Galenos, Great Surgeon of Antiquity

"The doctor is only nature's assistant!"


It is estimated that he was born in 129 in Pergamon. Pergamon is today in the Bergama district of Izmir. Let's say that Pergamon has an interesting history, a kingdom that can be considered the Switzerland of the Ancient Era, and let's move on to explain this later.

Galenos was the only son of a famous architect named Nikon, who lived in Pergamon. He also took mathematics and astronomy lessons from his father. When he was fourteen, his level of knowledge surpassed his father.

had passed. It is said that his father saw Asklepios in a dream and wanted to make his son a doctor.

Whether it was for this reason or because of his curiosity to learn, Galen studied medicine at Asclepius. He continued his education in Smyrna (İzmir), Korynthos and Alexandria, which were the sources of philosophy and science at that time. He goes to Rome after his father dies. He becomes a famous surgeon, and his reputation spreads all over Rome, especially with his knowledge in physiology and anatomy. Of course, due to jealousy and intense arguments between his rival colleagues, he returns to Pergamon after 6 years. Then he comes to Smyrna and opens a hospital with his own name near the square (today's Bayraklı district).

Due to the great plague epidemic in Rome, the Roman emperor, the wise king Marcus Aurelius, calls Galen back to Rome. He takes it under his protection and makes his son Comodus' personal doctor. Galen lived here until his death in 199, and Galen, who had a reputation as the doctor of the gladiators, is now the doctor of the Palace.

The knowledge he gained while treating gladiators was far beyond the age of knowledge of anatomy and physiology, as he did anatomy and physiology studies on monkeys and pigs.

For 400 years before him, air was thought to circulate in his blood vessels. It was believed that the voice comes from the heart. He described the blood, showed the nerve to the vocal cords. He found seven of the twelve pairs of heads we know today and described their functions. He demonstrated the results of spinal cord injury with fracture of the neck vertebrae in animal experiments and described the functions of the spinal cord and brain stem.

Galen was educated in the Hippocratic school and adopted his views on diseases. However, his fame is not as widespread as Hippocrates. He is considered the father of surgery, especially trauma surgery. Galen wrote half of the ancient medical books. The total number of words he wrote is 2.5 million. The saying “The chief utility of language is clarity” belongs to Galen. His books have been taught in medical schools for hundreds of years.

Medical Doctor, astronomer, philosopher, mathematician, physiologist and anatomist, Galen (Galenos) was born and raised in Anatolian lands.


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