From Democedes to Harvey

Studies in the History of Medicine
Nutton, Vivian
Date published: 
December 1986

In the history of medicine from the Roman Empire up to the Renaissance the figure of Galen is pre-eminent; a study of his works and their influence is therefore crucial to any proper understanding of the subject. The first articles here seek to establish some basic facts about Galen’s career, a matter previously surprisingly neglected, while the final articles examine the 16th-century revival of the Classical tradition among the medical humanists and Galenists such as John Caius and William Harvey. In the middle section of the volume, Dr Nutton is concerned with the place of the physician in society, from antiquity up to Byzantium and the medieval West, discussing such topics as the tax immunities doctors enjoyed, the drug trade, and Pliny’s critique - possibly the most devastating ever written - of contemporary medical practice.