiar to the Profession; and with much to be admired, and admitted as truth, contain not a little error. The commentaries of Galen are, in many parts interesting, and much practical use may be acquired from their perusal. An abstract of them is impossible. The aphorisms are singly taken, as texts, on which Galen very learnedly expatiates. All the three first numbers of this class, are of the same character. The latter (No. iv.), though united with these aphoristic books, is merely an explanation of obsolete words in the Hippocratic writings, and of consequence forms a kind of lexicon in alphabetical order. The second number is a contradiction of the opinion of Lycus, in respect to a certain aphorism (fourteenth) of Hippocrates; and the third in like manner opposes some of the assertions of Julianus relating to the aphorisms.
We leave this class, and proceed to mention, what are in the Venice edition denominated “Spurii Libri,” and in that of Basil, “Libri Galeno ascripti.”
SPURII GALENO ASCRIPTI LIBRI.a
“Qui variam artis medicæ farraginem ex variis auctoribus excerptam continentes, optimo, quo fieri potuit, ordine sunt dispositi, et in unum corpus redacti.”—Venice Ed. 1609.
These contain, as above stated, a vast medley of the medical art, extracted from numerous sources; disposed of in the best mode that could be devised, and brought thus into a compact form. A mere enumeration of the titles must suffice to show their respective character. There is, however, contained in them an abundant harvest of interesting and curious matter, deserving the attention of the philosopher and physician.
GALENI LIBER DE HISTORIA PHILOSOPHICA.
of the history of philosophy.
j. m. rota, translator.
This is very interesting. It begins with an account of the origin of philosophy, both moral and natural, prior to Socrates, the succession of the philosophers, sects, denominations, &c. &c. Metaphysics are largely dwelt on. God, the soul, necessity, fate, and an infinite number of topics of much interest, are successively considered. It would exhibit a curious outline of the different ideas of the philosophers of successive ages to the time of Galen, if clothed in a modern language!
PROGNOSTICA DE INFIRMORUM DECUBITU, EX MATHEMATICA SCIENTIA.
mathematical prognostics on the decubitus of the sick.
This is a most singular production, and probably was highly instrumental in introducing astrology into medicine. Under the name of mathematics, which is here highly extolled, astrology seems to be intended; and its utility to medicine is insisted on, from the authority of Hippocrates and Diocles. The figure (configuratio) of the moon is run through all the signs of the Zodiac, and the effects in disease, &c., largely enumerated and predicted.
GALENI, DE PARTIBUS ARTIS MEDICÆ.
of the divisions of medicine.
n. r. calabri, translator.
The divisions of the science as made by different men, are enumerated and criticised; after which the author gives his own. The translator says of this book, “Qui nisi Galeni fuerit, eo tamen auctore dignus videtur.”
GALENO ATTRIBUTUS LIBER DE DYNAMIDIIS.
GALENO ATTRIBUTUS LIBER ALTER DE DYNAMIDIIS.
What is spoken of in the first of these tracts, is stated to be more fully detailed “In libris facultatum medicamentorum simplicium.” The greater part of the latter is said to be derived from Aetius. The term dynamis seems to imply, that the treatise is a store-house or assemblage of remedial means, and which are here noticed.
GALENO ASCRIPTUS LIBER DE SPERMATE.
on the seed.
This treats of the male and female seed, and of its product the fœtus; with the influence of the seed, as to the greater or less amount of either, in determining the sex and its qualities, &c., according as conception is produced under the influence of the sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic or other temperament; or as connected with the state of the humours of the body, of the heavenly bodies, planets, &c. Some remarks appear to be connected with the planetary influence on disease, &c.
DE NATURA ET ORDINE CUJUSLIBET CORPORIS.
Treats of the nature and effects of the four humours constituting the body of man. Of the fœtus in utero, in the disposition of its formation. A slight sketch is given of the anatomical structure of man. The book is correctly said to be “ordine et judicio carens.”
DE ANATOMIA PARVA. ASCRIPTUS GALENO.
on comparative anatomy.
This assigns some reason for Galen and others dissecting brutes. It points out the mode, and gives the anatomy of the hog, which in its internal structure is said to be closely allied to that of man. A most ridiculous description is given of the anatomy of the uterus and of the brain. The book is properly stated to be “maxime deridendus.”
DE ANATOMIA VIVORUM.
of the anatomy of living subjects.
The body is divided into simple and compound parts, which are respectively treated in detail. The book is said to contain much that is correct and worthy of Galen, but much also that is the reverse of this.
DE ANATOMIA OCULORUM.
of the anatomy of the eyes.
n. regius, translator.
A concise description of these organs, their coats, humours, &c.
DE COMPAGINE MEMBRORUM, SIVE DE NATURA HUMANA.
“Aliqua et hic vera, aliqua deridenda,” says the editor. The book is partly anatomical, in part physiological. We have here a speck of phrenological location of the admitted faculties of the mind, when speaking of the brain and its division of parts. “Intra quam sunt divisiones tres, prima dicitur phantasia: secunda rationalis: tertia memorialis. Inter phantasiam et rationalem est pannus quidam frigidus et siccus,” &c., &c.—“Ex memoriali vero procedunt duo canales tenues et humidi, qui penetrant per totam compaginem, et veniunt usque ad phantasiæ cellulam, per quos possit phantasticus spiritus et rationalis commendari memoriæ, et iterum memorialis duci ad rationem et phantasiam.” The faculties, it would appear, then belonged to the peripatetic school! and were not permanently attached to one habitation.
DE VIRTUTIBUS NOSTRUM CORPUS DISPENSANTIBUS.
“Ex veris Galeni libris fragmentum,” says the editor.
The powers or faculties (virtutes) have their origin in three sources, viz., the heart, the head, and the liver;—the influence or effects arising therefrom. Animal and vital spirits. Generation is under the influence of all three.
DE VOCE ET ANHELITU. TRACTATUS QUATUOR.
Of the voice and the organs producing it. How effected, impeded or lost. Diversity of, in gravity, or acuteness, &c. Injuries of the medulla spinalis, how affecting the voice and breathing. Natural breathing, if voluntary.
DE UTILITATE RESPIRATIONIS.
Many of the things in this book, the editor says, are correct, but for the most part are taken from Aristotle. The consideration is interesting, from the facts and speculations found in it.
“Liber jejunus, sed non omnino rejiciendus,” says the editor.
DE MOTIBUS MANIFESTIS ET OBSCURIS.
This treatise attributed to Galen, is stated to have been translated from the Greek into Arabic by Johannitius; and from the Arabic into Latin, by Marcus. By such repeated translations, several errors have been introduced. Galen mentions this book in several places; nor is it undeserving of attention. It may afford a slight idea of its contents to state that in ten short chapters the following subjects are embraced. Of the faculty or power of motion in different parts, its causes, &c. Of the motion in respiration, and of the difference of opinion as to its being voluntary or involuntary. A comparison drawn between such involuntary, or non-manifest motions, and the intestine motion of some fluids, &c.; of the motion of the penis; of the tongue; of the motions of vomiting and swallowing; of the motion of the eyelids; of the motions excited in coughing, laughing, and sneezing, &c.
DE DISSOLUTIONE CONTINUA CORPORIS HUMANI.
Many parts of this treatise are derived from Galen’s books, “De alimentis et cibis boni et mali succi,” and it is supposed to have been written by some one long after him. It consists principally of a statement of the nature of the food, with which the body is supplied, to make up the deficiences arising from the discharges.
DE AQUIS, EX GALENO, ET ALIIS PRÆSTANTISSIMIS MEDICIS.
a. gadaldinus, translator.
The Venice eighth edition says that this book is entitled in the previous editions “De Bonitate Aquæ,” and is greatly mutilated. It here consists of six chapters, derived from Oribasius, who has extracted them from different sources, as Galen, Rufus, Diocles, Athenæus, &c.
DE VINIS. EX GALENO.
a. gadaldinus, translator.
From the medical tracts of Oribasius.
PRÆSAGIUM EXPERIENTIA CONFIRMATUM.
g. valla, translator.
An imitation of some of Galen’s books, but trifling in execution. It treats of præsages, in general, and of the signs indicative of future fever. Something is said on sweat, and bloodletting, on which last, evidence of bold and energetic practice is apparent, and is extracted from Galen.
DE URINÆ SIGNIFICATIONE, EX HIPPOCRATE.
g. valla, translator.
DE SIMPLICIBUS MEDICAMINIBUS.
A short description of a long catalogue of remedies, addressed to a friend, whose diligence and skill he warmly praises. They are arranged in alphabetic order. It will serve for reference.
DE VIRTUTE CENTAUREÆ.
A book, says the editor, which though probably not from Galen, yet much is to be found in it not devoid of reason. It contains an account of two species of centaury, their powers, preparation, and use in disease.
An incorrect (corruptus) book, says the editor, and to be cautiously compared with the true writings of Galen. Cathartics are here intended to apply to other evacuants than mere purgatives. In this book are therefore considered, not only such, but those also that cause vomition, a discharge of tears, or from the ears, nostrils, lungs, and thorax, liver, spleen, kidneys, and uterus, &c. Some useful hints may be derived from its perusal.
DE GYNÆCEIS, ID EST, DE PASSIONIBUS MULIERUM.
n. rhegius, translator.
A trifling treatise according to the editor. It consists of various prescriptions, for numerous female affections.
addressed to monteus.
Although these secrets are not from Galen, yet, says the editor, something may be derived from their perusal. They consist of prescriptions, with an occasional record of some case in point, somewhat as a puff direct. An ingenious quack might here find arrows for his quiver! as well as advertisements for the public. Some of the prescriptions have so many ingredients, that the disease must be fastidious, that could not pick out some one for its benefit.
DE MEDICINIS EXPERTIS, VEL MEDICINALIS EXPERIMENTATIO.
This is rather a singular treatise, and may possibly be correctly ascribed to Galen, judging from its beginning. “The lightning, says the author, which struck the altar, burnt up the King’s books, and together with them, many medical works; many books of my own were destroyed, some of them complete, and some merely commenced. I do not so much regret them, as I do the loss of many experiments in medicine contained in them, which I had obtained from several excellent experimenters; for some of which thus obtained, I returned perhaps several, or purchased them for cash.” It would seem, however, that copies must have been kept of many of them, for at the close of the preface, we are told that he composed this book, from medicines he had himself tried, and acquired from good physicians; and adds, that here are to be found not the remedies of universal note, but such, as for the most part were unknown to all. “If hereafter I acquire more, I will write another book respecting them.” He then proceeds to give prescriptions for these remedies, received from sundry Empirics, and other physicians and philosophers, whose names are stated; concluding with some, which “multoties experti sumus.” The whole is a curious farrago, and as a curiosity may deserve inspection.
DE MELANCHOLIA, EX GALENO, RUFO, ET POSSIDONIO, AB AETIOa CONSCRIPTA.
j. cornario, translator.
This disease seems to have had as many vagaries formerly, as at present, and to have been equally difficult of cure. The rationale of some of these vagaries is attempted, such as of those who considered themselves to be an earthen pipkin, (vas fictile.) Another who thought he had no head.b The observations are in many parts judicious; and the treatment is perhaps fully as correct as any now pursued.
DE CURA ICTERI.
Much herein, says the editor, is true, and derived from high authority. Phlebotomy and evacuations both up and down, with topical applications are urged, such as cataplasms, cups, &c. Baths, diet, &c., are not omitted, and various medicines are enumerated for particular indications.
DE CURA LAPIDIS.
If judiciously perused, says the editor, something useful may be obtained. The treatise is regarded as of Arabian origin. Much utility is ascribed to diet and certain remedies in destroying the stone; and several prescriptions are interspersed, most of which seem to be of the order of diuretics. Some directions are given for the cure of incontinence of urine.
QUÆSITA ASCRIPTA GALENO, IN HIPPOC. DE URINIS.
These appear to be inquiries (to be pursued) as to certain points on the subject of urine in the Prognostics and Aphorisms of Hippocrates.
LIBER DE HUMORIBUS.
a. gadaldinus, translator.
Probably short minutes of the larger treatise on this subject, under class third. Of little importance. Not found in the Basil edition.
DE PLANTIS. TRANSLATUS DE ARABICO.
This appears to be a glossary of Humain, an Arabian, on several plants, &c., mentioned by Galen, possessing certain occult qualities, not fully investigated or proved, and which Humain undertakes to explain and illustrate under forty-six heads.—Not in the Basil edition.
DE CLYSTERIBUS ET COLICA.
This would seem to be also from the hand of Humain, and is stated to have been translated into Arabic from the Greek, and from the Arabic into Hebrew: the Latin Translator is not mentioned. Some good remarks occur as to glysters, and numerous prescriptions, adapted to various ends, especially in cases of colic.
With this, the Libri Spurii terminate, and a short series called Fragments, bring the writings of Galen to a conclusion. These are merely enumerated. They do not appear in the Basil edition.
Galeni, operum quorundam, quæ aliquo modo mutilata ad nos pervenere, Fragmenta, ad varias medicinæ partes attinentia, quæ proximæ tantum ante hanc editiones evulgaverant.—Ven. Ed. 1609.
All the above are of slight importance, further than as completing from every quarter all that relates to Galen and his works. The whole of the writings thus noticed briefly in the foregoing sheets, occupy several hundred folio pages, spread through six or seven volumes in the Latin, and five in the Greek. A new edition in the present style of typography had been long wanting,a for numerous difficulties attend the perusal of the older copies, and are sufficient in the present day to preclude most persons from making the attempt. A few of these I shall notice. They consist of numerous contractions, omission of complete syllables, and often of the hyphen at the close of a line, in the division of the syllables of a word. The extreme closeness of many words to each other, at times nearly running into one another, as though but one. The use of one letter for another, as j in place of i, (thus ijs for iis, v for u, and reversely.) Of which the following are examples.
All these, and many others—together with a want of stops at times; at others, a full stop, followed by a small letter—render the reading very far from desirable. In the days of those editions, such contractions and other particulars enumerated, were fully understood, and were productive of neither mistake nor difficulty. Not so now, especially since the Latin language has become much less familiar. Now, these are not of merely rare occurrence; but occur by scores in every page, and as they are not uniformly maintained, the labour is much augmented.
At the end of Le Clerc’s “Histoire de la Médecine,” he has given us an apology for the condensed view he has afforded of the writings of Galen, which will serve with equal force in behalf of the editor of this volume; and which the editor begs to place before his readers with a like intention.
“Si l’on avoit voulu entrer dans un détail qui eût renfermé tout cela, il auroit fallu faire un gros livre; à moins de quoi il auroit été impossible de rendre exactement raison de tout ce qu’il y a de remarquable dans six volumes in folio que nous avons de Galien.”
This apology is followed by a list of the writings of Galen, derived from the edition given by Chartier, the most full and perfect of any edition that had been given to the world previous to that of Kühns. It may not be unacceptable to the reader, and I give it therefore as it appears in Le Clerc.—Ed.
Liste des Livres de Galien, tirée de l’édition de Chartier.
La lettre L, qui est ajoutée à la fin de quelques-uns des titres des livres de Galien, marque que ces livres ne se trouvent qu’en Latin. Monsieur Chartier donne une autre liste des livres de Galien, qu’on n’a plus ni en Grec ni en Latin, ou qui sont cachez dans quelques Bibliotheques, & qui ne sont connus que par le titre. La plus grande partie de ces livres ne regardent pas la Médecine.
Kühn, in the preface to his edition of Galen, has exhibited a determination, that could alone have enabled him to undertake and complete a task so herculean. He presumes that many, on seeing the first volume of the work, will accuse him of temerity, considering its magnitude and the uncertainty of life, &c., yet still he could not be deterred from it, but was incited more courageously (acrius) to continue the work, in hopes that even should he not live to effect it, it would still be happily accomplished. After full deliberation on the subject, he adds his hopes that no one who knows him will accuse him of levity in not sufficiently weighing the difficulty of the task, or taking into consideration his unfitness to bear such a burden as he assigned to himself. He nobly, in determining to fulfil it, thus expresses himself:
“Cæsarem igitur imitatus, qui cum ad Rubiconem dubius, an flumen trajiceret, nec ne, aliquamdiu stetisset, subito exclamans. Jacta alea esto! exercitum Rubiconem transire jussit, bono animo hujus editionis curandæ laborem aggressus sum.”
He proceeds then to consider the imperfections of preceding editions, arising from the ignorance of transcribers, and want of care in obviating errors in manuscripts, &c.—that at the beginning of the sixteenth century, the number was so great, that the life of a man would have been inadequate, though daily employed, to compare them with the text of the Basil or Charterian copies. Other difficulties are enumerated, which not being able to overcome fully, he accomplished what was in his power, by consulting all the editions he could obtain the use of; a list of which he enumerates, animadverting on the defects of many, and acknowledging his obligations to several friends for aid in his researches, and hoping his undertaking may be happily brought to a completion.
After this preface, he proceeds to give the literary history of Galen, embraced in nearly two hundred and fifty pages. Of this I give the catalogue of the writings, which is more extended than those I have already introduced; but it appears so much more perfect, owing to additional discoveries, that I feel assured it will not be unacceptable to the Profession at large.
HISTORIA LITERARIA CLAUDII GALENI.
I. Vita Galeni.
II. Galeni in medicinalem scientiam merita generatim.
III. Medicinæ status iis temporibus, quibus Galenus universam ejus scientiam mutabat.
IV. Quid in singulis medicinalis scientiæ disciplinis invenerit Galenus rectiusque dixerit.
V. Systema Galeni medicum.
VI. Libri a Galeno conscripti. Eorum ratio.
VII. Classes, ordo librorum Galeni.
VIII. Institutum in ordine librorum Galeni a me servatum.
IX. Singulorum librorum Galeni, et quidem genuinorum, recensio.
1. De sectis ad eos, qui introducuntur.
2. De optima secta ad Thrasybulum.
3. De optima doctrina.
4. De sophismatis seu captionibus penes dictionem.
5. Quod optimus medicus sit quoque philosophus.
6. Suasoria ad artes oratio.
7. De constitutione artis medicæ ad Patrophilum.
8. De elementis ex Hippocrate lib. ii.
9. De temperamentis libri iii.
10. De atra bile.
11. De inæquali intemperie.
12. De optima corporis nostri constitutione.
13. De bono habitu.
14. De facultatibus naturelibus, lib. iii.
15. De substantia facultatum naturalium.
16. De anatomicis administrationibus libri ix.
17. De ossibus ad tirones.
18. De venarum arteriarumque dissectione.
19. De nervorum dissectione.
20. De musculorum dissectione.
21. De uteri dissectione.
22. An in arteriis natura sanguis contineatur.
23. De motu musculorum libri ii.
24. Vocalium instrumentorum dissectio.
25. De caussis respirationis.
26. De Hippocratis et Platonis decretis, libri ix.
27. Fragmentum in Timæum Platonis, vel ex iv. commentariis, quos inscripsit: De iis, quæ medice dicta sunt in Platonis Timæo.
28. De semine libri ii.
29. De usu partium corporis humani lib. xvii.
30. De instrumento odoratus.
31. De locis adfectis libri vi.
32. De differentiis febrium libri ii.
33. De morborum temporibus.
34. De respirationis usu.
35. De usu pulsuum.
36. De pulsibus libellus ad tirones.
37. De pulsuum differentiis libri iv.
38. De dignoscendis pulsibus libri iv.
39. De caussis pulsuum libri iv.
40. De præsagitione ex pulsibus libri iv.
41. Synopsis librorum suorum xvi. de pulsibus.
42. De diebus decretoriis libri iii.
43. De crisibus libri iii.
44. De difficultate respirationis libri iii.
45. De caussis procatarcticis.
46. De plenitudine.
47. De tumoribus præter naturam.
48. De tremore, palpitatione, convulsione et rigore.
49. De simplicium medicamentorum temperamentis et facultatibus libri xi.
50. Ars medica.
51. De differentiis morborum.
52. De morborum caussis.
53. De differentia symptomatum, libri iii.
54. De compositione medicamentorum secundum locos libri x.
55. De compositione medicamentorum secundum genera libri vii.
56. Methodus medendi libri xiv.
57. Ad Glauconem de medendi methodo libri ii.
58. De venæsectione adrersus Erasistratum.
59. De venæsectione adrersus Erasistrateos Romæ degentes.
60. De curandi ratione per venæsectionem.
61. De marasme.
62. Pro puero epileptice consilium.
63. Ad Thrasybulum liber, utrum medicinæ sit, vel gymnastices hygieine.
64. De attenuante victus ratione.
65. De menda sanitate libri vi.
66. De alimentorum facultatibus libri iii.
67. De probis pravisque alimentorum succis.
68. Quod animi mores corporis temperamenta sequantur.
69. Linguarum, seu dictionum exoletarum Hippocratis explicatio.
70. De septimestri partu.
71. De libris propriis.
72. De ordine librorum suorum ad Eugenianum.
73. De Ptisana.
74. De parvæ pilæ exercitio.
75. De hirudinibus, revulsione, cucurbitula, incisione et scarificatione.
76. Quomodo morbum simulantes sint deprehendendi.
77. De dignotione ex insomniis.
78. De propriorum animi eujusque adfectuum dignotione et curatione.
79. De cujuslibet animi peecatorum dignotione atque medela.
80. De prænotione ad Epigenem.
81. De antidotis libri ii.
82. De fætunm formatione.
X. Libri suspectæ originis.
83. Introductio s. medicus.
84. De subfiguratione empirica.
85. De voce et anhelitu.
86. De respirationis usu.
87. An animal sit, quod in utero est.
88. An omnes partes animalis, quod procreatur, fiant simul.
89. De consuetudinibus.
90. De motu thoracis et pulmonis.
91. De totius morbi temporibus.
92. De typis.
93. Adversus eos, qui de typis scripserunt.
94. De comate secondum Hippocratem.
95. De victus retione in morbis acutis ex Hippocratis sententia.
96. De purgantium medicamentorum facultate.
97. De remediis paratu facilibus libri iii.
98. De theriaca ad Pisonem.
99. De theriaca ad Pamphilianum.
100. De fasciia.
XI. Libri manifeste spurii.
101. De historia philosophica.
102. Definitiones medicæ.
103. De partibus artis medicæ.
104. De anatomia vivorum.
105. De compage membrorum sive de natura humana.
106. De natura et ordine cujuslibet corporis.
107. Quod qualitates incorporeæ sint.
108. De motibus manifestis et obscuris.
109. De facultatibus corpus nostrum dispensantibus.
110. De dissolutione continua, a. de alimentorum facultatibus.
111. Præceptum de humani corporis constitutione, de diæta quatuor anni tempestatum et duodecim mensium.
112. De humoribus.
113. De prænotione.
114. Omnino vera expertaque præsagitio.
115. De venæsectione.
116. Prognostica de decubitu ex mathematica scientia.
117. De urinis.
118. De urinis compendium.
119. De urinis ex Hippocrate, Galeno et aliis quibusdam.
120. Quæsita in Hippocratem de urinis.
121. De pulsibus ad Antoninum.
122. Compendium pulsuum.
123. De adfectuum renibus insidentium dignotione et curatione.
124. De colico dolore.
125. Introductorius liber, varias morborum curas complectens.
126. De cura icteri.
127. De melancholia ex Galeno, Rufo, et Marcello Sicamii Aëtii libellus.
128. De oculis.
129. De pica, vitioso appetitu.
130. De gynæesis.
131. De oura lapidis.
132. Liber secretorum ad Monteum.
133. De medicinia arpertia.
134. De incantatione, adjuratione et suspensione.
135. Fragmentum libri de dunamidiis.
136. Liber secundus de dunamidiis.
137. De penderibus et mensuria.
138. De succedaneis.
139. De simplicibus medicamentis.
140. De plantis.
141. De virtutibus centaureæ
142. De clysteribus.
143. De catharticis.
144. De peste.
1. De aquis.
2. De vinis.
3. De vinis.
4. De pane.
5. De aquarum natura et de balneis.
6. Sermo adversus empiricos medicos.
7. De morsu, qui in ægritudine precipitur.
8. De venereis.
9. Ex libris de demonstratione.
10. Ex commentariis Simplicii.
11. Ex Averroe.
12. Galeni notæ in Hippocratem e Stobæo.
13. Fragmenta ex Nemesio.
14. Ex Themistio.
15. Ex Michaele Ephesio.
16. Ex Moyse Maimonide.
17. Ex Rhase.
18. Quos, quibus purgantibus medicamentis et quando purgare oporteat.
19. Fragmentum de Homerica medicatione.
XIII. Commentarii Galeni in Hippocratis libros.
1. In Librum Hippocratis de natura humana commentarii ii.
2. In Hippocratem de nalubri diætæ ratione privatorum.
3. In Hippocratem de nere, aquis et locis commentarii iii.
4. In Hippocratem de alimento commentarii iv.
5. In Hippocratem de humoribus commentarii iii.
6. In Hippocratis prognosticon commentarii iii.
7. In Hippocr. prædictionum libr. i. commentarii iii.
8. In Hippocr. de morb. popular. libr. i. commentarii iii.
9. In Hippocr. de morb. popul. libr. ii. comment.
10. In Hippocr. de morb. popul. libr. iii. commentarii iii.
11. In Hippocr. de morb. popul. libr. vi. comment. vi.
12. In Hippocr. aphorism. lib. vii. comment vii.
13. Galeni adversus Lycum liber.
14. Galeni contra ea, quæ a Juliano in aph. Hippocr. dicta sunt.
15. In Hippocr. de diæta acutor. libr. comment. iv.
16. In Hippocr. de officina medici librum comment. iii.
17. In Hippocr. libr. de fracturis comment. iii.
18. In Hippocr. libr. de articulis comment iv.
XIV. Libri, qui sub Galeni nomine in bibliothecis latent, nondum typis exeusi.
XV. Libri Galeni medicinales, qui interierunt.
XVI. Libri Galeni, ad alias disciplinas pertinentes, deperditi.
XVII. Codices MSS. operum Galeni omnium, aut librorum plurium Græci et Latini.
XVIII. Editiones operum Galeni omnium, Græcæ, Græco-Latinæ, Latinæ.
XIX. Collectiones librorum Galeni, at non omnium, Græcæ, Græco-Latinæ, et Latinæ.
XX. Galenus in epitomen redactus. Specula Galeni, Theatrum, Indices.
XXI. Index auctorum, qui Galeno edendo, interpretando, illustrando operam dederunt. Commentarii in plures Galeni libros.
XXII. Libri, in quibus Galenus defenditur, confutatur, in quibus loca quædam Galeni explicantur.
XXIII. Editiones operum Galeni, Græcæ, Græco-Latinæ et Latinæ, quæ lucem non viderunt.
Having brought to a termination the proposed epitome of the writings of Hippocrates and Galen, it is respectfully offered to the Medical Profession, with a fervent desire that it may awaken an interest in favour of our Great Predecessors, and eventually lead to a full and complete translation of their works. Should such prove to be the case, my warmest wishes will be gratified.
John Redman Coxe.
Philadelphia, September 16th, 1846.
[a ]Here we see the first dogmas of exclusive Solidism! A more absurd doctrine never found a place in medical science, with, perhaps, the exception of one founded on it in a great measure, that of sympathy, pushed to the extreme that it has been in the present day!
[a ]Bas. ed. p. 163.
[a ]“Quibus si unum etiam addidero, quod è corporum dissectione colligimus, finem dicendi faciam; est autem id quod dicimus, ejusmodi; arteriam unam è magnis et conspicuis quampiam nudabis, primoque pelle remota ipsam ab adjacenti suppositoq: corpore tandiu separare non graveris, quoad funiculum circumdare valeas: deinde secundum longitudinem arteriam incide, colamumque et concavum et pervium in foramen intrude, vel æneam aliquam fistulam, quò et vulnus obturetur, et sanguis exilire non possit; quoadusque sic se arteriam habere conspicies, ipsam totam pulsare videbis. Cum primum vero obductum laqueum contrahens, arteriæ tunicas calamo obstrinxeris non amplius arteriam ultra laqueum palpitare videbis,” &c.
[a ]Antoninus was born ad 121, and reigned from 161 to 180, dying at fifty-nine years.
[b ]Reference is elsewhere made, by Galen, (de Compos. Medic. per genera,) to this same event; and Justus Lipsius notices the occurrence as follows, in his treatise “de Magnitudine Romana,” Lib. 3, chap. 6, p. 139, 3d ed.: Plantin. Antuerpiæ, 1605, 4to. It is of the celebrated Temple of Peace he speaks—which was larger than the Capitol itself—and in it the most choice and richest deposits were placed, the spoils of a conquered world—such as the golden vessels of the Jewish Temple, &c. &c.
[a ]“Quoniam igitur corporis forma ossibus assimilatur, et his aliarum partium natura respondet, velim te imprimis exactam humanorum ossium cognitionem peritiamque indipisci, non obiter ca spectare, neque etiam ex libris solum discere,” &c., Bas. ed. p. 228. And further on: “Hoc autem sit opus tuum, hoc studium, ut non librorum modo lectura, verum sedula etiam inspectione, fideque oculata, cujusque ossis humani speciem accurate perdiscas,” &c.
[b ]What has been stated both for and against Galen’s anatomy of the human subject, is given pretty fully in Le Clerc.
[a ]By the inscription around the portrait of Piccolhominus, he died at the age of sixty; so that he was nearly contemporary with Vesalius.
[a ]Among others, by Swedenborg, in his Regnum Animale.
[a ]“Quemadmodum pulsans ipsum viscus, cor omnes appellant; sic etiam vasa singula pulsantia, arterias nuncupant. Alias autem omnes arterias, quotquot toto insunt corpore, sensu pulsantes dignoscere nullius est negocii, et omnium ipsarum cum majore arteria continuitas, idem hoc indicat. Verum in pulmone pulsantes sensu admodum evidenter deprehendere nemo potest; verum inde, quod sinistro ventriculo sint continuæ, conjecturam aliquis fecerit. Et si quidam non conjecturam solum, vel probabilem spem, sed certam functionis ipsarum scientiam habere arbitrantur, non tamen eodem modo utrique, quoniam ne ab eisdem quidem opinionibus omnino auspicantur,” &c. &c.—(Frob. 351;—Ven. chap. iv.)
[a ]A heart outside of the chest.—The Baltimore Sun contains the following account of the birth of a living child, with its heart outside of the chest, which was noticed in our Baltimore letter yesterday. The heart is entirely outside of the body, and destitute of any pericardium; thus even without this natural protection it is protruded from the external surface of the chest, which at that point bears a mark resembling a cicatrix, as if the flesh had been opened, the heart pulled out, and the wound suffered to grow up again. Each pulsation, of course, can be distinctly observed, and the whole natural action of this delicate organ is made visible to the immediate investigation of the eye. This remarkable phenomenon in the history of human nature is an absolute and indisputable fact, however unlikely it is to meet with credibility on the part of the public.—Ledger, June, 1846.
[a ]“Discovery of the six missing books of Galen’s principal anatomical work.—We have the following from a learned and much-esteemed correspondent. We beg to direct the particular attention of the Sydenham Society to the discovery.—Lond. Med. Gazette, Dec. 1844, p. 329.
[a ]The treatise on the Hand, by Sir Charles Bell, much as it has been admired, is, in my opinion, infinitely inferior to these books of Galen on the same subject. Indeed his best parts may be regarded as abstracted from those of Galen, clothed in the language of the present age.—Ed.
[a ]“In toto corpore mutua est anastomosis, atque oscillorum apertio arteriis simul et venis; transumuntque ex sese pariter sanguinem et spiritum per invisibiles quasdam atque angustas plane vias,” &c.
[b ]Inquiry into the Claims of Dr. Wm. Harvey to the Discovery of the Circulation of the Blood. Philadelphia, 1834.
[a ]Chap. ix. pp. 569, 575; chap. xii. p. 571; chap. xiii. p. 572; chap. xvii. p. 580; &c.
[b ]“Orificiorum arteriarum ad venas apertiones non sine causa neque frustra paravit natura, sed ut respirationis ac pulsuum utilitas non cordi soli atque arteriis, sed cum eis, venis etiam distriburetur.”
[a ]What, really and truly, did Harvey discover and demonstrate as exclusively his own? Surely his admirers and advocates, can immediately place their finger thereto, or they have read him to little purpose! And I challenge them to the direct proof of any part belonging to him. I fear, however, they may have exhausted their praise and adulation on Harvey—and looked over his writings, whilst they have grossly overlooked the immortal pages of Galen! The full translation of this sixth book alone, would appear adequate to every unprejudiced reader to strip the laurels from the brow of Harvey.
[a ]P.841. “Diximus etiam et de vasis quæ ad mammas et testes ferantur, dum communiter et de venis et arteriis ageremus, que utræque communem usum haberent. Pari modo et cum de arteriis ageremus, de venis diximus quæ ad manus perveniunt, quod communis utrarumque sit ratio,” &c.
[b ]This was written before it was known that a discovery had been made of these lost books, as stated in the note at p. 519; and as I have as yet seen no further evidence of the truth of this, I feel no disposition to expunge it.
[a ]It was not until the year 1776, that Dr. Priestley, in the sixty-sixth volume of the London Philosophical Transactions, attempted an explanation of what took place in the process of respiration, by affirming the discharge of phlogiston, at that time a ruling principle in chemistry. In the following year, Lavoisier read, at the sitting of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Paris, his views of the decomposition of the air in the lungs, to the following effect, viz.: “that it appears that our lungs absorb precisely that portion of atmospheric air, which combines with the metals in calcination; the residue of that air thus decomposed, has different properties, and though always elastic, it can no longer subserve the purpose of respiration.” Seventy years are scarcely passed, and we now no longer admit of phlogiston, nor of the absorption of the air by the lungs. The use of respiration is now considered as being essential to the conversion of the carbon of the venous blood into carbonic acid gas, by which abstraction, the venous is restored to its arterial character:—and this effect, mutato nomine, is precisely the explanation given by Galen more than fifteen hundred years ago.
[a ]“Holy Scripture containeth all thingi necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought necessary or requisite to salvation.”—Sixth Art. of Religion of the Protestant Episcopal Church.
[a ]“Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; and in thy book were all my members written;
[a ]“Nil melius turdo, nil vulva pulchrius ampla.”—Hor.
[a ]Ptisana—a decoction of pearl barley, raisins, and liquorice.
[a ]Subsidium—aid, or help.
[a ]“Ideirco inquit, oportet in tuis istis honestatis sapientiæque præceptis, ne minimam ne quidam discrepantiam inveniri, qua ipsa à se ipsis discordent: quemadmodum veteres quoque omnes in hisce artibus servavere, quarum geometria, arithmeticaque principem obtinet locum. Ut igitur non procacem aut præcipitem esse oportet, ut teipsum ab aliqua secta denomines, sed longissimi temporis spatio et discere illas, et de illis ferre judicium, sic omnes hominus comprobant, confitenturque etiam philosophi, magno studio quærenda esse hæc: quare nunc jam tibi ea sunt petenda æmulatione quadam, et discenda, et digna quæ a te augeantur existimanda, ut et justitiam, et modestiam, et animi magnitudenem, et prudentiam ex illis consequare. Laudant enim has virtutes cuncti, tametsi sibi ipsis conscii sunt, nullam se habere: dant etiam operam pro viribus ut aliis videantur et fortes et modesti, et justi et prudentes: unum illud est quod et si aliis non videantur, tamen revera esse ipsi magno studio contendunt ut mœroris videlicet omnis ac tristitiæ expertes sint; quare huic à te rei in primis studendum est, cui omnes utique homines student, præque omnibus aliis virtutibus unum hoe quærendum.”
[a ]Forestalling a similar doctrine of present date, though with more moderation; and which might have been perhaps duly appreciated by an acquaintance with the writings of Galen.
[a ]Dyscrasia—δυϛϰραϛια—significat intemperies; et opponitur temperamento, sive ϰραϛει,—est autem intemperies duplex; alia sanitatis, alia morborum, &c.—Castelli Lexicon.
[a ]“Plethora, πληϑωρα; Lat. plenitudo, multitudo, copia. Accipitur communiter in foro medico pro humorum omnium abundantia; quamvis minus accurate; cum hac ratione a cacochymia non recte possit distingui. Plethora igitur proprie sanguinis redundantiam significat,” &c.—Castelli Lexicon.
[a ]The lungs are equally entitled to the strictest attention, and it is extraordinary that Galen should have overlooked them here. “Aliquando dormitat.”
[a ]Procatarctica—προϰαταρϰω—antegredior, præincipiens—est causa morborum præexistens, vel præ-incipiens, una cum aliis agens, unde primo morbus producitur.—Blancard’s Lexicon.
[a ]It may be here remarked, as of some interest, that in this book, Galen evidences his acquaintance with the writings of both the Old and the New Testament. He is speaking of the difficulty of divesting one’self of sectarianism in medicine, and repeats from some writer,
[a ]Rhythmus—ρυθμος—proportio pulsuum prioris cum subsequentibus. Castelli, Lexicon.
[a ]Refutation of Harvey’s claims.
[a ]Which are chiefly the mere excrementitious parts of the food taken in; is it possible that the urine coming by secretion from the interior of the system, can be justly neglected?
[b ]Water doctors.—It is well known that within a very few years, some European practitioners acquired large sums by prescribing after simply inspecting the urine of their patient, by which they became fully acquainted with his disorder;—hence their common appellation was that of water doctors. At present our intention in adverting to the fact is merely to introduce a jeu d’esprit, applied, it would seem, to the celebrated Doctors Mead and Sloane. Whether either of those gentlemen, in their examination of the urine, went further than mere inspection, as was mostly the case, we know not. It is, however, a good hit—and ought not to be lost;—we can join in a laugh on the profession, although members of it; for we well know it is often well deserved. It does not, however, at all diminish our respect for the science, nor for those great and able members who have helped to rescue it from that general ridicule bestowed on it by Le Sage, Quevedo and others, but which might have been legitimately and advantageously administered in particular cases. “an old woman’s fun; or, the doctors outwitted.
[a ]A principal advantage of homœopathic practice consists in their “infinitesimal” doses;—for assuredly, if they do no good, they at least can do no harm; which is more than can be said of the large and repeated doses of the most powerful remedies in the allopathic practice. Nature being, after all, the real practitioner in the human system, she is less liable to be disturbed in her operations by homœopathy; whilst she is too often entirely put out of her way, by the ill-judged, and ill-timed practice of those who view her in the light of a servant, whose province it is implicitly to obey the extravagances of theoretic practice, in which they have been indoctrinated.
[a ]Perhaps but little use can be made of these books, or of those that succeed, amid the infinite changes of pharmacy and chemistry. They will at any rate serve to point out the groundwork of several of our present preparations, and to present to the Profession, proof of the indefatigable industry of their illustrious author.
[b ]Vide “de Anatom. Administ. Lib. 1.”
[a ]Οργανα εις ϰλινιϰην.
[a ]It may be here added, the carelessness of physicians too often in writing their prescriptions so illegibly that mistakes are not unfrequent; committed, as they not uncommonly are, to some ignorant assistant. We have heard of death from the mistake of aqua fortis for aqua fontis, and others of a similar description; and we have lately seen a “Correction” publicly given, calling on the proprietors of a medical formulary to correct a typographical error as respected the symbol of quantity in so highly dangerous an article as prussic acid, in which an ounce (Ʒi.) is prescribed instead of a drachm (Ʒi.) Typographical or not, the proof reader and the printer are both reprehensible, and should not have the charge of a publication, in which the lives of the community may be said to be hazarded.
[b ]“Cotyla Attica, pendet uncias novem, ut Hemina Italica. Cotyla Italica vero est libra mensuralis unciafum xii.” Blancard’s Lexicon.
[a ]Our medical works (with few exceptions) of the present period, are dull repetitions of some earlier author; enriched with a few scattered notes, “to make up a show.”—a “repetatur haustus” of professional dexterity.
[a ]Το αφοριϛτιϰον.
[a ]Τα Νοθα.
[a ]Lib. 6. cap 9.
[b ]And girls turned bottles, call aloud for corks.”—Pope.
[a ]This has been effected by the assiduity of the learned Gottlob Kühn, Professor of Physiology and Pathology in the University of Leipsic, in 1832, but whose edition did not come into my possession, until the preceding abstract was completed. It would have saved me much trouble had it reached me at the period of its publication.