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Cuvier’s History of the Natural Sciences

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Georges Cuvier

5. Pliny, his Contemporaries & Followers / Pline, ses contemporaines & ses partisans

16. Galen of Pergamum

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DISSECTION OF THE ORANGUTAN. Engraving from Camper (Petrus), Natuurkundige verhandelingen van Petrus Camper over den orang outang..., Amsterdam: P. Meijer & G. Warnars, 1782, plate 2, p. 120.

1Galen was born in 131, during the reign of Hadrian, in the city of Pergamum, famous for its temple to Aesculapius and formerly the seat of a kingdom where there were rich libraries and where the sciences were held in some favor. Nico, Galen’s father, possessed a considerable fortune and an extensive knowledge of philosophy, astronomy, geometry, and especially architecture, the latter being his principal occupation. He was the first tutor of his son, whom he named Galen because of his gentleness; next, he entrusted him to the most distinguished masters of the time for instructing him in philosophy and literature.

2From the school of the Stoics, where Galen first studied, he went successively to the Platonic, the Epicurean, and the Peripatetic schools. In his writings he sometimes opposes Epicureanism and Stoicism. But he was especially attached to the Peripatetics, without, however, blindly following their principles. We may think of him as the last of the famous followers of Aristotle’s doctrine. It was in this school that he imbibed the dialectic power that later made him so formidable to his opponents.

  • 1 [Pelops, a student of Numisianus, and later teacher of anatomy at Smyrna during the time of Galen; (...)
  • 2 [Numisianus, a student of Quintus and teacher of Pelops, who taught anatomy at Corinth. He is said (...)
  • 3 [Quintus, a teacher of Numisianus, described by Galen, who was usually not prone to praising physi (...)
  • 4 [Jet is a semi-precious gemstone of organic origin. The name is derived from the Greek Lithos Gaga (...)
  • 5 [Asphalt, a solid or very dense, highly viscous form of bitumen (any natural compound consisting o (...)

3Galen was only seventeen years old when his father, a believer in dreams, had a dream that convinced him that his son should study medicine. At the age of 21, Galen wrote books on the medical art. At the age of 22, having lost his father, he went to Smyrna where he attended the lectures of Pelops.1 Next he went to Corinth to hear a physician named Numisianus,2 who was promulgating the philosophy of Quintus,3 a famed anatomist who had died without having written anything. An eager student, Galen questioned each of Quintus’s pupils and wrote down everything he learned about this physician’s discoveries. He even included in his own works all the ideas he had collected in this way and indicated their source. Always enticed by his passion for science, Galen visited the places whence came the most prized medicaments. In Lycia he visited the jet mines,4 in Palestine he saw asphalt.5 In Egypt, and especially at Alexandria, he studied anatomy; but he acquired no great notions there about that important branch of medicine. Those who were then in charge of carrying out embalmings almost completely neglected the study of anatomy, and Galen saw only a few human skeletons.

4He often traveled on foot in order to see more things and make more observations. The diversity of languages was no obstacle to his instructing himself on his travels, for he knew all the Greek dialects, and the Latin, Ethiopean, and Persian languages.

  • 6 [Zinc sulphate, or white vitriol, is used in medicine as an astringent and a tonic, and in larger (...)
  • 7 [Lemnos, modern Greek Limnos, isolated Greek island in the Aegean Sea, midway between Mount Áthos (...)
  • 8 [Sigillary earth, a fine soft clay used to make impressions in the production of seals.]

5At the age of 28, he returned to Pergamum and was appointed by a chief priest to the unusual office of physician to the gladiators. A sedition that arose in the city caused him to leave for Rome, where he began to teach a class in anatomy that brought him much celebrity; but soon persecuted by physicians envious of his talent, he was obliged to leave Rome at the very moment when an epidemic broke out: he was accused of cowardice quite unjustly for his departure in this emergency. He traveled again, seeking instruction, visited zinc-and copper-sulphate mines, substances used in medicine in his time.6 In Judea he examined the balm-tree, and in Lemnos7 he saw the quarries for sigillary earth.8 He realized that this substance, very inaccurately described, was merely an ordinary clay.

  • 9 [Aquilea, a town in the province of Friuli in northeastern Italy, bordering Helvetia and Croatia, (...)
  • 10 [Lucius Verus, in full Lucius Aurelius Verus (born 15 December 130, died 169), Roman emperor joint (...)

6At the age of 38, Galen was summoned to Aquilea9 by the emperors Lucius Verus10 and Marcus Aurelius to combat an epidemic that had broken out among the Roman soldiers. Following Galen’s advice, Verus set out for Rome, but died before reaching his destination.

  • 11 [Treatise on Theriac or De antidotis libri duo, see Galen, De antidotis libri duo, a Ioanne Gvinte (...)

7Marcus Aurelius did not take Galen with him to the German wars; he left him with his son Commodus, who was quite delicate in health. It was claimed that Galen did not stay with the prince who had been confided to his care because he recognized that prince’s malicious nature; according to the same authors, Galen returned to his own country and died there in A. D. 200 at the age of 69. However, it appears that he was again at Rome before his death, for we read in his Treatise on Theriac11 that he compounded this remedy for the emperor Severus.

8Galen had the rare good fortune of enjoying the glory that his genius deserved; in his lifetime he was considered the ideal great physician. All through the Middle Ages he also reigned unopposed. He was copied and recopied during the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries by every author that wrote about medicine, as Dioscorides and Pliny were by those who applied themselves to materia medica or natural history.

9The Arabians had no other Greek physician than Galen, whom they translated into Arabic. He was their only guide in anatomy, and they never knew anything more than Galen in that science, because the prejudices of the people did not permit the dissecting of the human body.

10When we consider how unfavorable were Galen’s circumstances for the development of the natural sciences, we cannot but be surprised at the progress he brought to anatomy and physiology. He enriched these two sciences with a multitude of truths, the germ of which was not perceptible in the writings of his predecessors, or if such authors had also discovered these truths, they exposed them in works that have not come down to us.

11Galen tells us that, in his day, Erasistratus was the most important authority on anatomy: thus, he most often refers to him, whether to correct his errors or to confirm his ideas.

  • 12 [Temple of Peace: Pax, in Roman religion, was the personification of peace, probably recognized as (...)
  • 13 [Commodus, Roman emperor from 177 to 192; see Lesson 11, note 78.]

12In the midst of his extremely active life, Galen found the means to write almost five hundred scrolls, which would have furnished enough material for eighty octavo volumes. These writings were so prized that they were deposited in the Temple of Peace;12 but this very precaution was fatal for them: the Temple of Peace burned down under the reign of Commodus13 and a portion of Galen’s writings was destroyed. Fortunately, the number of those that remain to us is still considerable.

  • 14 [In the history of Greek medicine three main schools or sects were notable, namely the empiricists (...)

13Galen drew up a catalogue of his books for indicating the sequence in which his books were to be read, and he divides them into four classes. He advises reading his treatise on Sects14 first, in order to become acquainted with all the philosophies; for otherwise, it could transpire that the reader would accept as true certain propositions of a philosophy that would be shown as false by a different philosophy.

14Then he wants us to proceed to the study of anatomy and physiology; next, to studies in hygiene, pathology, semeiotics or prognostics and therapeutics; finally, one should read his various works on Hippocrates.

15Galen wrote a total of 182 works. But since it is not our object to give a course in medicine, we shall discuss only those works that relate to the natural sciences as such.

  • 15 [On Anatomical Procedures or De anatomicis administrationibus, see Galen, On Anatomical Procedures(...)

16In anatomy, Galen wrote several treatises about bones, muscles, nerves, veins, arteries, the organ of sight, the uterus, and the sense of smell, and other special treatises that are included in his great work entitled The Anatomical Administrations.15 Only nine of the fifteen volumes that make up this work have come down to us. The work is admirable for the shrewd details and numerous proofs of the physiological observations that the author must have made.

17It is also evident in this work that the study of anatomy was going through extreme difficulties in Galen’s time. The dissection of adult subjects was almost impossible. Only a few physicians found the means of dissecting infants that had been allowed to die from exposure. Surgeons in the army in Germany sometimes opened up enemy corpses found on the field of battle, but without lasting results for the science of anatomy.

18It does not seem that Galen personally practiced the dissection of human cadavers, since he does not say so anywhere. But he had seen some human bones that had emerged from burial as a consequence of landslides; he even had the advantage of possessing the body of a criminal that had been left exposed to the vultures. But he does not seem to have been able to preserve the skeleton.

  • 16 [Petrus Camper (born 1722, Leiden; died 1789 at The Hague), anatomist, full of genius, and perhaps (...)
  • 17 [Magot, the Barbary ape (Macaca sylvana), tailless, terrestrial macaque found in bands in Algeria, (...)

19Galen advises the student to practice dissection upon animals having an organization that approximates that of man, in order to carry out, as far as possible, the observations that cannot be made on man himself. He identifies as especially useful for dissection an animal with a round head and short canine teeth, which Camper16 believed was the orangutan, but which we think is the magot,17 a common African species that when young actually has a round head and short canines.

20Galen had only the scalpel and the forceps for dissecting. Moreover, the art of injections was unknown in his time, as was the preservation of bodies in liquids. The distillation of wine in order to extract spirits was not yet practiced. Sketching was the only means of accurately showing the objects of which the study of anatomy had revealed the structure or function.

21In the first five volumes of The Anatomical Administrations, Galen discusses the muscles. His descriptions are rather brief but very clear. Obviously, they are on the ape and not on man. Every time he describes muscles that differ in man from the ape, it is clear that his description is of the ape’s muscles. The same applies to osteology. Galen teaches that the upper jaw is composed of four bones. This number is in fact correct for the ape, but not for man, whose jaw has only two bones. Again, in his description of the sacrum, Galen enumerates fewer bones than there are in man’s sacrum, but his description applies quite accurately to the ape.

22However, the bones of the wrist present an exception: Galen describes them as they exist in man.

23In the sixth volume of the Administrations, the author writes about the organs of digestion. In it, there are perfectly correct observations of comparative anatomy. He gives a description of the digestive organs in apes, bears, horses, and the ruminants, and he classifies such organs according to the analogy they present with those in man. In particular, he describes the teeth with great accuracy and confirms Aristotle’s observation that all animals lacking incisors in the upper jaw have multiple stomachs.

24Galen claims that the elephant has a gall bladder. Naturalists long disagreed over this, but it has been recognized that Galen was right. But he should have pointed out that in the elephant the location of the bladder is different from its location in other quadrupeds.

25In his seventh volume, he is intent on proving that the heart is not a muscle and that its tissue differs from that of the other muscles; he is strongly opposed to physicians who held a contrary opinion, and yet it was they who were right. Galen in the same volume gives the historical account of a dissection of an elephant at Rome that he attended. He says that before the body was opened up, he had asserted that within would be found a double heart, like that of all animals that breath air, whereas other physicians thought that the heart would be triple, in accordance with Aristotle’s opinion.

  • 18 [Albrecht von Haller (born 16 October 1708, Bern; died 12 December 1777, Bern), Swiss biologist, t (...)
  • 19 [Balthasar Anthelme Richerand (born 4 February 1779, Belley; died 23 January 1840, Villenesnes), F (...)

26In the eighth volume, in which he continues to write about the organs of respiration, or rather, organs that are found inside the thorax, Galen shows himself to be a practiced experimentalist. Haller18 admired the skill with which he could cut the recurrent [laryngeal] nerves when he wanted to demonstrate their influence on the voice. His experiments had been carried out on the young male boar and he had noticed that the voice of this animal was much diminished when one of the recurrent nerves had been cut, and that its voice was extinguished entirely when both such nerves were cut. Galen made many experiments on the perforation of the thorax, and his skill had become such that he was able to take out an animal’s ribs without injuring its pleura. In recent times, Monsieur Richerand19 succeeded in carrying out the same operation on a man afflicted with a cancer. Similar experiments have also been made in our day in the interests of physiology.

  • 20 [Septum lucidum (also called the septum pellucidum) is a thin, triangular, vertical membrane that (...)
  • 21 [Franciscus Sylvius (born 15 March 1614, Hanau, Germany; died 15 November 1672, Leiden, Netherland (...)

27In the ninth volume of his Anatomical Administrations, in which he treats of the brain and the spinal marrow, Galen describes the brain with accuracy, particularly the septum lucidum,20 and the aqueduct named after Sylvius,21 falsely, since Galen was the first to describe it.

28As we have said, the final six volumes of the Anatomical Administrations are lost. We can get an approximate idea of them only by consulting separate essays in which the author had occasion to repeat descriptions that he had given in the six volumes that are missing.

  • 22 [cf. Galen, On the Usefulness of the Parts of the Body (De Usu Partium) [translated from the Greek (...)

29We are now going to examine a work by Galen entitled On the Uses of the Parts of the Body of Man.22 The author wrote it in Rome at the age of 36, while he was at the court of Marcus Aurelius as physician to his son Commodus. This work, which comprises seventeen volumes, is one of the most perfect of ancient works and can be considered a long and excellent application of the principle of final causes. It was written under the influence of religion, for in it the author says, “I compose a hymn in honor of the Creator.” He seeks, in fact, to prove that each part of the human body is formed according to a plan conceived by a supreme intelligence and that each part is perfectly appropriate for its use. For proof of this he presents, first, the conformation of the human hand, and, in fact, it would be difficult to imagine an organ that had a more obvious destined use. Galen points out the enormous difference between a man’s hand and that of the ape. He shows that the latter is incapable of making the subtle movements that the human hand can. The fingers and the thumb of the ape are out of proportion; either the former are too long or the latter is too short. The superiority of these instruments alone gives man supremacy over all the other animals.

30Galen next examines the conformation of the foot. He notes that man’s foot differs greatly from the foot of other animals; man’s foot does not permit him to climb trees with ease –unlike the ape, which is pedimanous [foot-handed]– but rests flat on the ground and gives him a sufficiently firm base for standing erect. Thus, man does not have the ape’s need to use the anterior limbs for holding up the body; he uses his arms for other purposes.

  • 23 [Foramen ovale, an opening in the partition between the two upper chambers (atria) of the heart th (...)

31In the sixth volume, Galen gives a perfectly accurate description of the heart. He was well acquainted with its valves, as well as the coronary arteries; he describes with accuracy the part of the heart known as the foramen ovale,23 which ought to have been given his name, as it was he who first described it with certainty. It was also he who first formulated this truth: that, without exception, all warm-blooded animals have a double heart [four-chambered], and, contrariwise, all cold-blooded animals have a single heart, that is, a heart composed of a single auricle and a single ventricle.

32Nevertheless, what Galen writes about the heart is not always so accurate. For example, he is mistaken when he places the heart in the middle of the breast, which is what he had always seen in animals; and he is equally mistaken when he proclaims as true such propositions as that the pulmonary artery carries to the heart a nourishing liquor, and that the vein penetrates it with air. Such errors come from the fact that he had no idea of the circulation of the blood.

33His theory of respiration, explained in the seventh volume, is no different from Aristotle’s theory or the theory of all antiquity; he believes the introduction of air into the lungs is meant to cool the blood, which is precisely the opposite of the theory we are led to by our knowledge of chemistry.

34The eighth and ninth books are on the brain and nerves. Galen’s description of the brain shows that he had carried out research on that organ. For example, he knew about alternate movements of elevation and lowering in the brain and knew that they were based on respiration. He was mistaken only about their cause; he attributed them to the introduction of a certain quantity of air into the ventricles, whereas they are actually produced by the flowing of blood into and out of the cerebral cavity.

35Again, it is to Galen that we are indebted for the first accurate description of the optic layers, and knowledge of the membranes covering the brain. True, he claims that the rete mirabile, which is found only in animals, is to be found in man’s brain, but this error results from the fact that it was impossible for him to dissect human cadavers. This error and many others are excusable in Galen, since he would not have committed them had he had our present-day opportunities of dissecting all sorts of bodies.

36Galen describes accurately the sinuses of the brain and the pairs of nerves leading from that organ, but he causes some confusion in writing about the path of the nerves. Yet, he realizes that these cords all lead either to the brain or to the spinal marrow. He thinks that the nerves leading to the brain minister to sensation, and those ending in the spinal marrow minister to locomotion.

  • 24 [Choanoid, a funnel-shaped, applied particularly to a hollow muscle attached to the ball of the ey (...)

37In the tenth volume, in which he writes about the eyes, Galen again makes excellent application of the great principle of final causes. He shows that the organ of sight is obviously constructed so as to direct light upon a particular nerve and that the retina is such a nerve, expanded. He gives an exact anatomy of the lachrymal points and ducts. But clearly it is still in animals –this time in sheep– that Galen studied the eye, for he includes among the muscles of this organ the choanoid,24 which does not exist in man.

38The eleventh book of the Uses of the Parts is devoted to the external parts of the head. The author correctly notes that the temporal muscles for moving the lower jaw are always suited to the toughness of the materials that each animal must eat to nourish itself, and that it is in man that these same muscles are the least developed in comparison with size of body.

39The shape of teeth led Galen to make similar remarks. He observes that this shape varies with the species and that it is always found in harmony with the other parts of the organs of nutrition, and with the general organization of the animal.

40In his twelfth book, Galen again finds matter for reflection that favors the principle of final causes. It seems evident to him that the articulation of the head upon the trunk is the result of a plan preconceived and realized in order to arrive at a definite purpose; for no other mode of articulation could have harmonized so perfectly with the conformation of man’s feet and hands; nor could any other animal have its head placed as a man’s head is, without causing a more or less unwonted fatigue.

41The thirteenth volume of the Uses of the Parts treats of the spinal marrow and the nerves leading from it.

42The fourteenth is devoted to the organs of reproduction.

43The fifteenth lists the differences between the adult and the fetus.

44In the sixteenth, the author writes about the general distribution of the nerves, arteries, and veins, and he describes these vessels as well as it was possible to do in an era when the art of injections was yet unknown.

45We now know that the arteries are full of blood in life and that they are empty only in death. In the time of Galen, physicians, who in their dissections always found the arteries empty, believed that arteries contained air in life. Galen, on the other hand, maintained that the function of the arteries was to contain blood and not air. By making two ligatures in an artery, he had demonstrated this important truth; for the artery, opened up between these two ligatures, ejected blood immediately. He thus became certain that there was blood in the vessel before it was opened up, and that the blood was not drawn there by the wound to the artery, as was supposed by the physicians of his time.

46Moreover, Galen demonstrated that the heart, too, contains blood and not air.

  • 25 [Hieronymus Fabricius ab Aquapendente, see Lesson 9, note 38.]
  • 26 [William Harvey (born 1 April 1578, Folkestone, Kent; died 3 June 1657, Roehampton, Essex), a lead (...)

47We wonder why Galen –so enlightened on many points about the great question of the circulation of blood; knowing that the arteries by nature are, like the veins, filled with blood, and that the beats of the heart are isochronous with those of the arteries; sufficiently acquainted with the structure of the heart; gifted with a highly philosophic mind, a fine generalizing mind, going back to causes much more often than Hippocrates –did not make the discovery that immortalized Fabricius d’Aquapendente25 and Harvey.26 Perhaps his erroneous opinion on the origin of the veins, which he believed all came from the liver, was the source of the ignorance in which he remained regarding the circulation of the blood.

48Galen also describes in the sixteenth volume of his work on the Uses of the Parts the origin of the optic nerves, and their discovery is due to him.

49His seventeenth volume contains general considerations meant to display the usefulness of this whole work and to show the existence of a supreme, intelligent creator.

50As we have already said, this work is incontestably one of the finest of ancient times, for its general completeness and for its details; it sets its author next to Aristotle.

51Galen composed several other less extensive treatises. Although they each contain some new and interesting truths, we do not think it necessary to list them.

  • 27 [For Galen and Hippocrates, see Coxe (John Redman), The Writings of Hippocrates and Galen [epitomi (...)

52In his piece on Hippocrates’s Opinions,27 Galen is the first to maintain that the intellectual faculties are located in the head, and he opposes in this instance the opinion of the Stoics, who would place such faculties in the heart.

  • 28 [see Galen, On the Natural Faculties [with an English translation by John Arthur], London: W. Hein (...)

53The essay on The Natural Faculties28 teaches the function of the kidneys, which Galen had discovered in an ingenious and completely conclusive way, by tying off the ureters. The same essay contains erroneous opinions about the structure of muscles. In it, the author claims that contraction in these organs is effected mainly at their extremity. He thinks that the tendon is a combination of nerve and tendinous parts wherein lies exclusively the contractile faculty. Today, we know that precisely the contrary is true.

  • 29 [On the Affected Parts or De Locis Affectis, see Galen on the affected parts [translation from the (...)
  • 30 [The oldest known classification of temperaments is considerably more than 2,000 years old, and th (...)

54Those who wish to have a complete idea of Galen’s physiological knowledge must not fail to study his treatise De Locis Affectis (on the areas affected in each disease).29 In it, one sees that this great physician knew that the spinal marrow is the site of certain paralyses. He records an observation in which he applied to the back some remedies meant to cure a paralysis of the hand that resulted from a fall. But, in general, Galen assigns too much importance to the classification of temperaments based on his four principal humors – blood, bile, black bile, and lymph.30

55Galen’s writings on hygienics and materia medica are of interest to naturalists because they contain details on various natural substances. Moreover, the principles of his therapeutics are quite simple. If a disease seems to him to be produced by an excess of humidity, he counteracts it with remedies that he calls dry; and likewise he applies humid remedies for diseases that are due to an excess of dryness. He prescribes cold for diseases resulting from an excess of heat, and vice versa.

56Everyone knows about Galen’s bizarre pharmacy: that he placed among his medications a multitude of simples collected almost as it were at random, or according to fallacious theories, and which cancel each other out. Such a strange congeries does not mean that we cannot find in it some interesting information for naturalists.

  • 31 [see Galen, On the properties of foodstuffs [De alimentorum facultatibus / Galen; introduction, tr (...)

57The same applies to his essay on The Faculties of Aliments.31 In this piece, divided into three books, Galen indicates the nutritive substances that are easy to digest and those that are digested with more difficulty. The first book is devoted to food derived from wheat, other gramineous plants, and certain legumes. Such information is interesting in that we learn which gramineous plants were known to the ancients.

58In the second book, Galen writes about fruit, mushrooms, and herbs such as spinach. It is seen by this book that the ancients had quite extensive knowledge about the care that must be given to trees.

59In the third book, Galen lists the characteristics of nutriment derived from the animal kingdom. His information has permitted us to distinguish in particular several species of fishes.

60In summary, Galen merits our admiration as a naturalist and a physician. He did everything that was possible to do at the time when he lived.

61Aristotle’s genius is doubtless superior to Galen’s in the speculative sciences, since Aristotle devoted himself especially to the study of philosophy and Galen concentrated on medicine.

62But Galen far surpasses Aristotle as an anatomist, physiologist, and physician. He is the last true anatomist that the ancient world produced, as Oppian is its last naturalist.

63How does it happen that, after the impetus given to the sciences by Galen five hundred years after Aristotle, the sciences were almost abandoned by every active intelligence in the ensuing centuries? We shall search for the causes of this intellectual phenomenon in the next meeting.

Notes

1 [Pelops, a student of Numisianus, and later teacher of anatomy at Smyrna during the time of Galen; not to be confused with Pelops from Greek mythology, the son of Tantalus and the grandson of Zeus, who, when he was a boy, was cut into pieces by his father, his flesh stewed in a cauldron, and served as a feast for the gods.]

2 [Numisianus, a student of Quintus and teacher of Pelops, who taught anatomy at Corinth. He is said to have written valuable books on anatomy as well as commentaries on some of the works of Hippocrates, but all his works are now lost (see Grmek (Mirko D.) & Gourevitch (Danielle), “L’École médicale de Quintus et de Numisianus”, in Sabbah (Guy) (ed.), Études de médecine romaine, Saint-Étienne: Publications de l’Université de Saint-Étienne, 1989, pp. 43-60 (Mémoires; VIII)).]

3 [Quintus, a teacher of Numisianus, described by Galen, who was usually not prone to praising physicians other than himself, as the “best physician of his time” (see Galen, in his De praenotione ad Posthumum, part 6 of Claudii Galeni Opera Omnia, volume 14 [ed. by Kühn Karl Gottlob], Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, 808 p.) Quintus did not dissect human cadavers but, according to the practice of the time, performed dissection (most often vivisection) on animals that were considered anatomically close to man, like monkeys, pigs, and goats.]

4 [Jet is a semi-precious gemstone of organic origin. The name is derived from the Greek Lithos Gagates, which translates as “Stone of Gagas.” Gagas was a town in Asia Minor (Turkey). This name passed into old French as Jaiet, and into English as Jet. Jet was formed from wood that fell into stagnant water and which then became fossilized in much the same way as coal was made. The wood originally came from trees similar to the modern day Monkey Puzzle or Araucaria. The original “wood-like” structure of Jet is revealed under the microscope, sometimes to the extent that the annual growth rings of the trees can be seen.]

5 [Asphalt, a solid or very dense, highly viscous form of bitumen (any natural compound consisting of hydrogen and carbon) derived from liquid petroleum, either by evaporation of the lighter, more volatile fraction under atmospheric conditions or by metamorphism occurring deep within the Earth’s crust.]

6 [Zinc sulphate, or white vitriol, is used in medicine as an astringent and a tonic, and in larger doses as an emetic. In overdoses it acts as an irritant poison. Copper sulphate, or blue (sometimes called Roman) vitriol, is made on an enormous scale, and is used in… medicine, chiefly as a feeble escharotic for exuberant granulations, and as a local stimulant.

7 [Lemnos, modern Greek Limnos, isolated Greek island in the Aegean Sea, midway between Mount Áthos (in northeastern mainland Greece) and the Turkish coast, in the nomós (department) of Lesbos.]

8 [Sigillary earth, a fine soft clay used to make impressions in the production of seals.]

9 [Aquilea, a town in the province of Friuli in northeastern Italy, bordering Helvetia and Croatia, and not far from the Adriatic coast, well known for its Roman ruins.]

10 [Lucius Verus, in full Lucius Aurelius Verus (born 15 December 130, died 169), Roman emperor jointly (161-169) with Marcus Aurelius. Though he enjoyed equal constitutional status and powers, he did not have equal authority, nor did he seem capable of bearing his share of the responsibilities.]

11 [Treatise on Theriac or De antidotis libri duo, see Galen, De antidotis libri duo, a Ioanne Gvinterio Andernaco nvnc primum latinitate donati. Eiusdem Galeni de remedijs paratu facilibus liber vnus, eodem Ioanne Guinterio Andernaco interprete, Parisiis: Apud Simonem Colinaeum, 1533, [14] + 94 p.]

12 [Temple of Peace: Pax, in Roman religion, was the personification of peace, probably recognized as a deity for the first time by the emperor Augustus, in whose reign much was made of the establishment of political calm. An altar of Pax Augusta (the Ara Pacis) was dedicated in 9 B.C. and a great temple of Pax completed by the emperor Vespasian in A.D. 75.]

13 [Commodus, Roman emperor from 177 to 192; see Lesson 11, note 78.]

14 [In the history of Greek medicine three main schools or sects were notable, namely the empiricists, the dogmatists, and the methodists. Different opinions and arguments of these sects can best be seen in two works of Galen: “On Medical Sects for Students” and “On Medical Experience” (see Galen, uvres compleÌtes [transl. in French by Garofalo Ivan & Debru Armelle], Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2000-2008, 8 vols).]

15 [On Anatomical Procedures or De anatomicis administrationibus, see Galen, On Anatomical Procedures [transl. with an introduction and notes by Singer C.], London; New York: Oxford University Press, 1956, xxvi + 289 p.]

16 [Petrus Camper (born 1722, Leiden; died 1789 at The Hague), anatomist, full of genius, and perhaps the man most responsible for making the study of comparative anatomy interesting. Because of his provocative discoveries, became professor at Franeker in 1749, at Amsterdam in 1755, at Gröningen in 1763, and member of the state council of federated provinces of the Netherlands in 1787. He published no great work, but we have a multitude of memoirs by him, included among those of the principal academies. After his death, his son, Adriaan Gilles Camper (born 1759, died 1820), published his anatomical descriptions of the elephant (1802; see Bruggen (Adolph Cornelis van) & Pieters (Florence F. J. M.), “Notes on a drawing of Indian elephants in red crayon by Petrus Camper (1786) in the archives of the Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Histoire”, Zoologische Mededelingen, Leiden, vol. 63, no 19, 1990, pp. 255-266.) and the whale (1820), based on his notes and sketches.]

17 [Magot, the Barbary ape (Macaca sylvana), tailless, terrestrial macaque found in bands in Algeria, Morocco, and on the Rock of Gibraltar. The Barbary ape is about 60 centimeters (24 inches) long and has light yellowish-brown fur and a naked, pale-pink face. It is the only wild monkey in Europe and may have been taken westward during the Muslim Arab territorial expansion of the Middle Ages. According to legend, British dominion will end when the Barbary ape is gone from the British-held Rock of Gibraltar.]

18 [Albrecht von Haller (born 16 October 1708, Bern; died 12 December 1777, Bern), Swiss biologist, the father of experimental physiology, who made prolific contributions to physiology, anatomy, botany, embryology, poetry, and scientific bibliography (see Siegrist (Christoph), Albrecht von Haller, Stuttgart: J. B. Metzlersche, 1967, 70 p.)]

19 [Balthasar Anthelme Richerand (born 4 February 1779, Belley; died 23 January 1840, Villenesnes), French surgeon and physiologist, who wrote Elements of Physiology, an English edition of which was published in 1803 (see Emlen (Samuel), “History of the excision of a portion of the ribs and pleura; by M. Richerand, Principal Surgeon of the Hospital St. Louis”, The Journal of foreign medical science and literature, vol. 9, no 33, 1819, pp. 44-47 [extracted from the London Medical and Physical Journal for October 1818]).]

20 [Septum lucidum (also called the septum pellucidum) is a thin, triangular, vertical membrane that separates the anterior horn of the left and right lateral ventricles of the brain.]

21 [Franciscus Sylvius (born 15 March 1614, Hanau, Germany; died 15 November 1672, Leiden, Netherlands), physician, physiologist, anatomist, and chemist who is considered the founder of the seventeenth-century iatrochemical school of medicine, which held that all phenomena of life and disease are based on chemical action. His studies helped shift medical emphasis from mystical speculation to a rational application of universal laws of physics and chemistry. Sylvius has been credited with the discovery (1641) of the deep cleft (Sylvian fissure) separating the temporal (ventral), frontal, and parietal (posterodorsal) lobes of the brain.]

22 [cf. Galen, On the Usefulness of the Parts of the Body (De Usu Partium) [translated from the Greek, with an introduction and commentary by May Margaret Tallmadge], Ithaca (New York): Cornell University Press, 1967, 2 vols.]

23 [Foramen ovale, an opening in the partition between the two upper chambers (atria) of the heart that is normal before birth and that normally closes at birth or shortly thereafter.]

24 [Choanoid, a funnel-shaped, applied particularly to a hollow muscle attached to the ball of the eye in many reptiles and mammals.]

25 [Hieronymus Fabricius ab Aquapendente, see Lesson 9, note 38.]

26 [William Harvey (born 1 April 1578, Folkestone, Kent; died 3 June 1657, Roehampton, Essex), a leading English physician of the first half of the 17th century who achieved fame by his conclusive demonstration of the true nature of the circulation of the blood and the function of the heart as a pump. Functional knowledge of the heart and the circulation had remained almost at a standstill ever since the time of the Greco-Roman physician Galen – 1,400 years earlier. Harvey’s courage, penetrating intelligence, and precise methods were to set the pattern for research in biology and other sciences for succeeding generations, so that he shares with William Gilbert, investigator of the magnet, the credit for initiating accurate experimental research throughout the world.]

27 [For Galen and Hippocrates, see Coxe (John Redman), The Writings of Hippocrates and Galen [epitomised from the Original Latin translations, by Redman John], Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston, 1846, 681 p.)]

28 [see Galen, On the Natural Faculties [with an English translation by John Arthur], London: W. Heinemann; New York [etc.]: D. Appleton and Company, 1916, iv + 339 + [1] p.]

29 [On the Affected Parts or De Locis Affectis, see Galen on the affected parts [translation from the Greek text with explanatory notes by Siegel Rudolph E.], Basel; New York: S. Karger, 1976, x + 233 p.]

30 [The oldest known classification of temperaments is considerably more than 2,000 years old, and the names associated with that classification are still in daily use. It originated with a Greek medical school known as the Hippocratic School, and was based on a theory about the varying proportions of four juices or “humors” in the body. The four liquids were alleged to be blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm. Accordingly, as one or another of these four liquids preponderates, there results the sanguine temperament (blood), choleric temperament (yellow bile), the melancholic temperament (black bile), or the phlegmatic temperament. The sanguine temperament is quick, predisposed to pleasant emotions, but weak, and inclined to change quickly from one interest to another. The choleric temperament is predisposed to anger, and emotionally quick and strong. The melancholic temperament is predisposed to sad emotions, slow and weak. The phlegmatic temperament is slow, lacking in vivacity, but calm and strong. The terms for the temperaments were introduced in the Middle Ages by an Arab physician. In antiquity, the four humors of the body were thought to be analogous to the four world-elements in philosophy, earth, air, fire, and water.]

31 [see Galen, On the properties of foodstuffs [De alimentorum facultatibus / Galen; introduction, translation, and commentary by Powell Owen; with a foreword by Wilkins John], Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003, xxvi + 206 p.]

Table des illustrations

Légende DISSECTION OF THE ORANGUTAN. Engraving from Camper (Petrus), Natuurkundige verhandelingen van Petrus Camper over den orang outang..., Amsterdam: P. Meijer & G. Warnars, 1782, plate 2, p. 120.
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