This is undoubtedly the best known and most compendious of Maimonides' medical works. It consists of about fifteen hundred aphorisms culled mainly from the treatises of
Galen, either as direct quotations or as summaries, and arranged into twenty-five treatises. Most of the traditional medieval medical subspecialties are represented in this work, including anatomy, physiology, gynecology, hygiene, and diet. In addition, Maimonides includes a section addressing unusual cases from Galen, and another containing his own criticisms of Galen's theories.
This volume initiates a new critical edition of Medical Aphorisms with a fresh, annotated English translation. The first of six volumes, it contains aphorisms concerning anatomy, physiology, and general pathology. Because the source texts from which several of them were derived are no longer extant, these aphorisms provide tantalizing clues about aspect of Galen's thought that are otherwise unknown. They also serve as a medieval window onto the ancient medical theories of Galen. For these reason, this volume and the five to follow it will be indispensable for all student of either ancient or medieval medicine.