The field of ‘memory studies’ has seen a boom in recent years, however, historians of ancient philosophy and medicine have undervalued the study of memory in ancient medical texts.


Although Galen did not write a systematic treatise on memory, we find in his oeuvre several passages where he wrote about memory in considerable detail. In these passages, Galen’s approach appears to be strictly medical, and mainly concerned with therapeutics of memory failure and memory loss.
Thus, having memory deficits as a point of departure, we will examine how Galen understands memory, its functioning, its location within the human body, its role in mind’s architecture, how it is related to other psychic faculties, such as reasoning and ‘imagination’, and its role on human behaviour and cognition.

In exploring Galen’s concept of memory this study aims at shed some new light on the complex process of interaction between philosophical and medical ideas about the soul, mind and body in Greco-Roman authors.

This Ph.D. thesis is being written within the program “History of Ancient Science” (HistAS) of the Berlin Graduate School of Ancient Studies (BerGSAS).