I have incurred many obligations in the writing of this book, which has taken far longer than I or the original editor of the series, the late Roger French, envisaged. Many parts of this have been presented at conferences or seminars around the world, and I am grateful for the comments and criticisms of the audiences on these occasions, and particularly in London, Paris and Pisa. Several colleagues read and commented on the manuscript either in whole or in part: Elizabeth Craik, Jason Davies, Helen King, Cornelius O'Boyle, Thomas Rütten, Manuela Tecusan, Philip van der Eijk and Heinrich von Staden. Isabella Andorlini, Klaus-Dietrich Fischer, Ivan Garofalo, Mariaelena Gorrini, Ralph Jackson, Marie-Hélène Marganne, Innocenzo Mazzini and Gotthard Strohmaier kept me informed of very recent discoveries in their particular fields of interest, and allowed me to cite some of their work when it was still unpublished. Ralph Jackson and Nikolai Serikoff kindly provided photographs from their own collections. I also had the privilege of discussing many of the ideas in this book with two friends who, in their different ways, made a great contribution to the study of ancient medicine, Luis Garcia Ballester and Owsei Temkin. Neither, I am sure, would have entirely approved of some of my speculations, but both would have encouraged me in my aim of presenting to a wider public the recent findings of my own and others' scholarship.
This book represents the fruit of a long association with the Wellcome Trust and the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, as it was called before its enforced dissolution in 2000. My academic colleagues, now within the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL, have long tolerated my eccentric interests in our shared field, and a stream of research students and research fellows has ensured that my ideas have been constantly challenged. My secretaries, Frieda Houser and Sally Bragg, brought a certain degree of order to my life, usually to the strains of music. Jane Henderson undertook the major task of compiling the index. A generation of medical students has cheerfully listened to tales of Dr Galen, and, although they may not credit it, has also taught me much about medicine and about presentational skills. Successive heads of the Department of Anatomy, notably Geoff Burnstock and Nigel Holder, have encouraged my researches as part of the department's wider programme.