The modern world is fascinated by diet and the effect it can have on health, with advice abounding on what we should or should not eat. This preoccupation was also very much a feature of the ancient world, at least among those who could afford the time and money to listen to the advice of a doctor. At the apogee of ancient medical advances stood Galen (AD 129-c.AD 210), once the personal physician to the emperor Marcus Aurelius. A prolific writer, amongst his surviving works is what he believed to be the definitive guide to a healthy diet, based on the theory of the four humours. In these treatises Galen sets out this theory, which was to be profoundly influential on medicine for many centuries, and describes in fascinating detail the effects on health of a vast range of foods, from lettuce, lard, and fish, to peaches, pickles and hyacinths. Galen On Food and Diet makes all these texts available in English for the first time, and provides many captivating insights into the ancient understanding of food and health.
With clear, elegant translations, supported by a lucid introduction, helpful notes, and an extensive bibliography, this volume is an invaluable resource for classicists, ancient historians and all those interested in the history of food.