Skip to main content

Galen (Greece)

The Stamp

The stamp was first issued in Greece on 8 July 1996, on the occasion of the first International Medical Olympiad held in Kos. Its value was 120 Greek Drachma.

The Doctor

Claudius Galenus (129 – c216) was born in September 129 in Pergamon (now Bergama, Turkey). He became the most famous Roman doctor, mainly because a large number of his extensive writings have survived.

Indeed, the works of Galen formed a major part of Western medicine for over 1000 years. Being independently wealthy, he travelled and studied widely, including at the great medical centre of Alexandria. He returned to Pergamon to be surgeon to the gladiators there.

In 162 he moved to Rome: he prospered but eventually he had to flee for fear of being poisoned by the senior doctors he had criticised. Called back by the Emperor, he became physician to Marcus Aurelius, Commodius and Septimius Severus. His date of death is unclear, but he was at least 70 and scholars have estimated the date to be around 216.

Urology Connections

Galen’s writings on urological diseases are extensive. He gives an excellent description of the functional anatomy of the urinary tract and ureteric colic - as usual, it was a criticism of another doctor:

I do not suppose that Asclepiades ever saw a stone which had been passed by one of these sufferers, or observed that this was preceded by a sharp pain in the region between kidneys and bladder as the stone traversed the ureter or that, when the stone was passed, both the pain and the retention at once ceased.

← Back to Stamp Collection