None of these Salernitan works rise much above the rank of compilations, being founded on Hippocrates, Galen and later Greek writers, with an unmistakable mixture of the doctrines of the methodists.
Thus was the campaign opened against the medieval and Arabian writers, till finally Greek medicine assumed a predominant position, and Galen took the place of Avicenna.
Among many descriptions of this disease, that by John Kaye or Caius, already referred to, was one of the best, and of great importance as showing that the works of Galen did not comprise all that could be known in medicine.
The great Aldine Press made an important contribution to the work, by editiones principes of Hippocrates and Galen in the original.
The writings of Galen contain less of simple objective observations than those of several other ancient physicians, all being swept into the current of dogmatic exposition.
But the reputation of Galen grew slowly; he does not appear to have enjoyed any pre-eminence over other physicians of his time, to most of whom he was strongly opposed in opinion.
Rabelais not only lectured on Galen and Hippocrates, but edited some works of the latter; and Michael Servetus (1511-1553), in a little tract Syruporum universa ratio, defended the practice of Galen as compared with that of the Arabians.
There is no record of Paracelsus' knowledge of Greek, and as, at least in his student days, the most important works of Greek medicine were very imperfectly known, it is probable he had little first hand acquaintance with Galen or Hippocrates, while his breach with the humanists is the more conspicuous from his lecturing and writing chiefly in his native German.
He began his lectures at Basel by burning the books of Avicenna and others; he afterwards boasted of having read no books for ten years; he protested that his shoe-buckles were more learned than Galen and Avicenna.
These poor compilations, together with Latin translations of certain works of Galen and Hippocrates, formed a medical literature, meagre and unprogressive indeed, but of which a great part survived through the middle ages till the discovery of printing and revival of learning.