Sanguine and phlegmatic dating

Inherent in the entire body of his work are teleological explanations for everything.

A view that the purpose of everything was predetermined sometimes deluded him into distorting what he saw or into presuming a function for an organ because Nature must have given it a clear purpose.

Although he gave up surgical activities in Rome (the social pressures to avoid operations may have been too strong) his former association with surgery formed the basis for his extensive, detailed, and brilliant discussions of surgical treatment.

Possibly because of his reputation and his family’s standing, the chief of the local gladiatorial games appointed Galen physician to the gladiators.

The need to keep these performers fit taught him the importance of hygienic regimens and preventive measures.

These preconceptions (which led him on a path of error from today’s vantage point) were the very characteristics in his teachings that were attractive to medieval Christian minds.

Aristotle had said, “Nature does nothing without a purpose.” Galen insisted that he could perceive the purpose.

A second characteristic was his use of the humoral theory inherited from early Greek times.

The four fundamental humors (phlegm, blood, yellow bile, and black bile) were responsible for health and illness, and Galen elaborated this conception in classifying all personalities into four types: phlegmatic, sanguine, choleric, and melancholic, terms still used to characterize dispositions.

Treating the severe injuries which were part of a gladiator’s existence enabled him to observe living human anatomy, particularly of bones, joints, and muscles, and to develop skill in treating fractures as well as brutal chest and abdominal wounds.

When he again left Pergamum, to go to Rome for the first time, he was an experienced, skillful physician.

There he also had opportunities for direct clinical experience by participating in the care of patients.

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