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product of Rome™s empire and not participate in it? As already indicated,
the argument in this chapter is a different one, in respect to both Galen and
the empire in which he operates. Galen may come from Pergamum and
remain committed to his essentially Greek cultural and ethical formation,
even use it as a basis for his criticisms of the contemporary Roman world, but
none of that prevents him from utilising Rome™s empire also, from drawing
on its material and ideative resources, its scope and structure, in creating,
organising and selling his own medical system. There is, moreover, no
contradiction here, though there may be tensions and slippages. These kinds
of interactions are, rather, constitutive of the Roman imperial project itself;
in all their complexity, their multiplicity of perspective and emphasis.15
These, then, are the themes that will be explored further in this essay,
explored in particular as they emerge around and through questions of
order, both in Galen™s individual works and in his oeuvre as a whole. For,
to ¬nd the Roman Empire in the contents of the Pergamene™s writings, in
the peoples and territories, medical materials and foodstuffs, diseases and
cures, referred to and described therein, is too easy and obvious. The claim
is rather that speci¬c patterns of empire, the signs of an imperial order
that goes beyond simple geography, can be found in, and across, his works.
Those patterns do also possess a particular cultural in¬‚ection, for Galen™s
Greek identity and attitudes are not irrelevant here; it is just that they do not
allow him to stay detached from the Roman Empire; rather they provide
a particular trajectory of involvement, which needs to be examined as part
of the overall package.

th e order i n th e b oo ks
The methods of organisation and structure adopted in particular texts
and treatises, and the re¬‚ections on arrangement they contain, will now

13 As emphasised in the introduction (esp. pp. 3“6); and see also for more thoroughgoing ˜imperial™
approaches to the Greek literature of the ¬rst few centuries ce, Schmitz (1997) and Whitmarsh
(2001).
14 Swain (1996) 411.
15 As Pliny also demonstrates, for example, with his reliance on, and his manipulation of, Greek
knowledge: see, e.g., Beagon (1992); and also Murphy (2004).
248 reb ecc a fle mm i ng
be analysed in detail, before returning to the ordering of the cumulative
whole at the end. The focus here will be on the major tracts, those covering
expansive and complex topics, and comprising multiple books; thus posing
rather more acute organisational and presentational challenges than a single,
narrowly focused book or booklet. While most of the works in Galen™s vast
output come in at three books or under, there are plenty that exceed this,
with the most voluminous being the monumental forty-eight books of The
words in Attic prose-works, now lost.16 More durable have been the seventeen
books On the usefulness of parts, the ¬fteen On anatomical procedures, and
the fourteen On the therapeutic method, to mention just a few.
From the surviving large-scale works, as well as indications about those no
longer extant, it is possible to discern four main approaches to their overall
ordering, although given both the practical exigencies of ancient literary
production and Galen™s personal predilections, there are always tendencies
to disorder operating within, and against, the overarching plan and structure
of any of his output. For example, the use of book rolls and dictation, not
to mention the lengthy time intervals between the completion of different
portions of some treatises, all militate against total coherence.17 Similarly,
Galen™s tendency to digress, to follow a current train of thought through,
regardless of its precise contextual ¬t or relevance, and to pursue polemical
points at the expense of positive argumentative clarity or development,
take their toll too. Nonetheless, the underlying patterns are reasonably
clear.
The ¬rst order is corporeal. The classic head-to-toe presentation is not
Galen™s primary organisational mechanism for anatomical or physiological
knowledge itself, though some of the more speci¬c or introductory works,
such as On the dissection of the nerves and On the dissection of the muscles,
come close, and there is a certain downwards drift in other texts too. But it is
employed to structure pathological and therapeutic material. Diseases may
be arranged according to the somatic location they af¬‚ict, or are seated in,
as On the affected parts (in six books) demonstrates. A remedial counterpart
to this is the eleven-volume compendium On the compounding of drugs
according to places (kata topous). The second approach to order is more
categorical or thematic, adopting a framework from a way of breaking

16 Mentioned at Ord. lib. prop. 5 and Lib. prop. 17 (SM ii 90.6“9 and 124.7“8).
17 Galen refers to a couple of works he dictated to tacheographers sent by the parties who wanted a
record of the discourse in question (e.g., at Praen. 5.19“20 (CMG v 3,1 98.27“100.1) and Lib. prop. 1
(SM ii 95.21“96.1)); and, though he makes no such comments about his regular working practices,
it is impossible to believe that he could have been so proli¬c without the kind of secretarial support
employed by, for example, Pliny the Elder (Plin. Ep. 3.5).
Galen™s imperial order of knowledge 249
up the world (or medicine) that is not based so directly on the human
body. Thus, the companion tract to On the compounding of drugs according
to places is that ˜according to kind™ (kata gen¯ ): that is, according to an
e
internal pharmacological typology which collects together, for example,
all the emplastra (plasters), malagmata (emollients), and akopa (for pain
relief and general refreshment). Diseases also have an internal typology
(indeed typologies), and On the therapeutic method, for instance, operates
with a division between maladies based in the homoeomerous (uniform)
and anhomoeomerous (non-uniform) parts.18
The two other orders are more literary, or at least textual. One takes its
structure from a pre-existing work. This is most obviously the case with
Galen™s ˜phrase-by-phrase™ commentaries on Hippocratic texts (of which a
good number survive), and some philosophical writings; but he also wrote
summaries of, for example, the Anatomical studies of Marinus, and Her-
aclides of Tarentum™s seven books On the empiric sect.19 The latter appar-
ently took a polemical approach, and other lost but decidedly hostile tracts
may well have followed a pattern of roughly ˜phrase-by-phrase™ refutation.
Indeed, within the extant section of Galen™s oeuvre, large portions of On
the doctrines of Hippocrates and Plato are dedicated to systematic argument
against the Stoic scholarch Chrysippus™ works On the soul, and On affec-
tions, as well as the promised engagement with the teachings of Galen™s
twin heroes, Plato and Hippocrates; while On the natural faculties pursues
a sustained critique of Erasistratus™ physiology; and it is widely believed
that much of his very extensive writing on the pulse is based on that of
his, heavily criticised but also heavily relied on, recent predecessor, Archi-
genes of Apamea (whose career at Rome peaked in the reign of Trajan).20
The second order under this heading is alphabetical (kata stoicheion), an
arrangement adopted in most of the books of On the mixtures (kraseis) and
properties (dynameis) of simple drugs that actually list the simples themselves,
as well as in his Hippocratic glossary and (presumably) the lost lexical works,
including all forty-eight volumes on words used by Attic prose-writers.21 As


18 The homoeomeries are those which divide into like pieces, such as blood, bone and arteries, while
the anhomoeomeries are not so divisible and include compound parts and organs such as the hand,
eye, heart and liver. See, e.g., MM 1.6 for a rough explanation, and also 2.6 for the associated
pathological schema (x 48 and 125“6 K).
19 On Galenic exegesis see Flemming (forthcoming); and these abridgements appear at Gal. Lib. prop.
3 and 9 (SM ii 104.12“13 and 115.14“15) respectively.
20 On Galen and Chrysippus see Tieleman (1996) and (2003); and on Galen and Archigenes see
Wellmann (1895).
21 As suggested at Gal. Ord. lib. prop. 5 (SM ii 89.13“15).
250 reb ecc a fle mm i ng
an order of words, the alphabet has more obvious appeal than as an order
of things; but it can, and is, applied to both.
The work on simples also clearly illustrates that more than one mode of
organisation may be employed in a single, large-scale, literary enterprise. Its
¬rst ¬ve books lay the foundations of Galenic pharmacology in a methodical
fashion: ¬rst demonstrating the fallacies and inadequacies of all current
approaches to the subject, then expounding the basic building blocks of
the system that is to replace them. This exposition begins by establishing
that everything in the world is composed of the same four elements, which
then combine to produce the humours (in a certain balance or mixture, that
is krasis) in the human body on the one hand, and properties (dynameis)
inherent in their mixture (krasis) in other things in the world “ such as
plants, earths, stones and animals “ on the other.22 These dynameis can
then be grouped in relation to their effect on the human body, through its
own mixture of humours: primarily according to whether they are heating
or cooling, drying or moistening; and secondarily according to whether
they are purgative or productive, softening or hardening, and so forth.
Next the things themselves, the external items that can be brought to bear,
medically, on the human body, can be organised. The ¬rst partition is
basically threefold, more or less into the customary categories of animal,
vegetable and mineral. The plants then proceed strictly alphabetically (in
books 6 to 8), while the minerals (in book 9) and animals (in books 10
and 11) take a more varied course. So, for example, earths are followed by
stones, according to their own internal classi¬cation, but then come metals
kata stoicheion. The animal items also initially follow their own typology
(rather messily), but revert to alphabetical listing for the ˜things generated
from the sea™ right at the end.23
Similarly, the works on compound pharmaka, that is those compounded
out of numerous simples, comprise a primary structure, as their respective
titles announce, and a secondary one, which is more textual in nature. So,
within the overall arrangement by ˜place™ or ˜kind™, existing pharmacological
works are excerpted and reorganised, with some Galenic comment, in the
way Galen sees ¬t. Thus, in the books on akopa in On the compounding of
drugs according to kinds, for example, chapters will be introduced along the
lines of ˜akopa and myrakopa (that is with myrrh as an ingredient) recorded

22 For a summary of the fundamentals of Galenic pharmacology see, e.g., Scarborough (1984); and for
a more detailed analysis see Harig (1974).
23 Gal. SMT 10.1 and 11.2 (xii 247 and 369“77 K); as Barnes (1997) notes, however, this last alphabeti-
sation is only by ¬rst letter, and is more error-prone than the others, which are pretty systematically
up to the third letter (10 n. 15).
Galen™s imperial order of knowledge 251
by Asclepiades Pharmakion in his fourth book On external (drugs)™, and
contain a whole sequence of recipes taken from that source, some of which
may themselves have been borrowed from elsewhere.24 In much the same
way, the much briefer treatise On my own books, as mentioned, begins with
a chronological or biographical listing of his literary products, and then
turns to a more thematic mode of organisation.
It is also worth returning to the compositional complexities of On the
doctrines of Hippocrates and Plato already alluded to, for these indicate the
way in which more practical exigencies, and social and political consider-
ations, operate to shape Galen™s work, at least as he tells it. The original
opening of the treatise is lost, which adds to the dif¬culties in trying to
follow its structure; but, in On my own books, Galen explains that he com-
menced writing it at the urging of the consular Flavius Boethus, a man who
combined high political of¬ce with philosophical commitments (in his case
Peripatetic).25 Boethus was an important supporter of Galen in his ¬rst stay
at Rome (between 162 and 166 ce), forming a crucial part of the audience
¬rst for his oral performances and anatomical demonstrations, and then,
following on from that, for his textual disquisitions and displays, initially
(it appears) just as an addressee and subsequently as commissioner.26 His
household also bene¬ted from Galen™s prowess as a medical practitioner
on more than one occasion, as he proudly recounts in On prognosis.27
With his wealth and class combined with culture and learning, Boethus is
exactly the type of man Galen wanted to attract the attention and favour
of, particularly in the early stages of his career in the imperial capital:
the type of man who would (allegedly) request a work demonstrating the
congruence and correctness of the views of Plato and Hippocrates on the
powers that govern the human being, their number, nature and location.
Boethus, however, took only the ¬rst six books of this heavyweight literary
project with him when he left Rome to govern his native Syria Palestina
(as well as the ¬rst book of On the usefulness of parts), where he died. Galen
too left Rome, for his own reasons, and it was only some time after his
return to the city where he was now, basically, going to spend the rest of
his long life, that he added the ¬nal three books that were to complete
the work.

24 Gal. Comp. med. gen. 7.12 (xiii 1009“32 K). This compilatory process is analysed in detail by Fabricius
(1972), who also provides biographies and bibliographies for all the major authorities Galen uses,
such as this Asclepiades (another reasonably recent “ late-¬rst century ce “ predecessor, and not to
be confused with Asclepiades of Bithynia).
25 Gal. Lib. prop. 1 (SM ii 96.19“24; and see also 94.16“26 on Boethus).
26 27 Gal. Praen. 7“8 (CMG v 3,1 104.24“116.23).
For more details see Nutton (1973).
252 reb ecc a fle mm i ng
Given that about ten years must have elapsed between starting and ¬nish-
ing the project it is not surprising that these last volumes are on somewhat
different, though certainly related topics to the earlier portion. Galen also
seems to have made some later revisions to the previous parts.28 It is, how-
ever, not just time that serves as a dis-organising force in all this, nor is
Boethus the only individual whose in¬‚uence over the composition of the
work is acknowledged. The main problem is the balance between positive
presentation and polemic, a polemic that always threatens to take its own
course, and often does, leading Galen away from the basic path set down
for this literary enterprise. This imbalance, this tendency to slide into a
systematic refutation of others, and so lose track of his own argument, is
most evident in Books Three and Four of On the doctrines of Plato and
Hippocrates, and is explained in the preamble to the former. He reports
that he was de¬‚ected from his original scheme by an ˜eminent sophist™ who
claimed that it was not possible to refute Chrysippus™ extensive arguments
that only the heart is the source of the ruling power (hegemonikon) of the
soul, and so the human being.29 Galen had considered that he had dealt
with the matter already, as part of his general survey of previous errors on
the subject “ mistakes either of fact or demonstrative method “ in which
Chrysippus had featured, though not exclusively. But he feels forced to rise
to the challenge nonetheless, to complete a more comprehensive demoli-
tion, which takes up book 3, and spills into book 4. It is not clear whether
copies of books 1 and 2 were already circulating, for the anonymous sophist
to react to them in this way, or perhaps more likely, whether Galen was
presenting their arguments orally and was confronted in person, and in
public, so that a response could not be avoided. Either way, Galen again
draws attention to the external forces acting on his output. Friends and
enemies, supporters and detractors, have all contributed, all have their role
to play in the way he constructs his own literary career.
Since previous works play such an important part in the organisation of
Galen™s own, and that might be considered a challenge to the argument for
the operation of a particularly Roman imperial order in them, it is necessary
to examine the precedents that Galen is variously following or departing
from, adapting or rejecting, rather more closely. Such a discussion also
28 This, at least, is the explanation offered by Ilberg for the fact that the ¬rst six books cross-refer to
works only composed later (see P. De Lacy™s introduction to his edition of the PHP (de Lacy (ed.)
(1984)): CMG v 4.1,2 47“8). It is also worth bearing in mind that the fate of the actual books Boethus
took east with him is unclear, so Galen may have been working with something like a ˜draft™ version
when he came to complete the text anyway.
29 Gal. PHP 3.1.7 (CMG v 4.1,2 168.27); and see Rocca (2003) 17“47 for further discussion of the
concept of the hegemonikon and its development.
Galen™s imperial order of knowledge 253
enables some further re¬‚ection on the manner in which Galen establishes
his own patterns, which are then repeated across his oeuvre, reiterated in
different works; and which do enact, both through that repetition and
through their own positive character and content, his fundamental com-
mitment to right method and good order in all things. The organisational
styles already picked out illustrate his orderliness on one level, but there are
deeper patterns too.

th e order b e h i n d th e books
As already mentioned, organisation capite ad calcem was common in a range
of classical medical genres. The results of Herophilus™ systematic anatomical
investigations in early Hellenistic Alexandria, the literary results of all his
dissections and vivisections of human beings, seem to have been arranged
in this manner; and the surviving anatomical summaries from the early
Imperial period also tend to follow this pattern (sometimes taking a double
journey from head to toe, ¬rst on the outside and then the inside).30 This
corporeal system is also employed in the ¬rst part of Scribonius Largus™
Latin pharmacological work, Compounds, written between 44 and 48 ce;
and further informs the prevalent ordering of pathological works in the
¬rst two centuries ce.31 These start from the division between acute and
chronic diseases found (along with the external/internal split) in the Hip-
pocratic Corpus, then work roughly downwards in each category (as was
the Hippocratic practice also).32 Thus, chapters on acute diseases proceed
from phrenitis (by now an illness originating in the head/brain despite its
etymology) to satyriasis or diarrhoea (both ailments involving the lower
parts), and coverage of chronic diseases move from skot¯ma (a head-based
o
dizziness) and severe headache to podagra (gout, and other similar condi-
tions), affections of the womb, and elephantiasis (a skin disease affecting the
whole body, these total conditions were added on to the end of the list).33

30 On Herophilus see von Staden (1989) 138“241; and I would count Rufus of Ephesus, On the naming
of the parts of the human being (133“167) (Daremberg-Ruelle (eds.) (1879)), as well as the relevant
sections of the pseudo-Galenic Introduction and Medical de¬nitions (10“11 and 36“60: xiv 699“720
and xix 358“62 K respectively) among these summaries.
31 Scrib. Comp. 1“162; and see the preface of the edition by Sconocchia (ed.) (1983) for discussion of
the dating (vi“vii).
32 The Hippocratic writers focused on the acute, as in the Regimen in acute diseases, and the internal, as
in On internal affections, but this clearly implies the other half of the pairing also. Rough head-to-toe
orders can be seen in, e.g., On affections, and Diseases II.
33 See Aretaeus, On the signs of acute and chronic diseases (CMG II), the anonymous treatise On acute and
chronic diseases (Anonymi medici De morbis acutis et chroniis) (Garofalo (ed.) (1997)), and Caelius
Aurelianus™ latinisation of Soranus™ On acute and chronic diseases (CML v, 1).
254 reb ecc a fle mm i ng
Therapeutic works might follow these same principles (indeed the same
work might cover diagnosis, aetiology and cure), or be structured around
their own internal typology; which is also true of their pharmacological
sub-set. The initially somatic organisation of Scribonius™ Compounds then
becomes generic, for instance, and Galen clearly draws on both the ˜by
place™ and ˜by kind™ modes of organisation to be found amongst his other
predecessors in the ¬eld of complex drugs.34 Indeed, Archigenes composed
a treatise entitled, On drugs according to kind, while the ¬rst systematic
compounder of drugs, Mantias himself, perhaps produced a topological
correlate in the Hellenistic period.35 In relation to simples, the animal, veg-
etable and mineral division is very widespread, but Galen explicitly states
that in taking an alphabetical approach to ordering his plant-based materi-
als he is imitating Pamphilus™ On plants (Peri botan¯n), though dramatically
o
36
improving the quality of the contents. Pamphilus was a grammarian based
in ¬rst-century ce Alexandria, who was familiar with alphabetisation from
his other lexical and philological activities (as also was Galen of course); but,
despite Galen™s implication to the contrary, it is unlikely that he was the
¬rst to apply the kata stoicheion arrangement to medical materials. Hip-
pocratic lexicography had long co-existed with pharmacological writing
among the Herophileans in Hellenistic Alexandria, so the possibilities of
cross-over were certainly present earlier, and the Suda reports that Bolus
of Mendes™ late third- or early second-century bce work on the sympa-
thies and antipathies of stones was ordered kata stoicheion.37 Moreover, the
author of one of the most important ancient collections of medical materi-
als, Dioscorides of Anazarbus, suggests that alphabetisation was reasonably
common among his more immediate predecessors, those who worked in
the earlier part of the ¬rst century ce; a view supported by the structure of
parts of the Natural history of Pliny the Elder.
In outlining how his work will surpass its predecessors in terms of cov-
erage, accuracy, reliability, precision and order, Dioscorides alleges:
Mistakes were also made in the organisation of their material [i.e., that of Sextius
Niger and the rest], some throwing together incompatible properties, others using
a kata stoicheion arrangement which splits off genera and properties from what
most resembles them. The result is almost impossible to memorise as a whole.38
34 Scrib. Comp. 163“271.
35 On Archigenes see Fabricius (1972) 198“9; and on Mantias see Gal. SMT 6 pr. (xi 795 K) and von
Staden (1989) 515“18.
36 Gal. SMT 6 pr. (xi 792 K).
37 Von Staden (1989) 445“62 on the Herophileans; Suda s.v. Bˆ los Mendˆsios; and see for recent
o e
discussion of the problems with Bolus™ dates and output, Dickie (1999).
38 Dioscorides, De materia medica pr. 3 (i 2.11“15) (Wellmann (ed.) (1906“14)).
Galen™s imperial order of knowledge 255
Sextius Niger was a Roman citizen who composed medical texts in Greek
in the ¬rst decades of the ¬rst century ce, and ˜the rest™ are presumably
his colleagues among the ˜neoi™, the recent writers on the subject who,
Dioscorides claims, are prone to different kind of errors than the ˜archaioi™,
their more distant, Hellenistic, ancestors, such as Heraclides of Tarentum
and Crateuas the Rootcutter.39 Whether Niger himself was among the
alphabetisers or not, kata stoicheion organisation clearly extends well beyond
Pamphilus, even at this juncture. A point also supported by the fact that the
¬nal book of botanical medical materials in Pliny™s Natural history contains
an almost alphabetical sequence, some of its deviations indicating a Greek
origin.40 Dioscorides further demonstrates that the organisation of medical
knowledge, in particular the organisation of the proliferating knowledge
about medically effective things in the widening world, was a topic of debate
and dispute, part of the ongoing competition between ancient physicians
for prestige and patients, authority and audience.
Galen must have been aware of this, and indeed of Dioscorides™ position
within the debate, for the Anazarbite was one of the main sources he used in
his collection of simples in On the mixtures and properties of simple drugs, and
he is cited elsewhere also. However, Galen makes surprisingly little reference
to the points of organisational dispute themselves. In the preamble to
book 6 he contrasts Dioscorides™ globalising work, in which all medical
materials are included within a single text, with the more speci¬c, thematic,
texts of, for example, Mantias; but he says nothing about matters of internal
structure.41 His own claim that a kata stoicheion order ˜is necessary™ for this
material is never actually substantiated or supported.42 Moreover, it seems
to contradict both some of his general principles and some of the more
particular points made in the work itself. Galen has a basic commitment,
for example, to ordering according to physis rather than nomos, that is
according to real and meaningful distinctions in the world not conventional
categorisations; a commitment that is related to his views on the fallibility
of language and problems of terminology.43 This principle is articulated in
the ¬rst ¬ve books of On the mixtures and properties of simple drugs, indeed
it is encapsulated in the title itself, and various linguistic challenges are also
explicitly recognised. Furthermore, Pamphilus appears as a very unlikely
exemplar; one that Galen has nothing good to say about.

39 Dioscorides, De materia medica pr. 1“2 (i 1.4“2.5) (Wellmann (ed.) (1906“14)); Niger™s Greek medical
writings are included in Pliny™s listing of home auctores for books 20“34 of the Natural history.
40 41 Gal. SMT 6 pr. (xi 794“5 K). 42 Gal. SMT 6 pr. (xi 792 K).
See Daly (1967) 35“6.
43 See, e.g., Hankinson (1994); and also Barnes (1997).
256 reb ecc a fle mm i ng
In so far as Galen does set out to justify his catalogue of materials, and
does assert its superiority over its precedents and rivals, he does so in terms of
content rather than structure. His is best on account of having the greatest
coverage without compromising the entry criteria; while Pamphilus (and
also Xenocrates of Aphrodisias) have been much less discerning, demon-
strating a woeful lack of judgement as they include, ˜old wives™ tales™, ¬‚ashy
but useless ˜Egyptian sorcery™ (go¯tia), and foolish incantations to mutter
o
44
while collecting the herbs.
Much, therefore, of Galen™s organisational style could actually be sub-
sumed under a broader ˜textual™ heading. Most of his works mentioned so far
have literary precedents and are structured along established lines; though
Galen has amended and combined, altered and reworked those models in
various ways and to varying degrees. He has also consistently expanded
the material encompassed within any given medical domain or genre. His
treatises tend to surpass their predecessors in size, and, if not, that may be
because he treats the same topic in more than one text. The monumental
works on compound pharmacology demonstrate these points particularly
clearly. The early Imperial period witnessed a growth in this area, both in

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