Join Vivian Nutton to learn about the most-celebrated doctor in the ancient world: Galen of Pergamum (129-ca. 216 CE). Galen was Greek by birth (Pergamum is close to the present-day city of Bergama, Turkey) but spent most of his career in Rome, where he was the personal physician to three Emperors. Galen was one of the most prolific authors of his age, and around a sixth of all surviving ancient literature in Greek was written by him. Celebrated in his own lifetime, he was regarded as the preeminent medical authority for centuries after his death, both in the Arab world and in medieval Europe, with much of our later medical knowledge stemming from his pioneering work. It was only the scientific discoveries of the Renaissance that removed Galen from his preeminent position in the pantheon of medicine.

Professor Vivian Nutton is a medical historian, specialising in the history of the classical tradition in medicine, from antiquity to the present. He is perhaps best known as a historian of the life, works and influence of Galen, but his research interests extend into broader areas of the history of medicine, and of the classical tradition in Europe and the Islamic world. Much of his recent work has also focused on the history of anatomy in the sixteenth century.

Your host for this event will be the writer Edward Parnell, author of ‘Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country’. Edward Parnell lives in Norfolk and has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. He is the recipient of an Escalator Award from the National Centre for Writing and a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship. Ghostland (William Collins, 2019), a work of narrative non-fiction, is a moving exploration of what has haunted our writers and artists – as well as the author’s own haunted past; it was shortlisted for the PEN Ackerley 2020 prize, an award given to a literary autobiography of excellence. Edward’s first novel The Listeners (2014), won the Rethink New Novels Prize. For further info see: