P.A. Shamin, Candidate of Historical Sciences, Associate Professor аt the Department
of the History of Medicine, National History and Culturology
I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, The Ministry of Health of the Russian
Federation, Moscow (Russian Federation)
This article concerns the history of the creation of the first fundamental Russian publication on the history of medicine – “The History of Ancient Medicine” by S.G. Kovner, which was published in Kiev in 1878–1888. This publication was one of the first attempts to draw the attention of fellow countrymen (including representatives of the Russian medical community) to the need for studying the history of medicine as a scientific discipline and academic subject. In his research, Kovner paid particular attention to the source base and presented, apparently, a review of literature on the subject that was one of the most comprehensive for Russian historiography of the period. Most of the work is contained in sections that deal with the activities of two classics of ancient medicine – Hippocrates and Galen.
In the section devoted to Galen, his works are divided according to their degree of authenticity; works that Kovner considered not to belong to Galen are itemized. Information on the assembled works of Galen in European languages is presented and sources for Galen’s biography are listed. The author points to the incorrect attribution of some sources. It is demonstrated that there are errors in two Latin sources for Kovner’s bibliography of Galen. In one case, the publication is incorrectly dated and its scientific value is wrongly assessed, while in the second the source is wrongly attributed by Kovner to another author.
Keywords: history of medicine, history of scientific books, Galen, “The History of Ancient Medicine”, S.G. Kovner