Appreciation of Ancient and Medieval Science During the by George Sarton

By George Sarton

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SORANOS OF EPHESOS (II-l ET US NOW RETURN TO THE GREEK PHYSICIANS, OF WHOM SORANOS was perhaps 36 the greatest in the six centuries separating Galen from Hippocrates. It should not be supposed that that half-millennium was medically empty that would be absurd. Not only were many physicians active, but an abundance of research work was carried on in almost every branch of medicine. Facts were collected and theories invented; the facts were not always well observed (it was impossible to observe most of them well) and were too few in number; none of the theories was satisfactory and hence there were ^nany of them and keen rivalry between them.

The illustrious Guy de Chauliac (XIV-2), who was a practical surgeon rather than a scholar, cited Galen 890 times in his Chirurgia magna (Ibn Slna came second with 661 quotations). By the end of the century, Galen's canonization was almost completed, and the Florentine, Niccolo Falcucci, 52 in his Sermones medicinales proclaimed the master's infalliThis is the more remarkable, because Falcucci was very familiar with the Arabic medical literature available in Latin. bility. This brings us close to the age of printing.

D. knew Latin (he had been taught and passed his examinations in that language and was acquainted with the technical terms only in Latin; if he were a Frenchman, for example, he would be unable to give their French equivalents). That situation, which was in some respects very favorable to communications at a high level (one scientific language for the whole of Catholic and Protestant Europe), continued until the eighteenth century and this explains why vernacular versions of the De medicina were not printed until very late; an Italian version appeared in Venice, 1747, and the English one by Dr.

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