Dmitry A. Balalykin
FSSBI “N.A. Semashko National Research Institute of Public Health”
12 Vorontsovo Pole St., building 1, Moscow 105064, Russia
Erasistratus is one of the greatest figures in the history of ancient medicine. He and Herophilos were outstanding physicians, who made a major contribution to the development of medicine. While historians have noted publication of differences in their opinions, they have generally regarded them as belonging to the same, Alexandrian, school of medicine.
The works of Galen are an important source of information on Erasistratus. They indicate that Herophilos and Erasistratus differed in their views on key aspects of medical theory and practice, and that there were two separate strands of medical thought in Alexandria at the time. A comprehensive analysis of Galen’s works enables us to form an idea of the approaches taken by Erasistratus and his followers to practical clinical objectives, while collating the information we have on them allows us to reconstruct his views. In the texts translated into Russian for the publication of Galen’s works, we can trace the agreement between the views of Chrysippus of Knidos and Erasistratus. The evidence we have indicates that Erasistratus’s views formed the basis of the teaching of the Methodic doctors.
In the second part of this article, the author moves on to an analysis and historical/medical commentary on two of Galen’s works: “De Venae Sectione adversus Erasistratum”, and “De Venae Sectione adversus Erasistrateos Romae Degentes”, two of the main sources of information on the celebrated Alexandrian physician of the third century BC. The author puts forward arguments in support of his opinion that Erasistratus’s clinical practice should be seen as the basis of the teaching of the Methodic doctors.
Keywords: history of medicine, ancient medicine, Erasistratus, Methodic doctors