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The Prince of medicine, by Susan P. Mattern - review

14 September 2013

9:00 AM

14 September 2013

9:00 AM

The Prince of Medicine: Galen in the Roman Empire Susan P. Mattern

OUP, pp.334, £20

In the first draft of the screenplay for the film Gladiator, the character to be played by Russell Crowe (‘father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife’, etc) was named not Maximus, but Narcissus. Which might have made for a slightly different movie. One can imagine the emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) telling the beefy hero, ‘I’m entrusting the empire to you, Narcissus, because you’re loved by the soldiers, more gifted than my son Commodus, and also because you take better care of your skin than any general I’ve ever known.

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