From Generation to Degeneration. The Health-Disease Link in Galens Corpus

Sabrina Grimaudo


Through a reading of some significant passages a reconstruction is made of the main features of Galens rich reflection on the themes of health and disease, with particular attention to two aspects. On one side, there is an analysis of the limits within which disease is seen, in the Galenic corpus, as degeneration in relation to a natural state. On the other side, there is an investigation of whether, and to what extent, the physician from Pergamon accepts the idea, partly already present in Hippocrates, of the existence of diseases that, with a modern term, we would define as genetic. The marginality that this aspect seems to present at least in theoretical works devoted to embryological themes (De semine, De foetuum formatione) or relating to pathological aetiology (De morborum differentiis, De morborum causis, De symptomatum differentiis) is probably linked to the prevalence of a solid teleological paradigm deriving from Aristotle.


Key words: Generation - Degeneration - Galen




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