Interactions between Science, Religion, and Literature
Edited By Luis Arturo Guichard, Juan Luis García Alonso and María Paz de Hoz
Lucian’s Podagra, Asclepius and Galen. The popularisation of medicine in the second century AD: María Paz de Hoz
MARÍA PAZ DE HOZ
Lucian’s Podagra, Asclepius and Galen. The popularisation of medicine in the second century AD
By the 2nd century AD, medicine seems to have achieved its status as a subject of knowledge and rhetoric, but the origin of this popularisation is to be found in Hellenistic times, when the famous medical schools of Cos and Alexandria conducted not only major theoretical research and practical healing, but also made society participate in these medical improvements through publicly displayed honorific decrees and public lectures, as well as through the participation of physicians in the community.1 Cos produced many physicians, as ← 175 | 176 → attested to through honorific decrees, and there may also have been a physicians association in Alexandria, probably in relation to the Mouseion there, where this professional group played an important role.2 The importance of the pulse theory and the anatomical research by Herophilus, as well as his improvement in medical terminology, and Erasistratus’ physiological research and knowledge of the heart structure, with further anatomical progress made through dissection and vivisection, became the focal point for the medical studies pursued by Galen and other physicians in the 2nd century AD. Both physicians researched in Alexandria, with Herophilus doing so previously in Athens and Cos. These developments in medicine, together with the importance of individual prestige and the praise of its beneficial influence on society, led to its popularisation, with its greatest achievements to be seen in the 2nd century AD.
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