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1 Greek and Roman Patients under Galen’s Gaze: A Doctor at the Crossroads of Two Cultures

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores how Galen viewed his Asian and Roman patients and how he adapted his practice and medical procedures based not only on each patient's social and economic status, but on his or her intellectual acumen and customs as well, through proposing an intelligent and original synthesis of Asian and Roman lifestyles. The variations in climate described by Galen between Rome and Asia Minor, which played such an important role in the difference in the body's constitution, were themselves rarely emphasised and, all things considered, only marginally influenced the differences observed between Greek and Roman patients. Galen offers us the portrait of a full-fledged physician whose medical practice faithfully reflected the complexity of the society of his era and is a valuable testament of the diversity of his patients, who essentially came from a variety of geographical and social backgrounds.

Keywords: Asia Mino; Galen; Greek patients; medical practice; Roman patients



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