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Galen of Pergamum (129–?199/216), physician to the court of the emperor Marcus Aurelius, was a philosopher, scientist, medical historian, theoretician, and practitioner who wrote forcefully and prolifically on an astonishing range of subjects and whose impact on later eras rivaled that of Aristotle. Galen synthesized the entirety of Greek medicine as a basis for his own doctrines and practice, which comprehensively embraced theory, practical knowledge, experiment, logic, and a deep understanding of human life and society.
This volume presents three works of the greatest importance to Galen’s theory and practice of medicine. On Temperaments sets out Galen’s concept of the combination (krasis) of the four elemental qualities (hot, cold, wet, and dry), which is fundamental to his account of the structure and function of the human body and of animal and plant bodies generally, and is in turn essential to his theory of medical practice. The two related works, On Non-Uniform Distemperment and The Soul’s Traits Depend on Bodily Temperament, deal with specific aspects of dyskrasia, which is a disturbance in the combination of these qualities. Appended are two related short treatises, On the Best Constitution of Our Body and On Good Bodily State.