The Alphabet of Galen: Pharmacy from Antiquity to the Middle by Nicholas Everett

By Nicholas Everett

The Alphabet of Galen is a serious version and English translation of a textual content describing, in alphabetical order, approximately 300 ordinary items - together with metals, aromatics, animal fabrics, and herbs - and their medicinal makes use of. A Latin translation of previous Greek writings on pharmacy that experience no longer survived, it circulated between collections of 'authorities' on medication, together with Hippocrates, Galen of Pergamun, Soranus, and playstation . Apuleius.

This paintings offers fascinating linguistic gains, together with differently unattested Greek and Latin technical phrases and specified pharmacological descriptions. Nicholas Everett offers a window onto the medieval translation of historical

science and medieval conceptions of pharmacy. With a entire scholarly equipment

and a contextual creation, The Alphabet of Galen is an incredible source for

understanding the richness and variety of clinical history.

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On which see Dickson, ed. and trans. 1998. Stephanus also wrote a commentary on Hippocrates’ Prognosticon (ed. and trans. , and wrote another commentary on Aphorisms (ed. Westerink 1984). Some questions remain about whether ‘Agnellus’ is a corruption of an eastern/Alexandrian name (Angeleo, Anquilaos: see Irvine and Temkin 2003) and whether the text itself is merely a Latin translation of an Alexandrian commentary: parts of the same syllabus were translated into Syriac as early as the sixth century.

Arguably, however, this took place after Cassiodorus’s career as a functionary in Ravenna (c. 500–40). For after his monastic retirement in Calabria, Cassiodorus advised his monks at Vivarium to learn ‘the properties of herbs and study the mixture of drugs carefully,’ and to this end recommended that, in the absence of being able to read Greek: … you have first the Herbal of Dioscorides, who discusses and sketches accurately the plants of the fields. After this, read Hippocrates and Galen translated into Latin, that is, the Therapeutics of Galen addressed to the philosopher Glaucon, and a certain anonymous work that has been collected from various authors, then Caelius Aurelius’ On Medicine, and Hippocrates’ On Plants and Cures, and various other works written on the art of medicine that with the Lord’s aid I have left to you in the recesses of our library.

On Galen’s De medendi methodo and commentaries, Peterson 1974. 47 PItal. 35, ed. ’ The term schola (‘corporation,’ ‘guild,’ ‘community’) may have a military application here: Brown 1984, 77, 185. 48 Evidence such as this has prompted arguments for Ravenna as the location responsible for several other Latin medical works that reflect translations from Greek, such as the Latin Alexander (of Tralles), Rufus of Ephesus (De podagra), and Hippocratic works in various guises, such as the De observantia ciborum, as well as Latinate compilations such as the Physica Plinii.

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