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Conflict, Constraint, and the Physical Voice in Galen

By Amy Koenig

The second-century physician Galen’s investigation of the function of the recurrent laryngeal and intercostal nerves and muscles, and the anatomical displays in which he demonstrated their role in producing the voice, represent a critical part of his medical work. Not only did these demonstrations catch the attention of both his contemporary audience and his readers, but they serve conceptually as the “cornerstone and crowning achievement” of his anatomical studies (Salas 2013: 139).

Galen: Text Production and Authority

By Claire Bubb

Galen uses the production of and the commentary on ancient texts as tools to establish his own medical authority. He leverages both the physical possession of ancient books and the superior claim to familiarity with ancient authors that they afford him in order to set himself up as the authoritative master in the field of medicine and, to some degree, also that of philosophy. In these practices, he adapts the contemporary culture of the second century A.D., with its emphasis on the authoritative value of books and the privileged place of antiquity, to his own professional ends.

Galen, aDNA and the Plague

By Rebecca Flemming

The Antonine Plague, the great epidemic that first swept across the Roman Empire in AD 165, and recurred in waves over the following decades, ‘is widely agreed to have been smallpox’ (Sallares: 2007, 37). This identification has been argued for and assumed in the most recent sustained treatments of the topic (Gourevitch: 2013; Lo Cascio (ed.): 2012), building on the key article by the Littmans published in 1973. It has fed into the lively debates on the demographic and economic impact of the plague (see e.g. Elliott: 2016; and essays in Lo Cascio: 201); following Duncan-Jones: 1996).