Sir: It is to be hoped that your medical correspondent's anatomy ("Doctors decide that thumb is finger", 29 August) is more accurate than his history in attributing the stability of Latin terminology to "Galen, the fourth- century Roman dissector". Galen (AD129-216) wrote in Greek.
In his Medical Terminology he praised clarity and intelligibility above total consistency, and had at least one predecessor, Rufus of Ephesus, around AD100, whose Names of Parts of the Body is still extant in Greek.
The Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine
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