Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2002.01.03

Anargyros Anastassioú, Dieter Irmer, Testimonien zum Corpus Hippocraticum Teil II: Galen. 2. Band: Hippokrateszitate in den übrigen Werken Galens einschliesslich der alten Pseudo-Galenica.   Göttingen:  Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2001.  Pp. lvi + 416.  ISBN 3-525-25808-9.  DM 228.  

Contributors: ;

Reviewed by Pilar Pérez Cañizares, Universidad Complutense, Madrid (
Word count: 1140 words

This second volume of Hippocratic citations found in the Corpus Galenicum follows a first one devoted to citations from Hippocrates in Galen's Commentaries and Glossary and covers those in the rest of Galen's works, including the old pseudo-Galenic treatises. The first volume contained more testimonies but only 13 treatises, whereas in this second volume some one hundred of Galen's treatises are examined.

After having completed the Index Hippocraticus, two members of the staff of the Hamburg Thesaurus Linguae Graecae started work on a new project, to be published in independent parts, which will consist of a collection of Hippocratic citations, starting with the Corpus Galenicum. These two volumes are a result of the Index Hippocraticus or a way of supplementing it. The authors themselves admit1 that they could not have identified some of the testimonies without using the critical notes they had already prepared while working for the Index Hippocraticus.

As in the first volume, the authors have collected citations by reading the texts themselves and have then added an apparatus criticus. Nevertheless, Anastassiou and Irmer had to face new problems in this second volume, namely, they had to look for Hippocratic citations in texts which were not in Kühn's edition and for which there is no modern edition. By following G. Fichtner's list of Galen's works2 the authors have also checked the works not edited by Kühn. The inclusion or exclusion of some of the pseudo-Galenic works is justified by their date of composition. For instance, treatises like Medical Definitions (Def. Med.), which is even older than Galen's genuine works, are included insofar as their testimony is considered as valuable as the one in genuine works. Commentaries to the Hippocratic treatises Alim., Hum. and Epid.II written in the Renaissance have been excluded.

The testimonies are ordered according to the Hippocratic writings to which they belong. The writings are referred to not by their Latin titles but by the abbreviations that appear in Liddell-Scott-Jones, which were previously used in the Index Hippocraticus and which are by now the standard ones used in almost every work dealing with the Corpus Hippocraticum. In my view, this standardization in the titles of the different treatises is an additional benefit of the Index and has helped to avoid confusion among scholars interested in Hippocratic studies. It would be very useful to have such a standard way of referring to Galen's works as well, and hopefully the authors' proposal for abbreviations will be once again welcomed and accepted by scholars.

The authors have divided the testimonies according to their content, so that for almost every Hippocratic treatise they start with information on authorship, title and authenticity. These types of testimonies (if they exist) are included in Part A, which is completed with references to new editions of the Hippocratic treatise in question. Part B is devoted to the testimonies which refer to particular Hippocratic passages, with reference both to Galen's text and Littré's. In some cases there is also a Part C devoted to unidentified testimonies. In this part we can find passages where Galen explicitly quotes a Hippocratic treatise but for which there is no evidence in the treatises we can read today.

In Appendix I the authors have included all the testimonies that can not be attributed to a particular Hippocratic treatise, and in Appendix II there is a variety of information about Hippocrates and the Corpus Hippocraticum that can be found in Galen's works.

Treatises for which there are no testimonies are not included in the listing, and the fact that writings like Aff., Morb.II, Nat. Mul. or Mul.II among others,3 are not cited at all by Galen (some of them are quoted in the Commentaries in volume one), is in itself an interesting point. For instance, as far as Aff. is concerned, Galen thought it was not worthy of Hippocrates4 even though in another passage he says he is not sure about the authorship of the treatise for it could have been written either by Hippocrates himself or by Polybus.5 This contradiction is not easy to explain, but the fact that the writing was not ἄξιου τῆς ἱπποκράτους δυνάμεως can justify Galen's not paying much attention to it and therefore not referring to it again.

One important difference between the two volumes is that, while for the first the authors had established an apparatus criticus for all the pericopes, in this second one there is just a reproduction of Kühn's text for some of the testimonies. In the preface there is an alphabetical list of all Galen's works, with references to the critical editions and the manuscripts used (if this is the case). In fact, of the approximately one hundred works by Galen considered in this volume, there are some sixty critical editions. In these cases the text of the citations and the abbreviations for the manuscripts follow those of the editions.

For some of the treatises for which there is no modern edition after Kühn's, Anastassiou and Irmer have compared Kühn's text with that of some old manuscripts and established an apparatus criticus. This is the case of the following four treatises: De diebus decretoriis, De dificultate respirationis, De methodo medendi and De optima secta ad Thrasybulum, whose testimony is particularly important for the Hippocratic tradition. Although the authors themselves admit that the texts they have prepared can not be compared with those of critical editions, major variants in the text are included.

For treatises like De foetum formatione the authors have relied upon the forthcoming critical edition by D. Nickel, which will be soon published in the series Corpus Medicorum Graecorum. The same applies to the unpublished editions of the texts of Definitiones Medicae (by Jutta Kollesch) and De plenitudine (by Chr. Otte).

For some treatises the authors have not compared Kühn's text with any manuscripts; that is the case, for instance, of the long treatises De compositione medicamentorum per genera and De compositione medicamentorum secundum locos. The authors warn readers that they have simply reproduced Kühn's text even in some passages where it is very dubious.

The volume contains moreover a very useful and complete up-to-date bibliography, which refers not only to critical editions of Hippocrates and Galen, but also includes secondary studies.

I think the benefits that such a work brings to the field are very clear. Research on Ancient Medicine as a whole will profit from it. The book is carefully produced and once more we have to congratulate Anastassiou and Irmer for providing both classicists and medical historians with an essential work of reference. As the Index Hippocraticus is now the point of departure of any linguistic study dealing with the Corpus Hippocraticum and in general an indispensable companion to Hippocratic studies, the two volumes of Testimonien are an invaluable tool not only for Hippocratists and Galenists, but for classicists and medical historians in general.


1.   See D. Irmer, "Hippocratic Studies at the Hamburg Thesaurus", paper given in the UNED in Madrid in June 2000. The paper can be read at Hamburg University's home page:
2.   G. Fichtner, Corpus Galenicum. Verzeichnis der galenischen und pseudogalenischen Schriften, Tübingen, Institut für Geschichte der Medizin, in progress.
3.   The complete list of treatises for which there are no testimonies at all in this volume is the following: Aff., Decret., Dent., Dieb.Iudic., Fist., Foet.Exsect., Gland., Iusi., Iusi.II, Lex, Medic., Mochl., Morb.II, Mul.II, Nat.Mul., Or. ad ar., Or. Thess., Remed., Sept.(Sp.), Steril., Superf., Vid.Ac., and Virg.
4.   See Galen, In Hipp. Acut. Comm. 198, 4; CMG V 9,1 237,6. The reference is also given by A. Anastassiou and D. Irmer, Testimonien zum Corpus Hippocraticum. Teil II: Galen. 1. Band Hippokrateszitate in den Kommentaren und im Glossar, Göttingen, 1997, p. 51.
5.   See Galen, In Hp. Aph. comm, 18 A 8, 4-9 Kühn; Anastassiou and Irmer, Op. cit. 1. Band, Göttingen, 1997, p. 52.

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