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There he also had opportunities for direct clinical experience by participating in the care of patients.When he returned to Pergamum after years of voyaging, he had already gained some renown from a few writings on anatomy and physiology and from displays of clinical acumen.Although normally there are no direct connections between the left and right heart chambers, Galen “found” openings in the dividing septum to fit his theoretical system in which blood had to pass from one side to the other.

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Although he gave up surgical activities in Rome (the social pressures to avoid operations may have been too strong) his former association with surgery formed the basis for his extensive, detailed, and brilliant discussions of surgical treatment.

He left Rome but had the good fortune of being recalled by the emperor himself, Marcus Aurelius.

Scholars of later centuries swallowed his descriptions whole—correct and incorrect—not even subjecting them to the scrutiny called for in Galen’s principle of discovery by experiment.

In actually testing animals he differentiated sensory and motor nerves, elucidated the effects of transection of the spinal cord, examined the physiological actions of the chest cavity, and proved that the heart could continue to beat without nerves.

Treating the severe injuries which were part of a gladiator’s existence enabled him to observe living human anatomy, particularly of bones, joints, and muscles, and to develop skill in treating fractures as well as brutal chest and abdominal wounds.

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