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ROMAN MEDICAL MEN.

In the early days of Roman civilization, the medical men had not obtained the position due to their learning; this may be accounted for by the fact that most of the principal families in Rome possessed a freedman, or libertinus, who had been educated in the profession. Justinian informs us that the price of such a slave (before manumission) was about sixty pieces of gold. Suetonius records that Julius Cæsar, among the many innovations he introduced, being anxious to increase the prosperity and importance of Rome, bestowed the citizenship, as we are told, on many of the foreigners who hastened to this city from Greece, Asia Minor, and Egypt to practise their art; and further, when owing to famine Augustus felt bound to banish from the city the many foreign residents, we are told by the same writer that, among those especially exempted from this decree

were

the medical men and præceptors (peregrinosque omnes, exceptis medicis et præceptoribus, partemque servitiorum Ürbe expulsisset), thus proving the esteem felt at that time for those who had undoubtedly founded for themselves a reputation for their learning.

Few Romans cared to embrace the study of medicine; foreigners to the soil flocked from all parts, bringing with them the choice medicaments to be found in Greece and Egypt, together with the thorough knowledge of the diseases so prevalent in southern countries. Even at the present day the name of Galen sounds familiar to the

ear; and interesting relics of the past, bearing upon them the names of skilled practitioners, are to be found deciphered in Grotefend's work upon the stamps of the Roman oculists (Stempel der röm. Augenärzte), as well as in the Rev. C. King's interesting and valuable account of "Ancient Gems."

The government of Rome, which was strictly paternal, ordered physicians to be stationed in the various provinces and communes under its rule, granting them, as an especial inducement, exemption from taxation, an inducement which was sufficient to urge Galen to enter the Roman service. The various guilds which abounded in Rome, the legions, cohorts, gladiatorial schools, and all bodies, were compelled to have their special medical attendants, and this custom soon became the fashion with the leading families, as may be seen from Galen's biography. This learned physician, a native of Pergamus, studied at the celebrated schools of medicine at Alexandria and Corinth, settled for some years in Rome, returning to Asia Minor A.D. 167, to study the effects of the terrible plague which burst out in that year, and on his return accompanied Commodus in his expedition against Germany as one of the staff (apxiar pós), succeeding when on duty Demetrius, a physician renowned for his skill in the preparation of theriac, and thus becoming physician in ordinary.

Martial, who seems to have rejoiced in depicting the many foibles of his time and adopted home,

often laughs at those who had entered the profession, not being successful in others, and vice versâ, Diaulus (I. 30) becoming an undertaker (vispillo), having failed to make both ends meet as chirurgus, thus being, perhaps, more useful to his clientèle,

"Chirurgus fuerat, nunc est vispillo Diaulus

Capit quo poterat clinicus esse modo;"

The same name being again mentioned (I 47)

Nuper erat medicus, nunc est vispillo
Diaulus

Quod vispillo facit, fuerat et medicus;"

while (VIII. 74) gives a rap at an oculist who had joined the hoplomachi, or gladiators armed at all points,

"Hoplomachus nunc es, fueras ophthal

michus ante.

Fuisti medicus quod facis hoplo

machus."

We may therefore very safely assume that the "examination mania," and the Civil Service Commissioners, were unknown to the Roman people, Galen finding it even necessary to warn his confrères against making grammatical or colloquial errors when addressing men. of culture, founding his advice on the fact that many "quacks" were not even able to read. Again, in his "De meth. med." he mentions that Thessalus, who had been originally apprenticed to his own father, as weaver, and who under Nero obtained great success as a practitioner, had given it as his opinion that six months' study was sufficient to enable any man to qualify as doctor. The system of being attended during the various visits by pupils was also frequent, many allusions being made to this babit as a valuable means of giving and acquiring a practical knowledge

of various diseases, though it was not always pleasant to the patient, whose pulse was felt by many chilly hands as he lay burning with fever, producing thereby an ague. (Epig. V. 9)—

"Languebam; sed tu comitatus protinus ad me,

Venisti centum, Symmache, discipulis; Centum me tetigere manus aquilone gelato,

Non habui febrem, Symmache, nunc habeo."

Another mode very much in Vogue at the time, is mentioned by Galen alluding to the discussions which took place in public, when the various doctors, accompanied by their disciples, engaged in disputes, answered the many questions proposed to them, and tried by many artful dodges to increase their practice. Galen relates

an

occurrence which took place shortly after his arrival in Rome, when he engaged and defeated the followers of the school of Erasistratus on the subject of bleeding, his arguments being so convincing as to be adopted by many of his opponents. In the works that have come down to us, the light seems never to be placed under the unnecessary bushel, as, like most authors of ancient days, Galen writes with an aplomb which would meet with rather sharp criticism were such a complacent style now to be adopted.

Prescriptions not being usually made up by the apothecary, the doctor had himself to be thoroughly acquainted with the qualities of various herbs, drugs, and salves; we do not mean to say that apothecaries did not exist, as inscriptions are yet remaining in which the aromatarii are especially mentioned, and Galen uses the expression "these confounded drug-dealers (Galen, XIII.571), whom he accuses of adulterating the extracts ob

houses.

tained from the various plants. He up in the various imperial storehimself, when a young man, had learnt how to fabricate balsam, According to fashion did men take Lemuian earth, white oxide of zinc, even at that time their medicines, and many other

other medicaments, and Galen (de antidd.) mentions though he, however, refuses to give that Marcus Aurelius daily took a details, as many men would be dose of theriacum, thereby rendersufficiently unprincipled to follow ing this medicine fashionable, causthem out and thus gull the ing so great a run upon it, that at public, not to say the less learned times the city did not contain suffi. medical men.

Rather would be cient ingredients to make the necesurge young men to devote them- sary doses. After the death of the selves so entirely to study as to Emperor, theriacum was no longer master in the most thorough man- à la mode, and we may well imagine per the qualities of the drugs con- that people waited with anxiety

for tained not only in plants and metals, the next imperial medicament. The but also to be found in various parts skilful preparation of this remedy of some animals. He had travelled was the turning-point which brought far and visited many parts of the Galen into notice, and indeed this globe to obtain the medicines for must bave required a certain amount which each was renowned, going to of learning, as he tells us of sixty-one Lemnos for earth, to Cyprus to various ingredients which served in obtain the substances found in the its composition, dried adders formcopper mines. From Soli he ob- ing an important part. The distained enough vitriol, siliceo-car- coverer of this remedy, Andromabonate of zinc, and whitelead to chus, physician to Nero, boasted of last him bis lifetime; from the its efficacy as an antidote both Black Sea, aspbaltum; from Phe- against poison and disease of every nicia, Indian aloes and lycium, which sort. Poisoning being, as we know, latter was imitated in Rome rather a favourite means with the cleverly as to deceive many people. Romans of getting rid of an enemy, Of oil, which played an important antidotes were very welcome addipart in all remedial applications, be tions to the family medicine chest. had a suppiy bequeathed to him by Scribonius gives not only the names his father, matured to such an age of useful antidotes, but details at as to render it doubly valuable. length the symptoms exbibited by

The elder Pliny, in his Natural those suffering from attacks proHistory, relates many facts conceru- duced by litbarge, henbane, opium, ing the botanists, who grew in their and other poisons too numerous to own gardens the plants from which mention. Of course, though it is several medicines were extracted, impossible to say to what extent and refers directly to the collection the aptidotes were effective, we need formed by Antonius Castor, in but recall to the memory of our wbich were exbibited to him all readers the lightning rapidity of the most renowned plants, culti- action of the Medici poisons to vated far from their native soils by point out how even the bravest enithis learned botanist. For the use perors must have bastened to adopt of the Emperor and the members any remedy likely to produce alleof the imperial family, came from viation. all parts of the world, labelled and Pliny records the uses of various inscribed with the name and place stones when employed against diswhere found, packets of carefully ease, but at the present time they prepared berbs, which were stored appear ridiculous-amethysts (a

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methuo) being preventives against intoxication; when engraved with a symbol of the sun or moon and suspended from the neck by the hair of a cynocephalus, this stone will resist magic potions, qualities which, however, it has evidently lost since the days of the natural historian. The medical men were easily induced by their own superstitious feelings to rush into charlatanism; Scribonius mentioning a remedy against colic which he had puchased from an old woman, while Trallianus for the same disease advises the patient to wear an intaglio of Hercules strangling the lion, cut upon a Median stone. latter physician flourished under Justinian, his remarks are the more interesting, as showing that superstition was as rife at that time as during the days of Pindar, when describing the remedies adopted by Esculapius to cure the many cases brought to him.

As this

Scribonius (compos. medic. præf.) gives a list of remedies against the bite of serpents, against dropsy, stone, and other diseases; and it is assuring to us to be told by this "allopathic practitioner " that he essayed their various virtues on himself without evil effects.

The following prescription against gout given by Trallianus we have great pleasure in transcribing for our readers, hoping that some may thereby combat the dira podagra with success. "When the moon is in Aquarius or Pisces, dig up, before break of day, the sacred herb byoscyamus with the forefinger and thumb of the left hand, being careful not to touch the root, and say 'I speak unto thee, I speak unto thee, O sacred herb! I call thee that thou come to-morrow into the house of Phileas, that thou mayest stop the fluxion in the feet or hand of such a one. But I conjure thee in the great name of Ave ΣΑΒΑ ΩΘ who hath fixed the earth

and fastened the sea abounding in flowing waves, who hath dried up Lot's wife and made of her a pillar of salt, receive into thyself the spirit and forces of thy mother the earth and dry up the fluxion in the

hands or feet of such and such an one.' Next day take a bone of any dead animal and dig up the root before break of day, saying 'I coujure thee by the holy names, Jaoth, Sabaoth, Adonai, Elohim.' Then sprinkle a little salt upon the root, saying 'As this salt shall not increase, so let not the pains of the patient increase.' Then take the small end of the root, tie it upon the patient, but hang up the remainder thereof for 360 days over the fireplace."

Another remedy against colic mentioned by him, for an account of which, as for the above, we are indebted to the Rev. C. W. King, M.A., is the wearing of an iron ring engraved with the words EYTE

ΦΕΥΓΕ ΙΟΥ ΧΟΛΗ Η ΚΟΡΥΔΑΟΛΣ

ΣE ZHTEI. "Fly, fly, ho there! Bile, the lark is looking for thee."

Galen in his works refuses to believe that any medicinal properties are to be found in the human brain, liver, flesh, blood, or bones, and blames Xenocrates for asserting such a proposition, though he maintains the efficiency of a remedy, which we cannot here describe, to be applied externally in cases of ulcerated sore throats. He gives a list of several medicines, their effects, and the people for whom he had prescribed them. Many of his anecdotes and directions would be found useful even at the present time, and we can but feel how they remind us of anecdotes relating to members of the medical faculty as late as the beginning of this century. Doctors, according to him, were addicted to jealousy, strife, envy, coarse vehemence in the schools against rival doctrines, disputes over the sick bed, murder,

and adultry Martial (VI. 31) hints the reason why Charidemus shuts his eyes to his wife's indiscretions with the medical attendant,

"Uxorem, Charideme, tuam scis ipse sinisque

A medico futui; vis sine febre mori."

Herodes, stole a cup while attending a patient whom he supposes will no longer require it, (IX. 96)

"Clinicus Herodes trullam subduxerat ægro

Deprensus, dixit, 'Stulte, quid ergo bibis'"?

Cosmetics and other "beautifying" washes were being constantly made up, prepared, and invented by medical men-dyes, depilatories, scents, and essences. Martial gives the names of some physicians who evidently were renowned as specialists. Cascellius extracts the aching tooth, Hyginus burns away the superfluous hair which may irritate the eye, Eros effaces the tristia stigmata which has branded the forehead of the slave now free, while Hermes is equal to Polidarius in his treatment of ruptures.

Hydropathy numbered many celebrated physicians in its ranks. who were opposed to the treatment followed by the school which ordered wine to be given, the latter being known, as we are told by Marquardt under the name of οἰνοδόται. To the former school belonged Musa, the physician who cured Augustus by the cold bath treatment, and who was the first physician raised by the gift of the gold ring (jus annuli) to the rank of knight, being exempted from all taxation, and receiving, as we are told by Suetonius, the honour of a statue erected by public subscription, near to that of Esculapius. (Medico Antonio Musa cujus opera ex ancipiti morbo convaluerat sta

tuam ærecollato juxta signum Æsculapii statuerunt.)

Tacitus mentions several cases where the court physician attained to dignities and honours. Fees were evidently pretty considerable,especially when the physician had attained to reputation. Galen received a fee of 400 pieces of gold for curing the wife of Boethus (£435). The court physician appointed by Claudius showed by his books that he was making an income of 600,000 sestertii, and that by accepting the post offered to him, the value of which was less than half that sum (250,000 S.), he was proving both his love and loyalty to the Emperor. Many more instances might be quoted of large sums, but the above are sufficient, though we need scarcely add that several among the minor practitioners found it pretty hard work to make both ends meet, and, as we have shown from the extracts quoted from Martial, returned to their former occupations, or began some entirely new trade.

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The most amusing and natural part of Galen's work, and that which even at the present time may be taken as a satire on many persons, members not only of the professions, but those also in enjoyment of private fortunes, is to be found in his directions as to the behaviour of medical men when attending the sick-room. Our author advises physicians to pay frequent or few visits according to the wish of the patient, many persons objecting to repeated visits. Physicians often, by speaking loud, and treading heavily, awake the sick person from what may be a refreshing sleep, and thus a feeling of dislike is produced. The attitude adopted must be one of care, neither obtrusive nor servile, as, according to Hippocrates, the cure depended on three things, the patient, the disease, and the physician. Quintus, a countryman of Galen, once smelt so strongly of

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