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involvement of Physis, on the one hand, and control and guidance by the rational soul, on the other,
are the two initially most attractive possibilities, but neither is satisfactory, and Galen is left admitting
uncertainty somewhere between the two, unsure how to link the Demiurge and the controlling,
causative powers in each human being.
74 On Athenaeus and ˜the pneumatikoi™ see, e.g., Nutton (2004) 202“5.
266 reb ecc a fle mm i ng
that fostered further intellectual synthesis within its borders. The develop-
ment of ˜syncretism™, or ˜eclecticism™ “ the pooling of theoretical and con-
ceptual resources, as sectarian boundaries softened (but did not disappear) “
in medicine, philosophy and other ¬elds of knowledge and understanding,
from the ¬rst-century bce onwards, has been much remarked on.75 And
while the earlier, derogatory, interpretations of both the phenomenon itself
and the role of Rome in its appearance have been largely discarded, a sense
of connection between the two persists: Rome, the expansion and consol-
idation of Roman power in the Mediterranean, had some role to play in
making a wider range of options available, concurrently and inclusively, to
those engaged in a whole host of intellectual endeavours, with divergent
approaches. It was, of course, the con¬‚ict between Rome and Mithridates
that broke the line of authoritative descent in the Athenian philosophi-
cal schools, and so disrupted their claims to exclusive ownership of the
ideas, and writings, of their founders and successive lineages. Nor was it
just philosophical authority that was dispersed and re-located at that time;
Actium marked a shift in the centre of medical (and other scholarly) grav-
ity from Alexandria to Rome. More broadly and abstractly, the Roman
Empire (following on from its Hellenistic forerunners) encouraged a kind
of universalism that is clearly re¬‚ected in a variety of intersecting discourses
which ¬‚ourished in the Imperial period. As Rome forged a rough politi-
cal unity from its conquests, it helped to engender a single community of
truth. The diverse sources of information and interpretation it held within
itself, historically, geographically and ideatively, all shared a certain status,
and so could be drawn on, mobilised, in the service of a range of different
systems and projects.76
This was not, of course, a world of equality. Some contributions might
be adjudged to be more successful or useful than others, and the point
was to prioritise, to select, combine and organise, according to individual
allegiances, principles and objectives; but in a more ¬‚exible and inclusive
environment than before. Which is to return the discussion to matters of
order, matters which become more pressing given the scale of this imperial
community of truth; the sense in which the Empire made more resources
available to those involved in generating and mapping knowledge and

75 The now standard study of ˜eclecticism™ is the collection edited by Dillon and Long (eds.) (1988);
see also Sedley (1989); and, e.g., Gill (2003) for discussion of how these terms are now understood
in the context of Roman Stoicism. Galen is an established participant in these ˜eclectic™ evolutions.
76 So, at least, many active in a range of intellectual spheres clearly felt; but there were also dissenters,
continuing partisans of more particular paths to truth, such as Alexander of Aphrodisias, though he
was certainly not entirely unaffected by contemporary trends.
Galen™s imperial order of knowledge 267
understanding concretely, practically, as well as abstractly and ideologi-
cally. Amongst this wealth of imperial resources are, however, organisa-
tional forms, patterns of thought and practice, structures of meaning and
existence, which provide the means to meet these challenges. Galen draws
on, adopts and adapts many of these approaches to order “ old and new,
medically established, or more externally derived “ in his works, and the
contours, the texture, of the Roman Empire can be seen both in some
speci¬c cases, and in this plurality itself. So, there are some distinctly impe-
rial forms of organisation manifest, textual orders which are original to, or
more positively derived from, Rome™s empire, and there is a general revel-
ling in its encompassing power, its gathering up, mixing and maintenance
of multiple traditions.
Moreover, as countless critics of ˜colonial discourse™ in other times and
places have emphasised, this kind of textual participation in the patterns
of empire serves to strengthen imperial rule regardless of actual commit-
ment.77 Even if Galen is just taking his cue, his models and metaphors,
from the way the world is and works, is simply utilising the available
means of persuasion, and modes of understanding, his re-inscription of the
surrounding structures of domination, his particular retelling of imperial
stories, reinforces them through repetition, through the display of their
ef¬cacy, through the exclusion of other possibilities. There are some indi-
cations of commitment to be found too. Not in terms of explicit political
allegiance, though Galen™s association with and praise of emperors like
Marcus Aurelius and Septimius Severus, as well as his involvement with
such leading men of the empire as Boethus, should not be discounted
here;78 but in terms of cosmic adherence and alignment, as On the useful-
ness of parts illustrates. In a structural sense, and in respect to scale, Galen™s
worldview has a lot in common with that of Rome™s rulers. His position
and perspective are Roman imperial creations, and, though his theoretical
ambitions may be more traditional, many of his ideas about good order
converge with the Roman imperial order. On a fundamental level, more-
over, he recognises and accepts that, and that recognition is a mutual, and
mutually fruitful, one.
Now, Galen™s Hellenism has been rather muted in this discussion of the
order in the books. The fact that his empire of knowledge is in many ways a
Greek cultural construction has been left largely unremarked, not subject to
much analytical scrutiny so far. After all, all the formulations of the iatrik¯ e
77 See, e.g., the collection of essays edited by Gates (1986).
78 See, e.g., Gal. Praen. 11.1“10 (CMG v.8.1 126.16“130.10) on Marcus and Ther. pis. II (xiv 218“19 K)
on Severus.
268 reb ecc a fle mm i ng
techn¯ and the philosophical debates he engages with, all the organisational
e
precedents and literary materials he draws on, were at least articulated and
written in Greek, if not by Greeks, nor indeed otherwise uncontaminated
by things Roman and imperial. However, these latter caveats are crucial,
for they clearly demonstrate the complications, the problems, which attend
on the very category of Greek culture, or knowledge, itself in the Roman
Empire. Some further exploration of these issues will, therefore, help to
illustrate the depth of Galen™s inevitably imperial entanglements, as they
are also shared with, or follow on from those involved in similar intellectual
projects around, or before him.

th e gree k ord e r in the book s ?
Galen™s world of knowledge was one to which freeborn Roman citizens, of
impeccably Italian stock, had long contributed, in Greek “ as Sextius Niger
had done in the ¬eld of medicine, as well as his friend Julius Bassus “ or
otherwise.79 Dioscorides, moreover, labels both Niger and Bassus ˜Asclepi-
adeans™ (followers of the innovative physician and medical thinker, Ascle-
piades of Bithynia, who had found fame and in¬‚uence in late Republican
Rome), so their participation in the Greek medical tradition was not merely
linguistic, a point that Galen himself reinforces with his own respectful ref-
erence to Niger in his discussion of pharmacological predecessors and their
organisational tactics in On the mixtures and properties of simple drugs.80
Indeed, Galen groups Niger together with Dioscorides, Heraclides and
Crateuas, without making any particular distinction between them. Still,
Dioscorides himself hints that Niger may have paid more attention to Ital-
ian ¬‚ora than others had done (though without the requisite accuracy);
and his ethnic identity was not irrelevant to Pliny the Elder either, who
(implicitly) casts him as a traitor to his Quirital status.81 Insofar as Galen
engages with Niger as a medical authority, one who may indeed have pre-
sented his simples kata stoicheion, just as the Pergamene did, this is then a
rather complexly, and surely not exclusively, Hellenic encounter.
79 Bassus™ Greek medical writings appear alongside Niger™s in Pliny™s lists of authorities in book 1 of
the HN (for books 20“7 and 33“4); and he is referred to by Caelius Aurelianus as his friend (CP
3.16.134).
80 Dioscorides, De materia medica pr.2 (i 1.20“2.5) (Wellmann (ed.) (1906“14)); Gal. SMT 6 pr. (xi
797 K).
81 Dioscorides, De materia medica pr. 3 (i 2.5“8) (Wellmann (ed.) (1906“14)); Plin. NH 29.17, where
Niger is not actually named amongst those few amongst the Quirites to have practised the medical
art and ˜immediately ¬‚ed to the Greeks/statim ad Graecos transfugae™, but given that Pliny explicitly
lists his (and Bassus™) Greek medical writings amongst the home authorities in book 1, the direction
in which the ¬nger points is pretty clear.
Galen™s imperial order of knowledge 269
Scribonius Largus poses the question of how the Greek status of Galen™s
(or, indeed, anyone else™s) knowledge is to be judged still more acutely. On
the one hand, he has a Roman name, his only surviving work is in Latin and
it was addressed to a freedman of the Emperor Claudius.82 On the other
hand, Scribonius locates himself ¬rmly within the Greek medical tradition
in the dedicatory epistle which prefaces his Latin collection of recipes, and
the form, contents and (as has already been mentioned) organisation of
those recipes, broadly ¬ts that Hellenic bill, though several members of the
Julio-Claudian dynasty, from Octavia to Messalina, have joined the names
which give authority and credence to the remedies provided and there are
other signs of a certain Roman ambience too.83 The general point about the
character of Scribonius™ prescriptions is, however, again emphasised by their
Galenic intersections. A number of the same recipes, explicitly attached to
the name, and indeed books, of Scribonius, feature in both Galen™s works
of compound pharmacology, and there is further, tacit, overlap of material
too; though this relationship is most likely an indirect one, the result of
Scribonius and Galen sharing sources, or just the common currency of
certain items in the pharmaceutical repertoire, such as the Mithridatic
antidote or theriac.84
Most of the recipes positively attributed to Scribonius arrived in Galen™s
pharmacological compilations via the earlier treatises of Asclepiades Phar-
makion, but that is not entirely the case, and it serves only to defer the
question of access.85 If not Galen, then did Asclepiades, and perhaps other
Greek physicians of his generation in late-¬rst century ce Rome, read Latin
and use and incorporate Latin medical writings? It should be said, again,
that Scribonius™ is not the only Roman name to feature in Galen™s works
by any means, especially in his collections of compound pharmaka, though
explicit literary, rather than just proprietorial or practical, reference is rarer.
The only other solidly Roman author with any real medical presence in
Galen is Aelius Gallus, the Augustan prefect of Egypt and invader/explorer
of Arabia. Andromachus the Younger, explicitly takes various recipes ˜from

82 The dedicatee is C. Iulius Callistus, a powerful freedman who successfully made the transition from
Caligula™s to Claudius™ service before his death in (or before) 51 ce (his demise is rather enigmatically
mentioned in the epitome of Dio Cass. 61.33.3).
83 Scrib. Comp. 59: Octavia™s dentifrice; 60: Messalina™s, also used by Augustus (35.5“10 and 11“23
Sconocchia).
84 See Gal. Comp. med. loc. and Comp. med. gen. (xii 683, 764, 774 K; xiii 51, and 737“8, 828 K) for the
(rough) reappearance of Scrib. Comp. 51/2; 27; 26; 75; and 223; 247/8 respectively. There are other
explicit Galenic citations not found in the Comp.
85 All those recipes explicitly taken ˜from the (books) of Scribonius™ (xii 764 and 774; xiii 314 and 828
K) come via Asclepiades, but there are more attributions than that.
270 reb ecc a fle mm i ng
his books™, and there are other attributions too.86 It is also worth men-
tioning that Galen criticises this Andromachus (in contrast to his father)
on one occasion for using a Latin, rather than Greek, plant name in a
recipe for theriac.87 His competence in Latin seems assured, therefore, and
a similar capability is likely for Asclepiades too; but an equally strong case
can be made for the Greek pro¬ciency of Scribonius and Gallus. Indeed
it has been argued that Greek was Scribonius™ mother tongue, that he was
a Greek freedman who wrote the Compounds in Latin to curry imperial
favour, and that Galen preserves a more linguistically representative sample
of his literary output.88 Such a view is, however, based on assumption and
stereotyping rather than any actual evidence, and more recent scholarship
has favoured freeborn Roman citizen status, with perhaps Sicilian origins.89
Even without such a bilingual background, Scribonius™ facility with, and
mastery of, his Greek material, is manifest in his surviving work anyway,
and he could easily have written works in Greek as a second language.
Gallus too: as a well-educated Roman aristocrat whose cultural and intel-
lectual interests are indicated by his association with Strabo as well as his
medical forays, Greek composition would certainly have been well within
his compass.90
The real point to take from all these possibilities, this shifting of language
and perspective, is, as Vivian Nutton has said, ˜the ease with which Latin
and Greek information could now be interchanged™, an interchangeabil-
ity which obviously puts the integrity of both categories into question.91
This reciprocality, this sharing, goes beyond information. Both Scribonius
and Dioscorides, for example, associate themselves (rather loosely) with
the Roman army as a vehicle through which knowledge of the medical
riches of the Roman Empire can be acquired, and it is also worth not-
ing that Dioscorides had both a Roman patron and Roman citizenship
(whether inherited or acquired).92 Amongst his teachers Scribonius counts
86 This is assuming that all the Gallus references, except that to ˜Marcus Gallus the Asclepiadean™ (xiii
179 K) are to Aelius, even when not actually thus speci¬ed, which is not completely certain, though
reasonably secure. The literary references in Galen are then to be found at xii 625; xiii 28, 77, 202,
556 and 838 K; and see also xii 625, 738 and 784; xiii 29, 138, 310, and 472; xiv 114, 158, 189, 203 K.
87 88 See, e.g., Schonack (1912) and Kind (1921).
Gal. Ant. 1.7 (xiv 44 K).
89 Kudlien (1986) esp. 23“5; Langslow (2000) 51“3; and, for a more Sicilian perspective, Nutton (2004)
172.
90 Strabo accompanied his ˜friend and companion™ Gallus on tours around Egypt (Strab, e.g., 2.5.12;
11.11.5; 17.1.29“46), and also described his Arabian campaign; but whether this description was
based on a spoken or written account, and in what language, is unclear. This point, and the general
question of Strabo™s competence in Latin, is discussed in Dueck (2000) 87“96.
91 Nutton (2004) 172.
92 Scribonius was part of Claudius™ British expedition, in some capacity (Comp. 163: 79.20“22
Sconoocchia); and Dioscorides (infamously) refers to his ˜soldierly life™ (De Materia Medica pr.4: i
Galen™s imperial order of knowledge 271
both Trypho, presumably the (Elder) Trypho, who had come to Rome
from Cretan Gortyn to make his name in surgery, and Vettius Valens, a
Roman eques whose medical attendance on the empress Messalina was to
get him into trouble; and perhaps also Apuleius Celsus of Centuripae who
was certainly Vettius™ praeceptor.93 So, not only was medical education “
both teaching and learning “ a mixed affair in imperial Rome, but so too
was medical service at the imperial court.
Many of the texts Galen engages with, reacts against and draws on, come
out of this mix, have been shaped by their contact with the institutions
and instruments of Roman power, regardless of their language. There is a
sense in which learned medicine had already been imperialised, in its scope
and structure, its human and material resources, its social location and
associations, long before Galen, and he does not reject those developments,
that inheritance, as such. He does, of course, deploy the classical Greek
past “ most especially his interpretation of Hippocratic doctrine “ as a
basic measure against which to judge all that has followed; but he is well
aware that there have been considerable advances, as well as plenty of
wrong turnings, since. It is doctrinal and methodological, not temporal or
cultural conformity that is the key. Starting from Hippocratic foundations,
Galen seeks to build a system that, for example, integrates not only the
crucial anatomical discoveries of Herophilus and Erasistratus, but also the
gains of Marinus and his more diligent followers; that incorporates both
Hellenistic and Roman expansions of the therapeutic repertoire. And, in
many ways, it is the newer arrivals who have had the greatest impact on the
organisation of his works, the order in the books, even if it is far behind
them that Galen claims his most fundamental allegiances lie. Still, the shape
of On anatomical procedures owes more to Marinus (even Lycus) than to
Herophilus. Archigenes appears to be the literary model followed, not only
in On the affected places, but also in Galen™s main sphygmological treatises;
and his reliance on the more recent, and more manifestly Romanised,
pharmacological texts for both material and order, on a number of levels,
has also been repeatedly revealed. Even his style of Hippocratic commentary
may be a Roman Imperial phenomenon.94

2.18) (Wellmann (ed.) (1906“14)). His patron was Laecanius Bassus; and his citizenship is implied
by his name “ Pedanius (or Pedacius) Dioscorides: on all these issues see Scarborough and Nutton
(1982).
93 For Trypho see Scrib. Comp. 175 (and also, e.g., Celsus 6.5.3 and 7.pr.3); Valens appears in the index;
and Apuleius in 94 and 171 (Sconocchia (ed.) (1983): 83.8; 9.18; 49.17 and 81.22 “ with apparatus “
respectively).
94 Though Hippocratic interpretation began in Hellenistic Alexandria, the interests there seem to have
been more lexicographical, and the only surviving representative of this exegetical phase “ Apollonius
272 reb ecc a fle mm i ng
Certainly Galen™s general interpretation and understanding of Hippo-
cratic doctrine, his particular construction of this crucial past authority,
owes much to his present: most directly to his own teachers, but also to
wider recent trends in learned medicine.95 It is no accident that the pre-
vious exegete he speaks most highly of is the Trajanic physician Rufus of
Ephesus, who seems to have shared many of Galen™s key commitments in
respect to both Hippocrates and the medical art more broadly.96 Galen™s
Hippocratism provided a foundational link with the prestigious Greek past,
therefore, but not in such a way as to occlude subsequent developments,
the continuity and cogency of classical medical history right up to the time
of his own didaskaloi. Rather the reverse: though much rubbish and error
has to be rejected and corrected, Galen wants to mobilise the more valuable
and worthwhile aspects of this continuity and mould it into an upward spi-
ral. Post-classical progress, properly assessed, acquired and managed, allows
him, with all his skills and talents, to return to the Hippocratic point of
departure at a level far above that at which the great man himself was forced,
by historical circumstance, to operate.
Galen has, therefore, much invested in the association, the complicity,
of past and present; and he experiences little nostalgia for archaic forms of
textual organisation, for Hippocratic styles and structures, for the inconcin-
nities and disorder of the Hippocratic Corpus itself.97 Medicine has come
a long way since then, even if faith should be kept with the Hippocratic
founding principles of the art. More generally, moreover, Galen is unin-
terested in denying the fact that Greek culture is now contained within
the Roman Empire, has been shaped and structured by Roman power.
What he does attempt to do is create, through repeated acts of evalu-
ation and emphasis right across his oeuvre, a certain moral topography
of empire that is distinct from its political patterning, and gives ethical
precedence to things Hellenic. These patterns mostly co-exist, rather than
confronting each other, indeed, they sometimes intertwine and overlap, as
well as occasionally con¬‚icting, and, it has to be said, this is all part of the
way the Roman Empire worked. Still, insofar as Galen does essay some
kind of disaggregation of things Greek from things Roman, or at least tries

of Citium™s commentary on the Hippocratic text On joints “ is a paraphrase, rather than a ˜phrase
by phrase™ exposition, of the work, such had become fashionable by Galen™s time.
95 On Galen™s particular debt to his teachers see Manetti and Roselli (1994) esp. 1580“93.
96 Gal. Ord. lib. prop. 3 (SM ii 86.13“87.23).
97 See Sluiter (1995) for discussion of Galen™s attitude to Hippocratic language and style. He does
generally try and defend it, but his defensive posture is itself indicative of the dif¬culties, which he
certainly acknowledges. See also Langholf (2004) for discussion of the ˜chaotic™ textual structure of
many Hippocratic treatises.
Galen™s imperial order of knowledge 273
to impose a more Hellenic order of knowledge on the hybrid formations
of empire, it is to be found in the taxic endeavours directed at his own
work, at his own oeuvre and the art it enacts, the endeavours with which
this essay began. These now need further examination, in conclusion.

the ord er o f t h e bo ok s
So far the scale and ambition of Galen™s overall knowledge project “ his
drive to cover and connect all the parts and aspects of medicine and their
philosophical foundations or framings, as well as the various linguistic
issues implicated in the literary presentation of both “ has mainly been
mapped on to the same features “ the reach, scope and integrity “ of the
Roman Empire. More implicit have been their more theoretical, concep-
tual underpinnings, as Galen draws on the systemic projects of the most
in¬‚uential currents of Hellenistic thought, the Stoics and the Epicureans.
It is these schools that explicitly articulated the ideal of the fully integrated,
holistic, philosophical system, in which all the relevant material, methods,
approaches and understandings, are encompassed within well-articulated
parts that ¬t together in a seamless whole; and leading ¬gures within them,
most especially Chrysippus within Stoicism, attempted to deliver on that
promise in literary form.
The Empire, however, enabled and encouraged Galen to exceed these
previous efforts in various ways; as it had already acted on other Greek
authors involved in large-scale literary projects of knowledge generation,
organisation and management under the Principate. The textual, and con-
ceptual, assemblages of Strabo and Plutarch, for example, or indeed Galen™s
older contemporary, Ptolemy, all illustrate the ways in which Rome contin-
ued to expand Hellenistic horizons, to augment resources and multiply the
programmatic possibilities, make available more combinations and con-
junctions of ideas, disciplines and genres.98 Traces of the same trajectory
can be seen in medicine, despite the loss of so much material from the
generations preceding Galen. The early imperial growth in pharmacologi-
cal and anatomical writings has already been noted, for instance, and there
were also renewed debates about the proper partition of the medical art
at this time, about how the more synthetic enlargement of its ˜rational-
ist™ traditions should be managed.99 The unity of the techn¯ remained a
e
98 On Strabo in this context see, e.g., Clarke (1999); for Plutarch see, e.g., Jones (1971); Duff (1999).
Ptolemy is less well served as a cultural, rather than scienti¬c, ¬gure, but his disciplinary and
methodological combinations are certainly distinctive.
99 On these debated divisions in the Imperial period see, e.g., Flemming (2000) 90“1 and 185“196.
274 reb ecc a fle mm i ng
fundamental commitment, but its increased scope and content, together
with the way in which certain concepts, theories and approaches were
increasingly held in common, put more emphasis on its internal divisions,
on the formation and ¬t of the parts of medicine, as essential to the main-
tenance of both the control and coherence of, and identity and difference
within, the art.100
The challenge for Galen, as also for these other writers, whether medical
or not, was, therefore, to control and even harness this excess. Galen wanted
to exploit the Roman Empire in order to surpass his Hellenistic predeces-
sors, while remaining true to the Hellenic principles which enabled him
to assert that he had outstripped them, on their own terms, rather than
entering a different competition. Success in this endeavour also provided
something attractive to sell back to the Roman Empire itself, as the best,
most advanced and complete rendition of the ¬eld; a knowledge project
which has drawn on the resources of Rome and has something to offer in
return, in the service of Roman power. Galen (and Ptolemy) make that
offer much less explicitly than Strabo (or Plutarch), for example, but it is
still there: the tacit presumption that encompassing and ordering the whole
medical art together with all the neighbouring areas of expertise and under-
standing on which it depends, will be of bene¬t to society more broadly,
and could strengthen a similarly constructed political formation.
What Galen shares, more openly, with authors such as Strabo and
Plutarch is an insistence that a key element of the service offered is ethical;
that the engagement between Greek knowledge and Roman power they are
involved in has serious moral content, contains moral messages for Rome,
her rulers and elite populations more broadly.101 This is an integral part both
of the way Greek culture functions within the Empire, in general “ as, inter
alia, a kind of ethical pole, a complex discourse of evaluative distinctions “
and of the particular projects in question. In this latter respect it is, as well
as being a point of undoubted personal conviction, a tool of management,
of continuity and control. The literary enactment and advocacy of certain
Greek values establishes a link with the classical past which can be brought
forward into the present, brought to bear on the material being dealt with
in any text, and, through the example and teaching of these texts and the
100 Dissenting, non-eclectic, and more committed sectarian approaches were still possible, however:
the Methodists ¬‚ourished in the Imperial period, and the Empiricists had something of a second-
century ce revival in fortunes too. Still, the surviving works of the great Methodic physician Soranus
of Ephesus still demonstrate some of the same concerns with organised expansion of the art: see,
e.g., Hanson and Green (1994) for an overview of Soranus™ oeuvre.
101 Roman and Greek elite populations, of course, both may be, and are, addressed in this context,
severally and jointly.
Galen™s imperial order of knowledge 275
oeuvre they constitute, brought to bear on wider society too. This is a form
of managing “ reining in, ordering “ imperial abundance Greek-style, as
distinct from the Roman style adopted by, for example, Pliny the Elder in
his Natural history.
Which is, broadly speaking, what Galen attempts, in relation to both the
art and his oeuvre, in his speci¬cally taxic endeavours. He attempts to assert
a basically Greek order, an order constructed according to Greek princi-
ples and associated with Greek values, which meets the demands of both
continuity and control, within, and in contradistinction to, the disorderly
propensities and practicalities of the contemporary Roman world. Some of
the ways in which Galen casts the unfortunate present exigencies against

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