History of Medicine


An Open Access Journal

Continuity in the views of Hippocrates and Galen on the nature of the human body

D.A. Balalykin

I.M. Sechenov First Moscow Medical University, The Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation

The essay “In Hippocratis de natura hominis librum commentarii III” helps to clarify the views of Galen on the issues of diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Using the example of this work, medical historians have a clear picture of the succession of Hippocrates’ ideas in the medicine of Galen. This work sheds light on Galen’s views on the physical nature of the human body: According to Galen, a person’s condition is determined by the balance of the four main fluids, and the physical foundation of living creatures is four primary elements. The primary elements are in constant interaction with each other to form a combination that leads to one’s state of health or disease. Hippocrates’ ideas of general pathology, which were developed by Galen, gave a rational explanation for a variety of human diseases. Summarizing the views of Hippocrates, Galen points out that a proper understanding of the facts of compliance or violation of the balance of the primary elements in the human body is impossible without an explanation of these processes, taking into account the microstructure of human tissue, understanding them from the standpoint of the doctrine of homoeomeries. The key to understanding the principles of diseases’ treatment, according to Galen, is the idea of “proportionality” of all vital processes occurring in the human body. It is extremely important to relate Galen’s ideas of universals, established by Aristotle, with origins and properties of human nature.

Keywords: Galen, Hippocrates, Homoeomeries, norm, pathology, proportionality


From 2021

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