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  • Cited by 2
  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: August 2010

13 - Galen and the Stoics, or: the art of not naming



This chapter is entitled ‘Galen and the Stoics’ not ‘Galen and Stoicism’. Its chosen title is intended to convey that it is my purpose to approach Galen's relations with the Stoa as it were from the outside. My main concern will not be with his response to the doctrines of great dead Stoics such as Chrysippus, nor with the conceptual relationship between his system of medicine-cum-philosophy (or parts of it) and Stoicism. Instead I shall be focusing on questions of a different kind. What were Galen's relations with the Stoics of his own day? Who were these Stoics? Further, in addition to Stoic persons, books by Stoics are what interest me: which did Galen know and read? Were there other sources of information on Stoic philosophy on which he drew? Answers to these questions will, I believe, contribute to the study of the presence of Stoicism in Galen's work – a vast subject – and on occasion I shall not refrain from indicating how this may be the case. A few words on the state of scholarly debate may serve to justify this approach.

A quick look at the index of sources in von Arnim's Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta, still the standard collection of early Stoic fragments, suffices to show that Galen's dealings with Stoicism were extensive and long-standing. Von Arnim was not mistaken about this. The documented evidence is not only extensive but also variegated in nature, ranging from verbatim quotation to unacknowledged borrowing and allusion.