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The Prince of Medicine: Galen in the Roman Empire Hardcover – 25 Jul 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (25 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199605459
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199605453
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.6 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 178,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

In sum, this book is an excellent recourse not only for scholars of Galen, but also for casual readers, undergraduates, and anyone interested in Greek medicine and the culture of the roman period. (Sophia Xenophontos, Latomus)

Susan Mattern's 2008 monograph Galen and the Rhetoric of Healing provided scholars with stimulating perspectives on Roman society, based on the numerous case histories related in Galen's works ... all sections of this book, are lucid and well investigated. Scholars who are not familiar with Mattern's earlier work on Galen, and students of the history of any period and at all levels, will profit greatly from this book. (Christina Kokkinia, Sehepunkte)

A competent, confident and frequently fascinating biography. (The Spectator)

[A] scholarly, gripping and often gory biography. (Andrew Robinson, History Today)

Having read this scholarly, gripping, and often gory biography, one appreciates, exquisitely, the author's conclusion that Galen, though "not necessarily a good man", could still be "a good doctor". (The Lancet)

About the Author

Susan P. Mattern is Professor of History at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. She is the author of a number of books on the ancient world, including Rome and the Enemy: Imperial Strategy in the Principate (1999), Galen and the Rhetoric of Healing (2008), and (as co-author) The Ancient Mediterranean World from the Stone Age to A.D. 600 (2004, also published by Oxford University Press). Aside from her professional interests in classical history, she enjoys rock climbing and yoga, and lives in Athens, Georgia with her two children.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RJP the Book Boy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Oct. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Prince of Medicine by Susan P Mattern

This book is not a medical book but a book on the life and personality of Galen of Pergamum from a historical point of view.

The book reads well and quickly transports the reader back to the time of Galen and his thinking along with the historical background of the time. It looks like he was a larger than life character but also a great thinker and experimenter. In this context the book is part biography and part historical time line but the approach works well and I thoroughly enjoyed it and gained a far better insight into the man I often quote in my own lectures.

I have read many books about Galen but I have found this one to be the most interesting and comprehensive about the man himself. The book contains maps, diagrams and photos to back up the text. The structure and writing style of Susan Mattern is accurate, interesting and entertaining which is a accomplishment in itself. A highly recommended read for any one interested in the man, time period or just wants a good biography to read.
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By Withnail67 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 21 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Roman author Galen has left the most substantial number of manuscripts of any classical author to survive into the modern age. For almost half of the period that Western civilisation has existed, Galen was the dominant medical authority. Readers/audiences of Christopher Marlowe's play Dr Faustus will remember the central position of Galen as one of the mediaeval authorities that Faustus expresses frustration with, listed in the same breath as Aristotle and Justinian. This book does scale in a great service by actually cementing the author firmly within his Roman context. This reviewer was unaware of the importance of Galen's involvement with the treatment of gladiators and the subsequent development of medicine. There is a pleasing structure to the book of biography, which weaves together the substantial litter of fragments that we know of Galen's life, and places it securely in the mid-Roman context. The book is sturdy and attractive and well illustrated, with an especially fascinating illustration for figure 13, of an Islamic manuscript of Galen writing about the eye with a very striking picture. This book definitely wears its academic credentials lightly, and it is an accessible and engaging read, but does perhaps need some experience of reading the classics or some light familiarity with Roman civilisation in order to benefit most fully from its account of the central subject. This is an attractive, quietly intellectual book, which might make a highly suitable gift for a keen reader of history with a medical background.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"The Prince of Medicine: Galen in the Roman Empire" is an interesting account of the life of Galen, a doctor in the Roman Empire around who lived from 130-200AD, who wrote many books on medical issues including treatment and anatomy. His work was later used dogmatically in a way that held back the advance of medicine, but Galen helped to improve medical knowledge when he was alive and helped to save people who might otherwise have died.

Galen spent a lot of time writing and arguing with other doctors and sometimes refuted bad ideas, like the idea that veins carry air rather than blood. He was also a very skilled anatomist, who wrote a lot about where organs fit into the body and that sort of thing. Galen was a skilled surgeon too. He sometimes performed surgery publicly. He would do things like cut open an animal's artery and dare other doctors to sew it back up before the animal died. When the other doctors froze he would do it himself and save the animal. some readers might find this kind of thing distasteful but it illustrates great skill and it is useful to be reminded that people in different times sometimes had very different standard from the ones we have today. The book also explains Galen's response to various problems like the plague and how to practise medicine in places where people are very poor (you have to take advantange of what is available not wish for stuff that isn't available).

The author tries to argue that Galen sometimes anticipated knowledge we have now. This is not always successful and I think the best thing to learn from Galen is that you shouldn't take for granted things that everybody thinks are true or seem obvious.

This book is worth reading as an account of the life and work of an interesting person from a period of history very different to the present.
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By Uenna TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Oct. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is book was as expected very inspiring to read. If you are interested in the history of Medicine, this is one book that should be on your shelf. It tells the story of Galen of Pergamum (ad 129 - ca 216), who began his wonderful medical career tending to wounded gladiators.If you are familiar with the history of Marcus Aurelius you will recognise the name Galen as one of his famous court Physicians. A true pioneer of medicine, he was courageous, intuitive, arrogant but above all determined to find cure for his patients at all cost. He is one of the most influential figures in Western Medicine, aptly titled 'Prince of Medicine'.

It was interesting for me to see the journey of Medicine and its development in comparison to the advances in medical science today. I think most of his thoughts and methods are still valid. Take for instance the concept of 'pulse diagnosis' used very effectively in Eastern Medicine, yet Galen long ago had developed this to a significant height. A subtle diagnostic technique that is not invasive, but extremely useful in diagnosing different internal conditions if one knew how. This is a comprehensive and well written biography, interesting, inspiring and enjoyable to read. I recommend this book on a lot of levels, as an enjoyable historical biography, as a wealth of medical knowledge and innovative ideas and as a great text on the history of Medicine.
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