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The Greek physician and scholar Galen (130 -200 A.D.) developed ideas that dominated medicine until the Renaissance. Of particular importance to the history of disability, he recognized the brain as the central organ of the nervous system and the seat of intellect. This provided further evidence for the physical, natural causes of disability.


Living conditions for persons with disabilities were brutal during this period. Some persons with disabilities were able to survive by relying on the kindness of relatives or on handouts from strangers in order to receive food and shelter. Most were not so fortunate. Intolerance, sickness, and disregard for persons with disabilities meant death or at most a very low quality of life.

Ancient Rome
The Brain