Download This Sample
This sample is exclusively for KidsKonnect members!
To download this worksheet, click the button below to signup for free (it only takes a minute) and you'll be brought right back to this page to start the download!
Sign Me Up
Table of Contents
Galen was a famous Greek physician, surgeon, and philosopher in the Roman Empire. He was considered one of the most influential physicians as his discoveries, which some proved to be flawed in the modern ages, were used for 1500 years.
See the fact file below for more information on Claudius Galen or alternatively, you can download our 28-page Claudius Galen worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Claudius Galenus or Galen was born in 130 CE in Pergamon, an old Greek city on the Aegean coast of present-day Turkey.
- His father, Aelius Nicon, was a wealthy Greek architect. Coming from a wealthy family, Galen had the opportunity to study extensively.
- Pergamon was an ancient center of learning and medicine, having an Asclepion, a temple dedicated to Asclepius, the God of Medicine, and a famous library second only to Alexandria in size. The city also attracted Stoic and Platonic philosophers and Aristotelian and Epicurean, to which Galen was exposed.
- Galen’s father supported his education. he hired the best tutors in all the arts and science. In 145 CE, Nicon told his son that god Asclepius commanded him to let Galen study medicine. Nicon sent his son to Asclepion where he trained in medicine under its elder physician priest.
- Galen became a lifelong devotee of Asclepius.
- Galen was 19 when his father died, which made him independently wealthy. He traveled to study medicine, first in Smyrna, or present-day Izmir, Turkey, and to Alexandria, where he finished his medical training.
- At age 28, he returned to Pergamum to become a surgeon in a school of gladiators, giving him extensive knowledge in anatomy and surgery. He considered gladiators’ wounds as an opportunity to learn the functions of various parts of the body.
MOVING TO ROME
- In 162 CE, Galen went to Rome, where the influential elite highly demanded his ability and skill. His method emphasized clinical observation, prognosis, and belief in nature’s healing power.
- Being influenced by Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and the Pyrrhonists as a child, he wrote about logic and philosophy. In his work, “That the Best Physician is also a Philosopher,” he combined philosophy and medicine with his original thought.
- Galen was reportedly short-tempered and tormented the less skilled Roman physician, which invited many detractors and threats to his life. He was forced to flee the city.
- In 169 CE, a great plague spread in Rome. Emperor Marcus Aurelius summoned Galen to be the emperor and his son, Commodus’s, personal physician. Aurelius died in 180 CE, but Galen continued his service to Commodus and lived in Rome under his protection.
- This protection gave him the liberty to write extensive medical journals, including his descriptions and treatment of those infected with the Antonine plague.
- Galen authored more work than any author before him. His work comprised an estimated ten percent of all surviving Greek literature.
- Through his writings, we learned about the discoveries made by scientists before him because he mentioned them by their names and added his own experimental and practical findings.
- He was the first to identify the physiological difference between veins and arteries and that arteries carry blood and not oxygen.
- Galen also studied the human spine. He accurately described it as well as the spinal cord and vertebral column.
- He also played a significant role in identifying the central nervous system and explained the nerves that emerge from the spine. He was one of the first to conduct an operation on extracting the cataract in the eye, which was quite similar to the modern one.
- Galen’s work dominated the medical field for 1500 years. His treatises cover topics on medicine, philosophy, and linguistics. However, most of his theories would be disproved by modern medicine.
- Galen learned a lot about human anatomy while working as a physician for the gladiators in Pergamon. Galen believed the best way to learn human anatomy was through dissection.
- But in Rome, human dissections were illegal. Galen dissected animals for his anatomical research and assumed that what he discovered on pigs and primates applied to humans.
- This restriction might be the reason for Galen’s flawed theories. In the 16th century, Galen’s teachings were beginning to be challenged.
- One of Galen’s ideas was that the blood did not return to the liver and blood, consumed by the body, always needed to be replenished.
- He also believed that the liver sometimes produced too much blood, causing illness. His cure was to draw off the excess fluid through bloodletting, which was proven to be dangerous.
- An English physician named William Harvey discovered that blood flowed throughout the body in circles, and our body can’t replenish the amount of blood circulating in our body. Therefore, the human blood must be in constant and perpetual motion. He also insisted that the heart pumped the blood.
- Galen believed that diseases were caused by bad air from rotting animal and plant matter.
- Additionally, Galen credited Hippocrates on his system of “Humors,” that the imbalances in the humors of black bile, blood, phlegm, and yellow bile caused diseases and influenced emotions.
- He added his own contribution of four temperaments believing that correcting the imbalance of these humors makes one recover from illness. It was the main reason why he performed bloodletting to treat his patients.
- Galen researched psychotherapy. His other major work, “On The Diagnosis and Cure of the Soul’s Passion,” showed his theories on approaching and treating psychological problems.
- According to him, a therapist who would provide counsel to those with psychological issues had to be a male, preferably of older, wiser age, and free from the control of the passions because these passions caused the psychological problems people experienced.
- A fire destroyed Galen’s library in 191 and 192. Luckily most of his writings remained because he wrote two treatises on his own books, from 179 to his death around 216 CE.
- Galen still did his research and writings even in old age, publishing significant works such as The Method of Cure.
- The non-medical related works he wrote, On the Equality of Sin and Punishment, and The Slight Significance of Popular Honor and Glory, were his last works.
- Some scholars believed that Galen died in 216 CE in Rome although the details are very vague.
Claudius Galen Facts Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle that includes everything you need to know about Claudius Galen across 28 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use worksheets that are perfect for teaching about Claudius Galen who was a famous Greek physician, surgeon, and philosopher in the Roman Empire.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Claudius Galen Facts
- The Physician’s Bio
- Describing Galen
- Living in Rome
- The Galen Inquiry
- The Doctor’s Life
- Fact or Bluff
- Galen’s Accomplishments
- Theories About Blood
- The Physician’s Speech
- Galen’s Flawed Theories
Link/cite this page
If you reference any of the content on this page on your own website, please use the code below to cite this page as the original source.
Link will appear as Claudius Galen Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, January 20, 2022
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.