Tools

PREFACE

qualities inhere, a concept not found in the earlier works.

In Galen’s late work, On the Order of My Own Books, he refers to two other short works, written at the behest of friends and published by them, which supplement the main treatise on krasias and should be read after it. These are On the Best Constitution of Our Body and On Good Bodily State. The realization that these two short tracts would be a valuable addition to the other three came to me only after I had completed the work initially planned. I thank Jeffrey Henderson for agreeing to their late inclusion as an appendix, and in general for his commitment to giving Galen a greater presence in the Loeb Classical Library over the last decade or so. For almost a century the admirable translation of De naturalibus facultatibus by A. J. Brock (1916) had stood as the lone representative of Galen’s enormous body of work in the LCL.

On another matter, I would like to take this opportunity to register my disapproval of the recent trend toward using the term “mixtures” to render the Greek krasias and the Latin temperamenta. “Mixtures” is, in my view, exceptionable in this context. “Temperaments,” a term which has a significant history in English, both medically and generally, is more appropriate, although perhaps less than ideal. I am very grateful to two notable scholars of ancient medicine, Vivian Nutton and Alain Touwaide, who were kind enough to offer their thoughts on this issue. The former, accepting my reluctance to use “mixtures,” supplied the titles that have been used in the present volume. The latter, who shares my views on “mixtures,” proposed a more radical change to “composition.” The issue is addressed in section 7 (Terminology) in the General Introduction.

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PREFACE

In short, my own preference is to use the transliterated Greek term krasis in the body of the work and “temperament,” sanctioned by long-established use, in the titles, fearing that krasis used alone may make the titles opaque to a reader not already familiar with the term.

In translating and commenting on these works, I have approached them more from a medical than a philosophical standpoint. As a doctor, I am fascinated by the prolonged dominance of what might be called the “Galenic paradigm” in medical theory and practice. A somewhat simplistic conclusion could be that it must have had significant success to have withstood the inevitable challenges over many centuries. In the General Introduction I have tried to give a comprehensive account of the system of krasis/eukrasia/dyskrasia and the role it played in several aspects of medical theory and practice by quoting from Galen’s key works on specific aspects of practice—the classification and causes of diseases and symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and hygiene—and to offer some half-formed thoughts of my own on why it finally yielded its central position.

Once again, I am greatly indebted to my partner, Susie Collis, who read through the translations at various stages of development and offered numerous insightful comments and suggestions, as she has done with previous volumes. I am also very grateful to Elaine Hawkins, a former medical secretary who lives nearby, for typing the manuscript. Our intermittent meetings to exchange tapes followed a walk along a bush track with our two dogs (one, Badhi, now sadly departed and the dedicatee of this volume) and constituted a very pleasant social component of the whole process.

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