Claudius Galenius (129-199)
Galen incredibly began writing at the age of 13 years and continued to do so until he died at the age of 70 years. His collection of writings overwhelmed the ancient world with its size, scope, and influence. Even if we were to eliminate the writings of the Corpus Hippocraticum, Galen’s prodigious output would still represent more than 80% of all surviving medical writings of antiquity.66
These books astonishingly remained unchallenged until the critical Renaissance period, this being mainly due to the restrictive influence of religion.
Galen was also one of a small number of physicians who gained notoriety as a surgeon, although he did little himself but supervised surgical “labourers” it was a sad fact that Surgeons were not in ancient times, educated medical men, the result of this was the slow development and full understanding of the art.
These early times Medical practices in general were not held in high esteem as is the case now, it is a fact that medical science progression required extensive anatomical research and the superstitious repugnance of the dissection of human remains to further anatomical knowledge was frowned upon, mainly because of religious beliefs. This however did not mean it did not take place, as in Alexandria it was a regular occurrence.
It seems strange to us now, to imagine that anaesthetics and analgesics in obstetrics were opposed up to the middle of the last century (20th) in some parts of the world.
"Death is a release from the impressions of the senses, and from desires that make us their puppets, and from the vagaries of the mind, and from the hard service of the flesh."65