I mentioned before that I was going to be taking a class from Professor Dannu Hutwohl on Love in Ancient Literature. (Spring Semester class!)
But that’s not happening, for several reasons: the class is full; it’s an honors class and I’m not an honors student; and it will be meeting in-person. I don’t want to be going to class with a bunch of college students during the pandemic.
So, sadly, I told Dannu that I won’t be in his class after all.
Instead, I’m going to sign up for a class at Ohio State that I’ve mentioned before (Folklore class for Fall Semester, I hope!).
It’s a class on Medicine in Antiquity, offered by Professor Julia Hawkins, also of the Classics Department. Due to the pandemic, it will be offered online for Spring Semester 2021.
Here is one of our textbooks, which focuses on the treatises of Hippocrates (born ca. 460 B.C.). He’s the physician who, among other things, started the tradition of the Hippocratic Oath, that even modern doctors must swear.
I ordered it, but I also ordered this book about Galen of Pergamum. Galen has long intrigued me.
Besides writing many foundational works of Western medicine during his lifetime (A.D. 129 – ca. 216), Galen originated the theory of the four temperaments, or humors, which was very influential all the way up through the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance.
Here’s an Amazon quote about Galen and Mattern’s biography of him:
“Galen of Pergamum (A.D. 129 – ca. 216) began his remarkable career tending to wounded gladiators in provincial Asia Minor. Later in life he achieved great distinction as one of a small circle of court physicians to the family of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, at the very heart of Roman society. [F]rom the later Roman Empire through the Renaissance, medical education was based largely on his works. Even up to the twentieth century, he remained the single most influential figure in Western medicine. Yet he was a complicated individual, full of breathtaking arrogance, shameless self-promotion, and lacerating wit.”
The author J.E. Lendon had this to say in his blurb on the back of Mattern’s book:
“A pathologically quarrelsome physician, Galen was, in a sense, the Dr. House of antiquity….” Funny! 😉
I visited Pergamum when I lived in Turkey in 2006, because of my interest in Galen. The picture at the top shows me standing in front of some of the ruins there.
I can’t wait to read this book about Galen! 🙂