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Galen: On the Properties of Foodstuffs


  • Date Published: May 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521036207

£ 35.99

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About the Authors
  • This book presents a translation of and detailed commentary on Galen's De alimentorum facultatibus - his major work on the dynamics and kinetics of various foods. It is thus primarily a physiological treatise rather than a materia medica or a work on pathology. Galen commences with a short section on the epistemology of medicine, with a discussion on the attainment, through apodeixis or demonstration, of scientific truth - a discussion which reveals the Aristotelian roots of his thinking. The text then covers a wide range of foods, both common and exotic. Some, such as cereals, legumes, dairy products and the grape, receive an emphasis that reflects their importance at the time; others are treated more cursorily. Dr Powell, an expert in gastroenterology, discusses Galen's terminology and the background to his views on physiology and pathology in his introduction, while John Wilkins' foreword concentrates on the structural and cultural aspects of the work.

    • A most accurate translation of this fascinating work
    • An extensive introduction to and commentary on the work
    • Discussion of the medical aspects of the work illuminated by the specialized knowledge and experience of an expert in gastroenterology
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… a fine translation of an intriguing treatise by Galen … Powell has produced a very helpful book for those interested in food hygiene.' The Times Literary Supplement

    '… elegantly produced …' Medical History

    'Useful and illuminating …' Journal of the History of Medicine

    'There is much of interest in this text …' The Journal of Classics Teaching

    '… rigourous but also highly engaging … an important resource for the study of ancient science and medicine, and also for our understanding of the uses and representations of food within ancient Greek culture.' Journal of Hellenic Studies

    'Powell brings to his translation the insights of a modern physician and his commentary is notably enlightening with its medical interpretations'. Bulletin of the History of Medicine

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521036207
    • length: 236 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 150 x 8 mm
    • weight: 0.354kg
    • contains: 1 table
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Foreword John Wilkins
    Galen's medical and scientific terminology
    Appendix I. List of plants
    Appendix II. List of fishes
    Ancient sources

  • Author


    Editor and Translator

    Owen Powell, University of Queensland
    Owen Powell is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Queensland and a retired physician.


    John Wilkins, University of Exeter
    John Wilkins is Reader in Greek Literature at the University of Exeter and has written or edited several books on food in antiquity. He is currently producing an edition of Galen's De alimentorum facultatibus for the Budé series of classical texts.

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