The Ancient Library

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sicknesses, and the not undertaking the treatment of those who are quite overcome by sickness, as we know that medicine is here of no avail." For other definitions of the art and science of Medi­cine given by the ancients, see Pseudo-Galen (In-iroduct. Sen Medicus, c. 6. vol. xiv. pp. 680—o, ed. Ktihn). The invention of medicine was almost universally attributed by the ancients to the gods. (Hippocr. de Prisca Medic, vol. i. p. 39 ; Pseudo-Galen., Introd. cap. i. p. 674 ; Cic. Tusc. Dis. iii. 1 • Plin. //, N. xxix. 1.) Another source of in­formation was the observing the means resorted to by animals when labouring under disease. Pliny (//, Ar. viii. 41) gives many instances in which these instinctive efforts taught mankind the pro­perties of various plants, and the more simple sur­gical operations. The wild goats of Crete pointed out the use of the Dictamnus and vulnerary herbs : dogs when indisposed sought the Triticum repens^ and the same animal taught to the Egyptians the use of purgative, constituting the treatment called Syrmaism. The hippopotamus introduced the prac­tice of bleeding, and it is affirmed that the em­ployment of clysters was shown by the ibis. (Compare Pseudo-Galen, Introd. c. 1, p. 675.) Sheep with worms in their liver were seen seeking saline substances, and cattle affected with dropsy anxiously looked for chalybeate waters. We are told (Herod, i. 197 ; Strab. xvi. c. 1, ed. Tauchn.; Pseudo-Galen, Introd. I. c.} that the Babylonians and Chaldaeans had no physicians, and in cases of sickness the patient was carried out and exposed on the highway, that any persons passing by who had been affected in a similar manner, might give some information respecting the means that had afforded them relief. Shortly afterwards, these ob­servations of cures were suspended in the temples of the gods, and we find that in Egypt the walls of their sanctuaries were covered with records of this description. The priests of Greece adopted the same practice, and some of the tablets sus­pended in their temples are of a curious character, which will illustrate the custom. The following votive memorials are given by Hieron. Mercuri-alis (deArte Gymnast. Amstel. 4to. 1672, pp. 2, 3): —" Some days back a certain Cains, who was blind, learned from an oracle that he should repair to the temple, put up his fervent prayers, cross the sanctuary from right to left, place his five fingers on the altar, then raise his hand and cover his eyes. He obeyed, and instantly his sight was restored amidst the loud acclamations of the multitude. These signs of the omnipotence of the gods were shown -in the reign of Antoninus." " A blind


soldier named Valerius Apes, having consulted the oracle, was informed that he should mix the blood of a white cock with honey, to make up an oint­ment to be applied to his eyes, for three conse­cutive days: he received his sight, and returned public thanks to the gods." " Julian appeared lost beyond all hope from a spitting of blood. The god ordered him to take from the altar some seeds of the pine, and to mix them with honey, of which mixture he was to eat for three days. He was saved, and came to thank the gods in presence of the people."

With regard to the medical literature of the ancients, " When" (says Littre', Oeuvres Com­pletes d^IIippocrate, vol. i. Introd. ch. 1. p. 3) " one searches into the history of medicine and the commencement of the science, the first body of


doctrine that one meets with is the collection of writings known under the name of the works of Hippocrates. The science mounts up directly to that origin and there stops. Not that it had not been cultivated earlier, and had not given rise to even numerous productions; but every thing that had been made before the physician of Cos hag perished. We have only remaining of them scat­tered and unconnected fragments ; the works of Hippocrates have alone escaped destruction; and by a singular circumstance there exists a.great gap after them, as well as before them. The medical works from Hippocrates to the establishment of the school of Alexandria, and those of that school itself, are completely lost, except some quotations and passages preserved in the later writers ; so that the writings of Hippocrates remain alone amongst the ruins of ancient medical literature." The Asclepiadae, to which family Hippocrates belonged, were the supposed descendants of Aesculapius ('AcrtfA^Tnos), and were in a manner the heredi­tary physicians of Greece. They professed to have among them certain secrets of the medical art, which had been handed down to them from their great progenitor, and founded several medical schools in different parts of the world. Galen mentions (De MetJi. Med. i. 1. vol. x. pp. 5, 6) threo, viz., Rhodes, Cnidos, and Cos. The first of these appears soon to have become extinct, and has left no traces of its existence behind. From the second proceeded a collection of observations called Kvi-5icu IVwjuai, " Cnidian Sentences," a work of much reputation in early times, which is often mentioned by Hippocrates (de Rat. Vict. in Morb. Acut^)^ and which appears to have existed in the time of Galen, (Comment, in Hippocr. lib.cit. vol.xv.p. 427.) The school of Cos, however, is by far the most celebrated, on account of the greater number of eminent physicians that sprang from it, and espe­cially from having been the birth-place of the great Hippocrates. We learn from Herodotus (iii. 131) that there were also two celebrated medical schools at Crotona in Magna Graecia, and at Gyrene in Africa, of which he says that the former was in his time more esteemed in Greece than any other, and in the next place came that of Cyrene. In subsequent times the medical profession was di­vided into different sects ; but a detailed account of their opinions is foreign to the object of the present work. The oldest, and perhaps the most influential of these sects was that of the Dogmatic?', founded about b.c. 400 by Thessalus, the son, and Polybus, the son-in-law of Hippocrates, and thence called also the Hippocratici. These retained their influence till the rise of the Empirici, founded by Serapion of Alexandria, and Philinus of Cos, in the third century b. c., and so called, because they professed to derive their knowledge from expe­rience only ; after which time every member of the medical profession during a long period ranged himself in one of these two sects. In the first century b. c., Themison founded the sect of the Metliodici) who held doctrines nearly intermediate between those of the two sects already mentioned. About two centuries later the Methodici were divided into numerous sects, as the doctrines of particular physicians became more generally re­ceived. The chief of these sects were the Pneu-matici and the Eclectici; the former founded by Athenaeus about the middle or end of the first century a. d. ; the latter about the same time

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