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On this page: Heron – Herophile – Herophilus



lished (Gr. Lat) with the first book of Euclid, by Dasypodius, Strasburg, 1571, 8vo. 6. Excerpta de Mensuris (Gr. Lat.), in the Analecta Graeca of the Benedictines, vol. i. Paris, 1688,4to. 7. Eto-- aytayf) rwv yewfj.erpoviJi.evciw, exists only in ma­ nuscript. (Fabric. Bill. Graec. vol. iv. p. 237 ; Heilbronner, Hist. MatJies. Univ.; Montucla, Hist, des MatMm. vol. i.) [A. D. M.]

HERON ch/jou/), a Byzantine writer of un­ certain age, but who lived previous to the emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus, composed a work on agriculture, divided into twenty books, which was a compilation from most of those works which were extracted by the writers of the " Geoponica," who likewise perused the work of Heron, which is lost. Heron was perhaps the author of a work on Mea­ sures, extant in the Imperial Library at Vienna. (Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. iv. p. 239, vol. viii. pp, 19,20.) [W. P. J

HEROPHILE. [sibyl.]

HEROPHILUS ('HpttyuAos), one of the most celebrated physicians of antiquity, who is best known on account of his skill in anatomy and phy­siology, but of whose personal history few details have been preserved. He was a native of Chal-cedon in Bithynia (Galen, Introd. vol. xiv. p. 683*}, and was a contemporary of the physician Philotimus, the philosopher Diodorus Cronos, and of Ptolemy Soter, in the fourth and third centuries B. c., though the exact year both of his birth and death is unknown. He was a pupil of Praxagoras (Galen, De Metli. Med. i. 3. vol. x. p. 28), and a fellow^pupil of Philotimus (Galen, Ibid.\ and settled at Alexandria, which city, though so lately founded, was rapidly rising into eminence under the enlightened government of the first Ptolemy. Here he soon acquired a great reputation, and was one of the first founders of the medical school in that city, which afterwards eclipsed in celebrity all the others, so much so that in the fourth century after Christ the very fact of a physician having studied at Alexandria was considered to be a suffi­cient guarantee of his ability. (Amm. Marc. xxii. 16.) Connected with his residence here an amu­sing anecdote is told by Sextus Empiricus (Pyrrhon. Instil, ii. 22. 245, ed. Fabric.) of the practical method in which he convinced Diodorus Cronus of the possibility of motion. That philosopher used to deny the existence of motion, and to sup­port his assertion by the following dilemma:—" If matter moves, it is either in the place where it is, or in the place where it is not; but it cannot move in the place where it is, and certainly not in the place where it is not ; therefore it cannot move at all." He happened, however, to dislocate his shoulder, and sent for Herophilus to replace it, who first began by proving by his own argument that it was quite impossible that any luxation could have taken place; upon which Diodorus begged him to leave such quibbling for the present, and to proceed at once to his surgical treatment. He seems to have given his chief attention to anatomy, which he studied not merely from the dissection of ani­mals, but also from that of human bodies, as is ex­pressly asserted by Galen (De Uteri Dissect, c. 5.

* In another passage (De Usu Part. i. 8. vol. iii. p. 21) he is called a Carthaginian, but this is merely a mistake (as has been more than once re­marked), arising from the similarity of the names and


vol. ii. p. 895). He is even said to have carried his ardour in his anatomical pursuits so far as to have dissected criminals alive,—a well-known accu­sation, which it seems difficult entirely to disbe­lieve, though most of his biographers have tried to explain it away, or to throw discredit on it; for (not to lay much stress on the evident exaggeration of Tertullian, who says (De Anima, c. 10. p. 757) that he dissected as many as six hundred), it is mentioned by Celsus (De Medic, i. praef. p. 6), quite as a well-known fact, and without the least suspicion as to its truth ; added to which, it should be remembered, that such a proceeding would not be nearly so shocking to men's feelings two thou­sand years ago as it would be at present. He was the author of several medical and anatomical works, of which nothing but the titles and a few fragments remain. These have been collected by C. F. H. Marx, and published in a dissertation entitled " De Herophili Celeberrimi Medici Vita, Scriptis, atque in Medicina Mentis," 4to. Gotting. 1840. Dr. Marx attributes to Herophilus a work Tlepl Airiw, De Causis; but this is considered by a writer in the British and Foreign Medical Re­view (vol. x.v. p. 109) to be a mistake, as the treatise in question was probably written by one of his followers named Hegetor [hegetor]. He owes his principal celebrity (as has been already intimated) to his anatomical researches and disco­veries, and several of the names which he gave to different parts of the human body remain in com­mon use to this day; as the " Torcular Herophili,'* the " Calamus Scriptorius," and the " Duodenum." He was intimately acquainted with the nervous sys­tem, and seems to have recognised the division of the nerves into those of sensation (alcrdrjTiKd)., and those of voluntary motion (TrpoatperiKa), though he included the tendons and ligaments under the common term vevpov, and called some at least of the nerves by the name of irdpot, meatus. He placed the seat of the soul (to rtfs tyvxfis 7776/^0-vikov} in the ventricles of the brain, and thus pro­bably originated the idea, which was again brought forward, with some modification, towards the end of the last century, by Sommering in his treatise Ueber das Organ der Seele, §§ 26, 28, Konigsberg, 1796, 4to. The opinions of Herophilus on patho­logy, dietetics, diagnosis, therapeutics, materia me-dica, surgery, and midwifery (as far as they can be collected from the few scattered extracts and allu­sions found in other authors), are collected by Dr. Marx, but need not be here particularly noticed. Perhaps the weakest point in Herophilus was his pharmaceutical practice, as he seems to have been one of the earliest physicians who administered large doses of hellebore and other drastic purga­tives, and who (on the principle that compound diseases require compound medicines) began that strange system of heterogeneous mixtures, some of which have only lately been expelled from our own Pharmacopoeia, and which still keep their place on the Continent. He is the first person who is known to have commented on any of the works of Hip­pocrates (see Littre, Oeuvres d^Hippocrate, Vol. i. p. 83), and wrote an explanation of the words that had become obscure or obsolete. He was the founder of a medical school which produced several eminent physicians, and in the tune of Strabb was established at Men-Cams, near Laodiceia, in Phrygia. (Strabo, xii. 8. p. 77, ed. Tauchn.) Of the physicians who belonged to this school perhaps

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