The Prince of Medicine by Susan P. Mattern
Galen in the Roman Empire

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Synopsis

Galen of Pergamum (A.D. 129 - ca. 216) began his remarkable career tending to wounded gladiators in provincial Asia Minor. Later in life he achieved great distinction as one of a small circle of court physicians to the family of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, at the very heart of Roman society. Susan Mattern's The Prince of Medicine offers the first authoritative biography in English of this brilliant, audacious, and profoundly influential figure.
Like many Greek intellectuals living in the high Roman Empire, Galen was a prodigious polymath, writing on subjects as varied as ethics and eczema, grammar and gout. Indeed, he was (as he claimed) as highly regarded in his lifetime for his philosophical works as for his medical treatises. However, it is for medicine that he is most remembered today, and from the later Roman Empire through the Renaissance, medical education was based largely on his works. Even up to the twentieth century, he remained the single most influential figure in Western medicine. Yet he was a complicated individual, full of breathtaking arrogance, shameless self-promotion, and lacerating wit. He was fiercely competitive, once disemboweling a live monkey and challenging the physicians in attendance to correctly replace its organs. Relentless in his pursuit of anything that would cure the patient, he insisted on rigorous observation and, sometimes, daring experimentation. Even confronting one of history's most horrific events- a devastating outbreak of smallpox-he persevered, bearing patient witness to its predations, year after year.
The Prince of Medicine gives us Galen as he lived his life, in the city of Rome at its apex of power and decadence, among his friends, his rivals, and his patients. It offers a deeply human and long-overdue portrait of one of ancient history's most significant and engaging figures.
 

About Susan P. Mattern

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Susan P. Mattern is Professor of History at the University of Georgia and the author of Rome and the Enemy: Imperial Strategy in the Principate, Galen and the Rhetoric of Healing, and (with Robin W. Winks) The Ancient Mediterranean World: From the Stone Age to A.D. 600.
 
Published May 23, 2013 by Oxford University Press, USA. 365 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Professional & Technical, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Prince of Medicine

Publishers Weekly

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In this meticulous and engaging biography, University of Georgia history professor Mattern (Galen and the Rhetoric of Healing) writes that Galen, a Greek aristocrat of great ambition and dazzling int

May 20 2013 | Read Full Review of The Prince of Medicine: Galen...

The Spectator

A 14th-century French edition of Galen illlustrates the proper bedside manner.

Sep 14 2013 | Read Full Review of The Prince of Medicine: Galen...

Mattern (history, Univ. of Georgia; Rome and the Enemy) presents an engaging biography of Galen of Pergamum (circa 130–212 C.E.), a Greek who practiced medicine and philosophy in the Roman-dominated Mediterranean, first rising to fame at home in Asia Minor before becoming preeminent in Rome durin...

Jun 15 2013 | Read Full Review of The Prince of Medicine: Galen...

Mattern (history, Univ. of Georgia; Rome and the Enemy) presents an engaging biography of Galen of Pergamum (circa 130–212 C.E.), a Greek who practiced medicine and philosophy in the Roman-dominated Mediterranean, first rising to fame at home in Asia Minor before becoming preeminent in Rome durin...

Jun 15 2013 | Read Full Review of The Prince of Medicine: Galen...

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