SCHOLE (Jul 2017)

Galen. On my own books

  • Irina Prolygina

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11, no. 2
pp. 636 – 677


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In the treatise On my own books (De libris propriis) Galen explains why there have been circulating many forgeries, entitled by his name, in the book market of Roman Empire, and gives a list of his authentic works with a short description of each of them. In his notes to his books Galen discusses the content of each book, and describes historical circumstances of its appearance, specificity of its genre and its addressee. This work contains a unique historical information on Galen’s childhood, on the two periods of his life in Rome, on the fire which took place in the Temple of Peace in Rome in 192 A.D., on the plague which burst out during the reign of Antonius Pius, and on the agonistic nature of the medical profession in Rome in the 2nd–3rd cent. C.E. Moreover this work is an important source for the history of ancient philosophy and medicine, because Galen mentions the titles and even summaries of many lost works of his own as well as of his famous predecessors and contemporaries — philosophers and physicians. In particular, he mentions two great anatomists of antiquity — Marinus and Likus. The treatise «On my own books» is one of the most frequently cited works of Galen and may serve as an introduction to his thought. The first Russian translation of this work is provided with a short introduction and detailed commentary.