Bad History, Galen, Hippocrates, hysteria, sex, womb

Hysteria from Hippocrates

(updated 19 July 2018 - and, thanks to Minji Lee of Rice University, subsequently available in Korean here) Please can we just get something out of the way once and for all? The disease of 'hysteria' was neither described nor named by Hippocrates. I know The Sun says it was, but it's wrong. And it's… Continue reading Hysteria from Hippocrates

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Galen, magic, museums and collections

Catch! Attacking your enemy with words as well as weapons

A few years ago, I saw images of an object that was new to me twice, in as many days. It was this pictured lead sling-shot from the fourth century BC, found in Athens and now in the collections of the British Museum (object reference no. 1851,0507.11). The first time the image was circulated on… Continue reading Catch! Attacking your enemy with words as well as weapons

doctors, Galen, museums and collections

The dangers of libraries…

Galen was, to put it politely, a bit of a show-off. Since our main source for Galen is Galen himself, this can make it difficult to work out whether he was as great a physician as he makes out. I think the answer has to be that he was; his second-century AD career, started among… Continue reading The dangers of libraries…

diseases, doctors, food, Galen, Hippocrates, menstruation, remedies

Humoral medicine: a beginner’s guide

How do we know what's wrong with our bodies? We may be aware of symptoms – of pains, twinges, immobility. We can also aware of some of our bodily fluids: our saliva, sweat, urine, menses or semen. Sometimes a fluid which is clearly abnormal emerges from an orifice or a wound. If we seek medical treatment, our blood… Continue reading Humoral medicine: a beginner’s guide

death, food, Galen, remedies

Death in Vienna and the City of Salt

I've mentioned in a previous post my time working in Vienna. When I was there, I became fascinated by the cemeteries: in particular, the Zentralfriedhof, which is so big that there are three tram stops along its perimeter and a special shuttle bus to get around inside, as it takes so long to walk from one end… Continue reading Death in Vienna and the City of Salt