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terms of the number of collections of compound recipes put into circulation
and the number of books comprising each collection.45 None, however, can
match Galen™s eighteen-book total in this area, in which everything useful
from these previous efforts has been included, within a clearer, more com-
prehensive and systematic, structure: also borrowed, but also improved.46
That empire lies behind this growth as it leads up to, and peaks with, Galen
is obvious. The physicians who composed these collections all worked in
Rome (some “ Galen among them “ attended on the imperial court),
and they all drew on the vast resources of the empire in their composi-
tions. Ingredients from right across the Roman world, and from Rome™s
trade with places beyond her borders, appear in many rich and complex
remedies. So, for example, a malagma Galen takes from the writings of
Andromachus the Younger (another medical ¬gure of late-¬rst century ce
Rome), brings together Tyrrhenian wax, Illyrian iris, Cilician saffron and

44 Gal. SMT 6 pr. (xi 792 and 797“8 K).
45 The names attached to such collections between Augustus and Galen include not only those of
Archigenes, Asclepiades and Scribonius Largus, already mentioned, but also Heras of Cappadocia,
the two Andromachi (Elder and Younger) and Crito, to list just the most important (see Fabricius
(1972) for fuller listings); and while it is hard to prove that they were more proli¬c than their
Hellenistic predecessors, few multivolume pharmacological works are de¬nitely attached to the
latter, in contrast to some of their sectarian writings.
46 The closest contender seems to be Asclepiades Pharmakion who probably authored ten books, ¬ve
on external and ¬ve on internal remedies: see Fabricius (1972) 192“8.
Galen™s imperial order of knowledge 257
Indian nard, not to mention more common (but still exotic) items such
as cassia, myrrh and terebinth.47 It is not just diverse materials, but also a
very wide range of people, who are thus gathered together and absorbed,
along with their recipes, into successive compilations. Precise geographical
origins are harder to discern here, but a few more unusual monikers and
ethnics, such as those of the (presumably) Persian Rootcutter, Pharnaces,
and Fabylla the Libyan, appear amongst crowds of mostly Greek, but also
many Roman, names in Galen™s collections.48
The ways in which Galen™s literary compositions reproduce processes
and patterns of empire also, crucially, go beyond their magnitude and con-
tents into matters of structure. For the Roman Empire, like so many of the
texts mentioned, was an essentially cumulative, compilatory, enterprise.
Roughly contiguous territories were accumulated through a series of mil-
itary victories and more peaceful power-plays, and in attaching these new
acquisitions to the centre, constructing a political unity from this diver-
sity, Rome relied heavily on existing patterns of power and governance.
The old orders were not destroyed and created anew, but rather amended
and adapted, re¬gured to ¬t into the overarching structure of Roman rule.
This, moreover, was the traditional approach to ancient empire building,
in which one of the main effects of conquest on local administrations was
that they became integrated into a larger whole, rather than being radically
transformed in themselves. Of course, that should not imply that nothing
changed: this process of integration and reordering through compilation
can be transformative in its own way, so long as it proceeds with a reasonably
clear and coherent overall structure.
Now Rome™s empire was a larger, and in various ways a more consid-
ered, compilation than any other; incorporating more diverse material as it
stretched west as well as east, not to mention north and south, and struc-
turing it according to its own unifying system, and in its own style. Part
of what was distinctive about that style and system was its inclusiveness,
the relative openness of both its politcical and cultural formations. There
were limits to this inclusiveness and openness, of course, most strongly on a
social level “ imperial inclusion was a much more horizontal phenomenon,
operating across local elites, than a vertical one “ but also on a historical
level, as the basic structures were determined, the fundamental principles
of order established, prior to their opening up, at least on an imperial scale.
Still this was a notable feature of Roman imperial rule, as the career of

47 Gal. Comp. med. gen. 7.7 (xiii 985“6 K).
48 Pharnaces: xiii 204 K; Fabylla: xiii 250“1 and 341 K.
258 reb ecc a fle mm i ng
Galen™s patron Boethus illustrates, and Galen too in his own way. For it is
not just that his compositional procedures reproduce processes of empire in
various rather abstract ways; it is not just that Galen™s empire of knowledge
and Rome™s political empire are constructed along the same lines method-
ologically, and so come to resemble each other in terms of size and shape;
but that there is a more positive ideological overlap too, in the rhetoric
and practices of order both employ. This emerges most clearly in some of
Galen™s departures from previous patterns.

b ac k to th e b ooks (a n d t h e b ody )
Galen, then, owes manifold debts to his predecessors, both distant and more
proximate, but some of his claims to structural innovation are also justi¬ed,
particularly in respect to writing about disease and cure in their generality
and totality. Here Galen uses much more actively analytical classi¬cations
than was traditional. This is most obvious in On the therapeutic method,
where he employs his own, distinctive, conceptual categorisation of disease
as the organisational framework; eschewing the customary division between
acute and chronic conditions, and also, to a considerable extent, traditional
disease entities like ˜phrenitis™ or ˜podagra™. Not that these classes and items
have no validity, or utility, but they have no real analytical purchase; they
do not go to the heart of the matter, of what being diseased means, and
what therapeutics are about. So, they ¬‚oat about on the surface of things,
and of his text, rather than contributing to its fundamental structure. On
the affected places shares some of these features too, though the claim to
originality in this case rests with Archigenes, who, according to Galen, was
the ¬rst to treat localised disease ˜systematically™ in his own three books
by the same name; and these diseased localities are ordered roughly head-
to-toe.49 Galen, of course, has twice as many volumes in his text On the
affected places, partly in order to give him space to correct Archigenes™ many
errors.
This leaves, however, the matter of Galen™s anatomy and physiology.
Little has been said so far about the massively proportioned, and vitally
important, works On the usefulness of parts and On anatomical procedures;
except that they do not proceed capite ad calcem, and that the former was
also requested by the consular Boethus. Or, at least, that is the claim made
in On my own books, where it is stated that only the ¬rst book was ready
to accompany Boethus to Syria, while the rest were ¬nished (like On the

49 Gal. Loc. aff. 3.1 (viii 136 K); and see also Cris. 2.8 (145.1“146.6) (Alexanderson (ed.) (1967)).
Galen™s imperial order of knowledge 259
doctrines of Hippocrates and Plato) after Galen™s subsequent return to Rome
in 169 ce.50 A rather different account appears in the opening chapter
of On anatomical procedures, a text which is presented as an expanded and
improved version of two books by the same name also given to the consular
as he travelled East.51 These were mere notebooks, however, containing
records of Galen™s anatomical observations and demonstrations (in which
Boethus and other men of his social and intellectual rank had shared) so far.
This programme of somatic investigation continued despite the departure
of such a keen supporter, so when Galen revisited the subject of anatomy in
literary form some years later, a much more detailed and accurate treatise,
of greater length and clarity, resulted. The completion of On the usefulness
of parts in the meantime “ indeed its completion in time to send, as a whole,
to a still alive and well Boethus, in this version of events “ also contributed
to the shape and structure of On anatomical procedures.
Whichever account is to be believed, the connection between the two
major works is a clear and crucial one, and the most immediate impact
of On the usefulness of parts on On anatomical procedures, as Galen himself
emphasises, is precisely on its order. The original anatomical pairing had
taken their arrangement (taxis) from the books of Marinus, which Galen
had already epitomised (in four books); but the new improved version
will instead follow that of On the usefulness of parts, and so begin with the
hand.52 Before turning to the various reasons Galen gives for this point
of departure, it is worth saying a bit more about Marinus and the early
Imperial intellectual and bibliographical trends he represents. For Marinus,
active around the turn of the ¬rst into the second century ce, and perhaps
based in Alexandria, is a key ¬gure in the medical world of the Roman
Empire, certainly for Galen, but also more widely. Galen credits him with
reviving, or recovering, the study of anatomy, which had been in a state of
neglect since the early Hellenistic era, meaning that Marinus revived the
actual practice of dissection and vivisection (albeit on animal rather than
human subjects), and pursued a systematic project of investigation into
the body through such methods.53 There is little independent evidence
to corroborate Galen™s claims about Marinus, but all that survives of his
anatomical studies “ that is the book-by-book outline provided by Galen
as he describes his own abridgment of the text, and his scattered references
to more concrete matters of content “ indicates that here is expansion and
elaboration, not summary and consolidation, of the canonical doctrines

50 51 Gal. AA 1.1 (ii 216“18 K). 52 Gal. AA 1.3 (ii 234 K).
Gal. Lib. prop. 1 (SM ii 96.19“24).
53 Gal. PHP 8.1 (CMG v 4.1,2 480.28“30); and see Rocca (2003) 42“6 for further discussion.
260 reb ecc a fle mm i ng
of Herophilus and Erasistratus.54 The magnitude of Marinus™ undertaking
(his Anatomical books were twenty in number), along with its innovative
organisation (de¬nitely not capite ad calcem “ it begins, somatically, with
the skin), and the points of positive contribution to anatomical knowledge
Galen picks out, all suggest an ambition to outstrip, both quantitatively
and qualitatively, what had gone before.
Marinus™ in¬‚uence is also demonstrated by his pupils, most prominent
among whom were Quintus and Numisianus. They took up the anatomical
baton, and passed it on to their own students in turn: men who were in some
cases Galen™s teachers, in others his antagonists, those whose dominant
position in the ¬eld Galen wished to seize for himself.55 The physician
whom he most wanted to depose, and replace, in this respect was Lycus of
Macedon, who seems to have died just before Galen arrived in Rome, but
who left behind a set of anatomical texts that were widely considered to
embody the current state of the art.56 Part of Lycus™ appeal was his direct
pedagogical descent from Marinus “ via Quintus “ but Galen accuses
him of squandering that inheritance, indulging in a kind of negligent and
degenerative plagiarism.57 He is reliant on the words of the master, but
managed to introduce numerous errors and omissions none the less. Still,
Galen deemed it worthwhile to epitomise Lycus, Anatomical books (nineteen
in number), and to adumbrate their contents in On my own Books, before
going on to list his works On what Lycus did not know about anatomy, and
On differences from Lycus on anatomy.58 This outline serves to show that,
while Lycus returned to the head-to-toe principle, he added descriptions
of ˜the dissection of the uterus of a dead woman in which there is a foetus™,
as well as books on the anatomy of the newborn.59
In ¬nding his own physiological order, therefore, Galen is reacting
against Lycus as well as absorbing and surpassing Marinus. Neither capite
ad calcem, nor Marinian, structure was permissible, though he certainly
includes accounts of the dissection of pregnant goats in On anatomical pro-
cedures, and also utilises Marinus™ more thematic approach to organisation
54 Gal. Lib. prop. 3 (SM ii 105.22“108.14, with the lacuna in the Greek ¬lled in the Arabic, see Boudon
(2002) which includes an English translation; and, e.g., AA 9.3 (ii 716 K) and Nerv. diss. 5 (ii 837 K).
55 See, e.g., Gal. AA 1.1 and 8.3 (2.217“18 and 660 K).
56 On Lycus™ reputation in Rome see e.g. Lib. prop. 2 (SM ii 101.26“102.10).
57 Gal. AA 14.1 (i 232.14“233.5) (Simon (ed.) (1996)).
58 This section of Lib. prop. is preserved only in Arabic, see Boudon (2002) 16“17 for an English
translation.
59 The translation is Boudon™s. Despite the phrasing of the headings, which could be taken to imply
not only adult human dissection, but also dissection and vivisection of human children, Galen™s
subsequent discussion refers only to animal dissection and vivisection, mostly of goats (see AA 12.3“6;
i 144.15“154.7) (Simon (ed.) (1906)).
Galen™s imperial order of knowledge 261
(Marinus™ text, for example, treats the skin and ¬‚esh, and veins and arteries,
separately, as global rather than local entities). There are some borrowings
and reworkings then, but within a distinct overall architecture: an expanded
architecture that took the Imperial revival in anatomy further into phys-
iology (the two were always entwined in antiquity), by producing this
interlocked pair of heavyweight texts “ thirty-two books in total “ and
so really dominating this territory; and an architecture that is essentially
ideological in its approach to the ordering of knowledge about the human
body and its functioning, an approach that has much in common with the
ordering of empire.
So Galen explains, and emphasises, in the opening sequence of On the
usefulness of parts. Just as each living thing is a unity in the sense that it
has clear borders, is not joined to any other living thing, so also are the
parts (moria) of which it is composed. Except that these parts “ such as the
eye, nose and tongue “ though having their own boundaries, having their
own integrity, are also joined up, joined together to make the whole living
thing of which they comprise the parts. These parts are varied in type and
size, but the usefulness (chreia) of each is related to, depends on, the soul
(psych¯ ): for ˜the body is the instrument (organon) of the soul™.60 Living
e
things with different souls will, accordingly, diverge with respect to their
parts. So, the horse has strong hooves and a handsome mane to ¬t the swift
and proud character of its soul, and the ¬erce lion has teeth and claws while
the timid hare is quick but defenceless in its bodily form; but what about
man? Man is clever (sophos), and even more decisively, shares in the divine
(theion), so Nature (physis) provided him with hands, the best instrument
in peace and war. He has no need for teeth or claws, for wielding a sword
or spear is much more effective. Nor does he require speed, since, with his
skilful hands, he has tamed the horse, which provides not only a means of
escape but also a strong position for attack. Indeed, additional protection
is offered by the fashioning of clothes and armour, the building of houses
and forti¬cations; while the construction of hunting nets and ¬sh traps
demonstrates his lordship of all the creatures of land, air and water. The
hands of peaceful (eir¯nikoi) and social (politikoi) human beings, moreover,
e
write laws, raise altars and statues to the gods, build ships, make ¬‚utes,
¬re-tongs and all other instruments of the arts. They even (and perhaps
most importantly) compose works about the arts (technai), record their
re¬‚ections on, and theories of, various crucial areas of human activity in
writing.

60 Gal. UP 1.2 (i 1.13“14) (=Helmreich (ed.) (1907“9)).
262 reb ecc a fle mm i ng
It is not, therefore, that man is the most intelligent of the animals because
of his hands (as Anaxagoras had argued); but that, because of his superior
intellect he has hands. Indeed, it is the combination of hands and reason
that is vital, it is their conjunction that has produced the technai and all
other human accomplishments. Rationality, as Galen puts it, ˜is an art for
the arts in the soul™, while the hand, ˜is an instrument (organon) for the
instruments in the body™.61 Furthermore, the hand is ideally constructed
for this purpose, with its opposable thumb, its ¬‚exible ¬ngers, its delicacy
and strength and so on. The detailed elaboration of the hand™s excellence
takes up the rest of the ¬rst book, except for the closing paragraph, in which
Galen outlines how the work will now proceed.62 There will, he says, be
movement from hand to arm in the next book, then he will ˜explain the
skill of Nature (physis) displayed in the legs™, before advancing to the organs
of nutrition, then of the pneuma (warm air that has become integrated into
somatic functioning), reaching the head in Books eight and nine. More
detailed discussion of the eyes and vision, then the rest of the face, will
follow, with a journey down and then up the spine to the shoulders in
books 12 and 13. The next pair of books cover the generative parts and pelvis;
while the sixteenth broadens out to encompass the instruments common
to the whole body “ the arteries, veins and nerves “ and the ¬nal book
is labelled ˜an epode™, where all the parts, of body and text, are brought
together, the overall utility of both is expounded. For the work itself is
useful not just to physicians and philosophers, but also to all men, who will
be brought into a better understanding of themselves and their universe by
reading it. In particular, they will be brought into an appropriately pious
attitude towards ˜the power responsible for usefulness itself™.63
The journey around the human body that On the usefulness of parts
describes does, therefore, possess a certain geographical logic: arms, legs,
up the torso to the head then down the spine to the pelvis, with two
general, totalising books to round things off after the focused start with
the hand. However, the real architecture of the text, what gives it shape
and structure, is clearly more conceptual and more ideological. It begins
with a de¬nition of the parts in relation to their determining whole, in
relation to the speci¬cally “ rationally, socially, peacefully, intelligently “
ensouled human being, and with an assumption about the existence of a
bene¬cent creative force in the universe “ Nature (or the Demiurge) “ who
61 Gal. UP 1.4 (Helmreich i 6.15“17); cf. Arist. Part. an. 687a7“18.
62 Gal. UP 1.25 (Helmreich i 63.9“64.7).
63 Gal. UP 17.2 (Helmreich ii 449.17“18); and see Frede (2002) for further exploration of the theme
of piety in the UP.
Galen™s imperial order of knowledge 263
has fashioned all living things in accordance with the character and faculties
of their souls; indeed, has made each part not only useful, and appropriate,
but also for the best, absolutely optimally, in terms of the whole.64 Optimal
in more general terms too, for there is a clear hierarchy of beings at work
here also, with man at the top, distinguished sharply from some of his
closest rivals (such as the ape) on occasion.65 The order of the work thus
follows on from these points of cosmic order: that is why it opens with
the hand, why the organs of nutrition, or generation, are grouped together,
that is what makes sense of the sequence, just as the sequence itself makes
sense of man.
˜In On the usefulness of parts my aim was to explain the structure of all
the human organs, as far as concerns the art™, Galen asserts in one of the
many introductory sequences in On anatomical procedures:
In my present work, my aim is twofold; ¬rst that each bodily part, the actions of
which I explained in the former work, may be accurately observed; and second to
promote the proper end of the art.66
The objective of providing the means to see, to observe through dissection,
the explanation of each part™s function and excellence as already described,
clearly involves following the same structure (taxis), as Galen repeatedly
stresses; but this is not just a literary pattern, it re¬‚ects the cosmic order
too, as is also frequently reiterated.67 The hand, as ˜most characteristic™
of man, is the place to start, and the legs ˜naturally™ come next, as the
instrument of man™s distinctive upright posture.68 Then there is a slight
deviation from the established order, as Galen covers the whole anatomy
of the muscles of the head and torso, and then returns to the pattern of
On the usefulness of parts, with a ¬nal, foetal, addition. This signals the
impact of previous works, not his own, on the text, and indeed, there
is a running critique of contemporary anatomical inadequacies through-
out. The reason the muscles receive such treatment, for example, is that,
despite their importance for both understanding the general workings of
the body, and ensuring successful surgical intervention, they are woefully
neglected by current practitioners who deem them unworthy of serious
attention.69
Vigorous polemic and self-promotion are permanent features of the
Galenic project, but so too is the Roman empire, and this comes very clearly

64 On this optimising notion (and its problems) see, e.g., Hankinson (1989).
65 66 Gal. AA 4.1 (ii 415“16 K).
Gal. UP 1.22 (Helmreich i 58.13“59.20)
67 68 Gal. AA 2.3 and 4.1 (ii 291 and 415“16 K).
See, e.g., Gal. AA 1.3, 2.3, 4.1 (ii 234, 291, 417 K).
69 Gal. AA 4.1 (ii 416“19 K).
264 reb ecc a fle mm i ng
to the fore in On the usefulness of parts, ably supported by On anatomical
procedures. Indeed it is possible to ¬gure the former as a discourse about
Empire. Its opening de¬nition of a body part, morion, as something distinct
but joined up with others, something that has its own identity, but within a
wider framework, as it is the whole that determines its function and makes
it useful, works well also for an imperial part, a province. The similarities
are reinforced by the role of the soul in this picture: either in the general,
uni¬ed, form in which it appears in the introductory sections of On the
usefulness of parts, or its more speci¬c, ruling aspect “ hegemonikon “ which
also makes an occasional appearance in the same work. The basic point,
however, is that there is something in charge of all the parts, which has a
somatic location, in the brain in Galen™s view, and provides a kind of cen-
tralised government for the body, as the emperor does for the Empire.70 All
forms of sensation and perception are communicated to the brain through
the sensory (aisth¯tika) nerves, while out along the motor (kin¯tika) or
e e
deliberative (prohair¯tika) nerves goes the signal for voluntary movement,
e
either in response, or just in general. The central site, or source (arch¯ ),
e
of this network, the hegemonikon itself, has to be engaged in this process,
everything has to go through the centre; and it was against this assumption
that the key concept of ˜the re¬‚ex™, the idea that action could start and ¬nish
at the somatic periphery was developed in the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries.71
Patterns of imperial governance seem to be replicated here too, then. The
model of provincial report, or petition, then imperial response, of every-
thing going through the centre, is somatically re-enacted. And though there
are some decentralising, or, more accurately, multifocal tendencies in the
Galenic body, as the brain is not the only bodily arch¯ but is accompanied
e
by at least two others “ the heart which is the source of the arterial system
and the liver which is the source of the venous network “ these can also
be integrated into the imperial vision.72 For it is lower level administrative
activities that are located at these sites: the management of the basic pro-
cesses of nutrition and respiration, for example, the ongoing vitalisation,
and integration of the body, just as the more mundane business of main-
taining the Empire went on outside Rome. Then there is the ¬gure of the

70 The analogy is made explicit by, e.g., Florus (2.14.5“6), who speaks of Augustus establishing his
monarchic rule like that of the soul (anima) over the imperial body (imperii corpus), and on this
notion more widely see McEwen (2003).
71 See Canguilhem (1955).
72 The Ars med. has four archai, with the testicles joining the more standard three, which led to questions
being raised about its authenticity: see Kollesch (1988). Her doubts are answered by Boudon (1996).
Galen™s imperial order of knowledge 265
bene¬cent and powerful creator “ Nature or the Craftsman “ who stands
above all this, who underwrites the coherence and explicability of the entire
system, who gives it meaning, makes sense of it all; that is, who shares some
of the same ideological space as the emperor, and also the gods; as indeed
both creator and ruler are divine. If it is objected that this is to produce
two emperors: the practical rule of the soul has now been displaced by the
ideative domination of the Demiurge, then Galen would agree that this is
a problem. He wanted and tried to bring the two together, to merge or at
least clearly articulate them, in On the formation of the foetus, but found
it dif¬cult, particularly in terms of giving his conceptual understanding
concrete form.73 Moreover, it could also be said that the divisibility of the
emperor as man and god, functional and ¬gurative autocrat, was an issue
in the Roman world more broadly.
Still, these reiterations, echoes, of empire in medical form, should not
be overplayed. The match is not perfect, there is no exact homology, and
many of the key themes and concepts on the medical side, go back not
only to Ptolemaic Alexandria (an imperial capital after all), but as far as
democratic Athens also. The Demiurge is borrowed from Plato, as also the
tripartition of the soul, though many Aristotelian and Stoic ideas and inter-
pretations have also become involved in Galen™s system. The centralised
conceptualisation of somatic function and control, the archai and their
networks, belong originally to Herophilus and Erasistratus, though not
entirely identically. This too has been added to, amended and reshaped,
since: perhaps most importantly through an ongoing engagement with
the pneumatology (though not the cardio-centrism) of the Stoics. Galen™s
version probably owes a particular debt to the Stoicising medical lineage
founded by Athenaeus of Attaleia, and continued by Archigenes of Apamea
(among others), in this respect.74 In neither case does Galen himself bring
much that is new and original to the mix, except in joining them up, in the
particularities of the far more encompassing combination in which they
participate.
But that is to bring things back to the Roman Empire once again, back to
its own processes of formation, organisation and integration. To the Empire
as an essentially synthetic political and cultural production itself, and one
73 Gal. Foet. form.4“5 (CMG v 3,3 78.12“90.26). The question is: how is the generic, cosmic design
and creativity of Physis enacted, realised, individually in the construction of the foetus? The direct

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