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The Chronology of Galen's Early Career

  • Vivian Nutton (a1)


The last decade has witnessed a widespread resurgence of interest in Galen of Pergamum that is without parallel since the early seventeenth century. New studies of Galen's concepts of psychology and medicine have examined afresh his position in the development of scientific thought, and historians have begun to realize the wealth of material for the social history of the Antonine Age that he provides. But, despite the earlier labours of Ilberg and Bardong to restore a chronological order to the many tracts that flowed readily from his pen, many of the events of his life still lack the precise dates that would enable even more valuable information to be extracted, especially upon the careers of his friends.



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page 158 note 1 Siegel, R. E., Galen's system of physiolog and medicine (Basle/New York, 1968), hence forward cited as Siegel: Galen on Sens Perception (Basle/New York, 1970). His opinions have not always found favour, see Bylebyl, J. and Pagel, W., Medical History xv (1971) 255–29: Ballester, L. García, ‘La psique en el somaticismo medico de 15 antigiiedad; la actitud de Galeno’, Epistem iii (5969), 595–209: Harris, C. H. S., The Heart and Vascular System in Ancient Greet Medicine (Oxford, 1972).

page 158 note 2 Bowersock, G. W., Greek Sophists in thi Roman Empire (Oxford, 1969): Kollesch, J. ‘Aus Galens Praxis am romischen Kaiserhof’ Neue Beitrage zur Geschichte der Alten Welt ii (Berlin, 5965), 5761: Strohmaier, G., ‘Der Arzt in der römischen Gesellschaft’, Acta Conventus XI-Eirene (Warsaw, 1968), 6973. A two-volume study of Galen by Dr. García Ballester is in the press.

page 158 note 3 Ilberg, J., ‘Ūber die Schriftstellerei des Klaudios Galenos’, Rh.M. xliv (1889), 207–39; xlvii (5892), 489–514; li (1896), 165–96; lii (1897), 591–623: Bardong, K., ‘Beiträge zur Hippokrates- und Galenforschung’, N.G.G. 1942; 577640.

page 158 note 4 Neue jahrbücherfiir das klassische Altertum, Geschichte und deutsche Literatur xv (1905), 276312 (= Ilberg, NJ), reprinted in H. Flashar (ed.), Antike Medizin (Darmstadt, 1971), 361–416. For English readers a similar introduction is given by Eichholz, D. E., ‘Galen and his environment’, G. and R. xx (1951), 6071.

page 159 note 1 Vita Marci 12. 8; Vita Commodi 11. 13; ILS 366.

page 159 note 2 As given by Birley, A. R., Marcus Aurelius (London, 1966), 202.

page 159 note 3 See the criticism of the theory of Gilliam, J. F., ‘The plague under Marcus Aurelius’, A.J.P. lxxxii (1961), 225–51, expressed by Millar, F., A Study of Cassius Dio (Oxford, 1964), p. 13 n. 4.

page 159 note 4 Ruge, W., RE xvii (1936), 233, treats of plague at Nicaea; see also Behr, C. A., Aelius Aristeides and the Sacred Tales (Amsterdam, 1968), 96–8, 166 f.

page 159 note 5 19. 15,

page 159 note 6 BMC IV, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, nos. 200 ff.

page 159 note 7 14. 608. Galen calls him twice: at 54. 613. co, where the text is corrupt, and at 54. 624. 3, where the reference may be to the lecture Eudemus has just delivered to him on the malice of the Roman doctors rather than to any formal instruction in philosophy.

page 159 note 8 Greenhill, W. Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography ii (London, 1854), 207–57 [208] henceforward referred to as Greenhill. The same argument was used by Walsh, J., ‘The date of Galen's birth’, Annal. of the history of Medicine, N.S. i (1929), 378–82 (=Walsh). Ilberg's objections to the choice of month are misconceived, NJ 283 f. and A.G.M. xxiii (1930), 289.

page 160 note 1 128; J. Klebs, PIR1 p. 374, n. 701. 129; Ilberg, NJ 277, whose argument wa: accepted by Mewaldt, J., RE vii (1912) 578–91 (= Mewaldt), and, with a revised argument, in Wann ist Galenos geboren=’. A.G.M. xxiii (1930), 289–92 (= Ilberg. AGM), followed by A. Stein, PIR2 G. 24 ( = Stein) and by Bowersock, op. cit. (p. 158 n. 2), 60, 130; Greenhill, 208; Walsh, 380–2 Sarton, G., Galen of Pergamum (Lawrence Kan., 1954), 15 (= Sarton); Siegel, 4. 131; Brock, A. J., Galen on the Natural Faculties (Loeb ed., London, 1916), 16; Guthrie, D., History of Medicine (London, 1945), 74;Jackson, S. W., Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences v (1969), 365. I have not thought it necessary to argue against the various Arabic traditions that Galen was born in the time of Christ or in the tenth year of Trajan (Barhebraeus, Chronographia 52, Budge).

page 160 note 2 The words were omitted (by oversight =) in the editions of Chartier and Kuhn, although they survive in the accompanying Latin version. Ilberg, NJ 268, who appears not to have known the reading of the manuscripts and early editions, proposed instead to read to This passage is presumably why Mewaldt says (col. 579) ‘also gegen das J. 161 oder wenig spater zum erstenmal nach Rom kam’, and the reason for the hypothesis of a brief visit in 161/2 rejected by Greenhill, 208.

page 160 note 3 For his error, see below, p. 163. A year's gap between his departure from Rome in Aug. 166 and his arrival in Pergamum in Sept. 167, as Walsh suggests, is excessive if Galen's opinions at 14. 622 and 624 have any force.

page 161 note 1 Ilberg, who selected the correct date, used a circular argument. At AGM 290 n. I he used the consular date (163) of Severus to demonstrate Galen's arrival in 162, forgetting that at NJ 277 he had used Galen's arrival-date to place Severus' consulate in 163. While the latter conclusion may indeed be right, the traditional dating of Severus’ career has been strongly challenged by Pflaum, H. G., ‘Les gendres de Marc Aurèle'’, J.S. 1961, 29 f.

page 161 note 2 10. 561, where it is feebly denied by Galen.

page 161 note 3 A collection of references is given at PIR2 A. 226, to which add Proceedings of the American Academy of Jewish Research xiv (1944), 112 f. Diller, H., RE xvii (1936), 507 f., doubts the identification of the architect Nicon with Galen's father, but see the (not always accurate) arguments of Schöne, H., Schedae philologicae Hermanno Usener oblatae (Bonn, 1891), 90–3 and Dorpfeld, W., A.M. xxvii (1902), 29 f.

page 161 note 4 Habicht, C., Altertamer von Pergamon viii. 3 (1969), n. 141; Galen, CMG Suppl. I. 33 Habicht, n. 33 and pp. 16 f.; Rufinus, ibid. 9 ff. I am unable to accept his reasons for dating the circular temple to the reign of Hadrian rather than Antoninus Pius for , Galen 2. 224, should represent an imperfect, not an aorist, and thus date the building to c. 150. On the activities pursued at the Asclepieion, Habicht, pp. 16 ff., and on the excavations there, Ziegenaus, O. and Luca, G. de, Altertiirner von Pergamon xi. 1 (1968) with later reports in A.A. 1970. 2, 176–201.

page 161 note 5 6. 755, 14. 17, and 16. 324.

page 162 note 1 5. 41 f., 8. 587. Some of the evidence is discussed by K. Deichgräber, S.D.A.W 1956. 3. 32 ff.

page 162 note 2 10. 609, 16. 223, and 19. 59. On the importance of dreams in deciding a career, Millar, op. cit. (p. 159 n. 3), 179 f. and Strohmaier, G., Neue Beiträge zur Geschichte Allen Welt ii (Berlin, 1965), 375.

page 162 note 3 P. Giessen 43 and A.E. 1968. 159 shoes doctors who died at the age of seventeen.

page 162 note 4 12. 356; 5. 119; 2. 217 and 224; possibly also Aeficianus, 17 A. 575 and 19. 16 (with I. Müller, Scripta Minora Galeni p. lxiv) On his duties as , 19. 19 witI Habicht, op. cit. (note 19), p. 114 R. 79.

page 162 note 5 6. 756; 5. 44–45, 47, and 51.

page 162 note 6 Smyrna, 2. 217 and 19. 16, cf. Cadoux, C. J, Ancient Smyrna (Oxford, 1938), 232 and Robert, L., Études anatoliennes (Paris, 1937), 146–8 and Hellenica xi-xii (Paris, 1960), 233: Corinth, 2. 217 (but it is uncertain whether he actually attended lectures there or simply found Numisianus already away at Alexandria, 15. 236); Alexandria, 2. 218, 12. 177, 15. 135, 15. 236, cf. Expositio totius mundi 37 and IGRR iii 374.

page 162 note 7 See especially 5. 47–9.

page 162 note 8 13. 599 f. and 18 B. 567. On the identification of the high priest of Asia with the Asiarch, see Deininger, J., Die Provinziallandtage der römischen Kaiserzeit (Munich, 1965), 44–9, and on their social status, Stein, A., ‘Zur soziale Stellung der provinzialen Oberpriester’, Epitymbion H. Swoboda dargebracht (Reichenberg, 1927), 300–11.

page 162 note 9 Ilberg,.NJ 283 1.

page 163 note 1 F.LR.A. 49: see also Robert, L., Les Gladiateurs dans l'orient grec (Paris, 1940), 25 f., 117, 256 f., and 283–5.

page 163 note 2 If the gladiatorial show at Pergamum was an annual event, as 18 B. 567 implies, it should be identified with a local festival, not with the annual games of the . As Moretti has shown, R.F.LC. xxxii (1954), 276 ff., the latter were held twice per annum at two of the eight centres entitled to hold them. Since at Smyrna, which ranked equally with Ephesus and Pergamum, these games were held only once in four years, a similar cycle can be assumed for Pergamum. Thus although the local and provincial games might coincide once in four years, an annual festival at Pergamum is likely to have been local.

page 163 note 3 Meyerhof, M., A.G.M. xxii (1929), 77.

page 163 note 4 Walsh, 378. Siegel, 12, gives his age at appointment as twenty-seven, but rightly dates it to 157.

page 163 note 5 Sarton, 20, sticks hard to the seven-month term, which he dates from 158 to 161

page 164 note 1 The letter of Paullus Fabius Maximus and the subsequent decisions of the council of Asia have been re-edited by Laffi, U., ‘Calendario della provincia d'Asia’, Stud: classici ed orientali xvi (1967), 1–98. The relevant sections are Iv. 19–24, v140 f., 50–5 together with the discussions on pp. 3–7, and 71 ff. As a further argument against a hypothetical seven-month term, it should be observed that, if Laffi is right in dating the change in the provincial year to 9 B.c., the high priest of 157 took office, not in September, but in April or November.

page 164 note 2 The evidence is assembled by Magic, D. M., Roman Rule in Asia Minor (Princeton, 1950), 1601–7, but the list that he gives is badly in need of revision.

page 164 note 3 Bowersock, op. cit. (p. 158 R. 2), 62. NJ 288.

page 164 note 5 Birley, op. cit. (p. 159 n. 2), 160–6.

page 165 note 1 The references in Liddell-Scott-Jones s.v. are sufficient proof.

page 165 note 2 8. 581–9, 19. 48, Herbst, W., Gaitni de studiis Atticissantium testimonia (Leipzig, 1911).

page 165 note 3 14.647,

page 165 note 4 Sarton, 20. Siegel, 13, is equally inventive. ‘Whether he left Pergamon because he was frightened by a border war against the rebellious Parthes or whether the gladiators and slaves were induced into military service and the infirmary was requisitioned is not certain.’

page 165 note 5 Greenhill, 208.

page 165 note 6 Bowie, E. L., Past and Present xlvi (1970), 38: Galen also wrote a tract On concord (19.46).

page 165 note 7 Dio, Or. 38–51: Pliny, Ep. Io. 58, 81 f.

page 165 note 8 Especially Galen 5. 49 ff.

page 165 note 9 Such a dispute might easily arise over the question of tax immunity, J.R.S. lxi (1971), 52–6.

page 166 note 1 Hippocrates, Airs, Waters, and Places, 70–2 (ed. Jones); Edelstein, L., Ancient Medicine (Baltimore, 1967), 87–90; cf. also Dig. 27. 6. 1 .

page 166 note 2 Dion. Halic. so. The visit of Archagathus, Pliny, N.H. 29. 52, traditionally dated to 219 B.C., was important, not because Archagathus was the first Greek doctor to come to Rome, but because he was already eminent in the world of Hellenistic medicine.

page 166 note 3 Robert, L., Hellenica ii (Paris, 1946), 103–6.

page 166 note 4 Eusebius, H.E. 5.1.49; J.R.S. lix (5969), 235; Bulletin épigraphigue 1951 n. 249; IG xiv. 1934; 967; 1755; 2104; Hellenica ix (Paris, I950), 26; IC xiv. 2059.

page 166 note 5 As well as St. Luke, the companion of St. Paul, note Cicero, Ad Fern. 13. 20 and Galen II. 357 and 5. 18 ff.

page 166 note 6 The extremes are represented by Cohn-Haft, L., The Public Physicians of Ancient Greece (Northampton, Mass., 1956), 56–67, 76–85, and the story told by Phaedrus 14.

page 166 note 7 Dio, Or. 8. 7 f. and 9. 4; Seneca, Ep. 104. 59 (cf. 40. 5, ‘Quis medicus aegros in transitu curat ?’).

page 166 note 8 Stein, 5.

page 167 note 1 Greenhill, 208. His opinion was shared by Brock, A. J., Greek Medicine (London, 1929), 24, 177, and 191, and by Neuburger, M., A history of medicine (London, 1908), 248.

page 167 note 2 Thorndike, L., A History of Magic and Experimental Science, i (New York, 1923), 130, has ‘On the way to Rome, instead of journeying on foot through Thrace and Macedonia, he took ship from the Troad to Thessalonica.’ On the Lemnian visit see also C. J. S. Thompson, ‘Terra Sigillata’, Proceedings of the XVII Int. Congress of Medical Sciences (1913), 433–44 and P. E. M. Berthelot, J.S. 1895, 382–7. The opinion of F. A. Rusch, ‘Galen's De placitis Hippocratis et Platonis, VIII' (Diss. Evanston, Ill. 1968), p. vii, that Galen returned to Pergamum to fetch his library (including the compilations of Rufus of Samaria), is unlikely, since there is not sufficient time between On prognosis (written in 177–8) and the mass of other treatises that depend upon Rufus' work from 180 onwards, Bardong, op. cit. (p. 158 n. 3), 624 and 639, for Galen to return to Pergamum and then again come to Rome, as well as write a great number of tracts, Bardong, ibid. A date in the i 90s is more likely.

page 168 note 1 Aristeides 48. 60 (ed. Keil).

page 168 note 2 14. 648. Behr, op. cit. (P. 159 n. 4), 24, reckons the sea voyage at approximately one month.

page 168 note 3 5. 18 f.

page 168 note 4 Aristeides 48. 66.

page 168 note 5 Vita Abercii 50 describes a journey from Rome to Phrygia via Brundisium, the Peloponnese, and then overland to Byzantium: the return journey, 54, is made by sea from Attaleia to Portus. Phrygia, however, is less accessible from the Aegean than Pergamum, and the details should not be pressed too closely.

page 168 note 6 I do not know on what evidence Siegel, 12, includes a visit to Thessaly: I suspect a mistranslation. It is as well to stress that if Galen sailed to Lemnos and Thessalonica on his first visit, he could not at the same time have walked through Thrace.

page 169 note 1 The date of Galen's death according to the Suda was 199/200, when Galen was seventy, but new evidence from Arabic sources, deriving ultimately from Alexander of Aphrodisias, seems to indicate that Galen lived well into his eighties. As more work is done on the Arabic versions of Galen and as more and more signs of later re-working of treatises are discovered, the idea that On the properties of simples was one of his last works becomes less acceptable, especially if Galen lived for at least ten years beyond its completion.

page 169 note 2 Walsh 379; Ilberg, AGM 291. Stein, 5, expresses no opinion on the date, while Neuburger, op. cit. (p. 167 n. 1), 244 and 248, appears to place the same journey to Palestine both after his visit to Corinth and after his return from Rome.

page 169 note 3 Ilberg, AGM 291.

page 169 note 4 Pliny N.H. 26. to. On the textual difficulties of the passage in Galen, see I. Müller, Scripta Minora Galeni ii. pp. bodi ff.

page 169 note 5 12. 171 and 203 (from which Siegel, 52, derives the erroneous idea that Galen visited Anatolia in search of minerals), 54. 6.

page 169 note 6 Mewaldt 584 f.

page 169 note 7 Ilberg, AGM 291. The fact that Galen obtained from a camel caravan while on his way home from Palestine, 12. 216, does not by itself mean that he has been given permission by the governor and that the governor was Boethus.

page 170 note 1 All three areas, Lycia, Cyprus, and Syria are mentioned together at 12. 216, and Syria and Cyprus together at 12. 171 Cyprus is mentioned by itself at 6. 507. At 15. 684 (= C.M.G. V. 9. I. 229), Galen records the types of wine he has found in different regions: in the list, Cilicia, Phoenicia, Palestine, Scyros, and Crete. I suggest that ΣKYPON should be emended to KYHPON.

page 170 note 2 That he visited Asia after Cyprus is confirmed by 12. 220.

The Chronology of Galen's Early Career

  • Vivian Nutton (a1)


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