Galen (ca. 129-200)Galen (ca. 129-200) - A Greek surgeon who lived during the Roman Empire, Galen is the second most famous physician in antiquity, after only Hippocrates, and probably the most talented in ancient times. He was born in Pergamum, a city in Asia Minor, but his profession eventually led him to Rome and ultimately into the service of the emperor. According to Galen, when he was a boy, his father, Aelius Nicon, who was a wealthy architect, had a dream in which he was visited by the Greek god, Asclepius, and told him to have his son study medicine. His father obeyed, and when Galen was 16, he was sent to the local medical school, known as the Asclepion, where he studied under various physician-priests (in ancient times the two vocations were often tied together). Pergamum was a major cultural centre in Roman times, and would have had one of the top medical facilities in Asia Minor. His teachers, such as Aeschiron, were well known in their day. Because of his talent and desire to learn, Galen quickly excelled in his field. From Pergamum, he traveled to Smyrna, Corinth and finally Alexandria, which was renown for having one of the finest medical schools in the empire. When his studies were complete, he returned to Pergamum and went to work for the high priest of Asia. The story goes that the priest hired him when he saw Galen wound an ape and challenged the other physicians in his company to repair the damage. None of the other doctors stepped forward, so Galen did it himself. His job was to treat gladiators who fought in the games. As the leading sport, there was no shortage of patients. By treating gladiators, he acquired considerable skill in surgery and knowledge of anatomy. Eventually word of his talent spread and in 162, he went to Rome. From there, he quickly became the most famous surgeon in the empire. By 169, he was serving as the personal physician of Emperor Marcus Aurelius himself. After Aurelius' death, he would continue to work for both Emperors Commodus and Septimius Severus, until his own death. Galen wrote several works on his studies, including anatomy, physiology and even neurology. He also studied philosophy which he believed was integrally tied to medicine. Unfortunately, none of his works survive.