Galen’s reception in Byzantium: Symeon Seth and his refutation of Galenic Theories on Human Physiology

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Abstract / Description of output

GALEN’S RECEPTION in the Byzantine period has not so far been the subject of a systematic study, and readers are limited to short studies usually covering a broad period.1 This article aims to shed light on criticism of Galen and its context in the Byzantine medical literature. I have chosen to focus on the interesting case of Symeon Seth’s refutation of Galenic theories on physiology, as it is the sole example of a treatise of this kind in the Byzantine period. First I shall give a brief background on the role of Galenic medical knowledge in Byzantium and its various modes of reception;this is followed by an overview of Symeon’s corpus and activity.The main part of the paper consists of a commentary on Symeon’s criticism of Galen’s theories. The study is accompanied by the first critical edition of the text and an English translation, which I hope will stimulate further interest in Galen’s presence in Byzantine medical texts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-469
Number of pages39
JournalGreek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies
Volume55
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

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