History of Medicine


An Open Access Journal

The Venetian editions of Galen of the second half of 16th century as a source of information on the history of medicine

P.A. Shamin, PhD of Historical Science, Associate Professor of the Department

of the History of Medicine, National History and Culturology

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

of the Russian Federation, Moscow (Russian Federation)

Galen’s legacy has recently been viewed, on the one hand, as part of the formation of the general concept of the history of natural sciences, and on the other – as part of the history of philosophy. In this regard, there is a need for a new analysis of Galen’s scientific legacy and his observations in terms of the impact of his works on the formation of European science, as well as their distribution. There are two ways to get an idea of the prevalence of certain medical works in the 12th-17th centuries: analyzing the number of published books by different authors or studying the later published works of a particular author in terms of translation and the creation of annotated editions. The second method is applied to the two editions of the complete works of Galen in the Latin translation issued by the heirs of the Venetian publisher Luca Antonio Giunti in 1565 and 1609. A comparative analysis of these two editions of Galen leads to the conclusion that interest in the scientific heritage of Galen in the 16th-17th centuries was not only high, but also contributed to the search for and the publication of his works which were absent in the first edition. In 44 years more than 20 new texts were introduced into scientific use and an index was compiled for the entire collection of works. The team of translators and commentators consisted of more than 20 scientists from different European countries. Given sufficient materials to compare, such bibliographic analysis techniques allow for the state of research in a particular historical period to be adequately described.

Keywords: history of medicine, history of science books, early printed books, bibliological analysis, Galen

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Published in Vol. 2. №1, 2015


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