Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

ROMAN MEDICAL MEN.

In the early days of Roman civiliza- ear; and interesting relics of the tion, the medical men had not past, bearing upon them the names obtained the position due to their of skilled practitioners, are to be learning; this may be accounted for found deciphered in Grotefend's by the fact that most of the princi- work upon the stamps of the Roman pal families in Rome possessed a oculists (Stempel der röm. Augenfreedman, or libertinus, who had ärzte), as well as in the Rev. C. been educated in the profession. King's interesting and valuable Justinian informs us that the price account of “ Ancient Gems." of such a slave (before manumission) The government of Rome, which was about sixty pieces of gold. was strictly paternal, ordered phySuetonius records tbat Julius sicians to be stationed in the various Cæsar, among the many innovations provinces and communes under its he introduced, being anxious to in- rule, granting them, as an especial crease the prosperity and impor- inducement, exemption from taxatance of Rome, bestowed the citizen- tion, an inducement which was ship, as we are told, on many of the sufficient to urge Galen to enter the foreigners who hastened to this Roman service. The various guilds city from Greece, Asia Minor, and which abounded in Rome, the leEgypt to practise their art; and gions, cohorts, gladiatorial schools, further, when owing to famine and all bodies, were compelled to Augustus felt bound to banish have their special medical attenfrom the city the many foreign dants, and this custom soon became residents, we are told by the same the fashion with the leading famiwriter that, among those especially lies, as may be seen from Galen's exempted froin this decree biography. This learned physician, the medical men and præceptors a native of Pergamus, studied at (peregrinosque omnes, exceptis the celebrated schools of medicine medicis et præceptoribus, partem- at Alexandria and Corinth, settled que servitiorum Urbe expulsişset), for some years in Rome, returning thus proving the esteem felt at that to Asia Minor A.D. 167, to study the time for those who had undoubtedly effects of the terrible plague which founded for themselves a reputation burst out in that year, and on his for their learning.

return accompanied Commodus in Few Romans cared to embrace bis expedition against Germany as the study of medicine; foreigners to one of the staff (åpxlat pós), sucthe soil flocked from all parts, ceeding when on duty Demetrius, a bringing with them the choice physici an renowned for bis skill in medicaments to be found in Greece the preparation of theriac, and and Egypt, together with the tho- thus becoming physician in orrough knowledge of the diseases dinary. 80 prevalent in southern countries, Martial, who seems to have reEven at the present day the name joiced in depicting the many foibles of Galen sounds familiar to the of his time and adopted home,

were

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

[ocr errors]

were

[ocr errors]

COU

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

methuo) being preventives against and fastened the sea abounding in intoxication ; when engraved with a flowing waves, who hath dried up symbol of the sun or moon and Lot's wife and made of her a pillar suspended from the neck by the of salt, receive into thyself the bair of a cynocephalus, this stone spirit and forces of thy mother the will resist magic potions, qualities earth and dry up the fluxion in the which, however, it has evidently lost hands or feet of such and such an since the days of the natural his- one.' Next day take a bone of any torian. The medical men dead animal and dig up the root easily induced by their own super

before break of day, saying stitious feelings to rush into charla- jure thee by the holy names, Jaoth, tanism; Scribonius mentioning a Sabaoth, Adonai, Elohim.' Then remedy against colic which he had sprinkle a little salt upon the root, puchased from an old woman, wbile saying "As this salt shall not inTrallianus for the same disease ad

crease, so let not the pains of the vises the patient to wear an intaglio patient increase.' Then take the of Hercules strangling the lion, small end of the root, tie it upon cut upon a Median stone. As this the patient, but hang up the relatter physician flourished under mainder thereof for 360 days over Justinian, his remarks are the more the fireplace.” interesting, as showing that super- Another remedy against colic stition was as rife at that time as mentioned by him, for an account during the days of Pindar, when of which, as for the above, we are describing the remedies adopted by indebted to the Rev. C. W. King, Æsculapius to cure the many cases M.A., is the wearing of an iron brought to him.

ring engraved with the words QEYTE Scribonius (compos. medic. præf.) ΦΕΥΓΕ ΙΟΥ ΧΟΛΗ Η ΚΟΡΥΔΑΟΛΣ gives a list of remedies against the bite SE ZHTEI. “Fly, fly, ho there! of serpents, against dropsy, stone, Bile, the lark is looking for thee.” and other diseases, and it is assuring Galen in his works refuses to beto us to be told by this “allopathic lieve that any medicinal properties practitioner" that he essayed their are to be found in the human brain, various virtues on himself without liver, flesh, blood, or bones, and evil effects.

blames Xenocrates for asserting The following prescription against such a proposition, though he maingout given by Trallianus we have tains the efficiency of a remedy, great pleasure in transcribing for which we cannot here describe, to our readers, boping that some may be applied externally in cases of thereby combat the dira podagra ulcerated sore throats. He gives with success. • When the moon is a list of several medicines, their in Aquarius or Pisces, dig up, before effects, and the people for whom he break of day, the sacred herb hyos- bad prescribed them. Many of his cyamus with the forefinger and anecdotes and directions would be thumb of the left hand, being care

found useful even at the present ful not to touch the root, and say time, and we can but feel how they 'I speak unto thee, I speak unto remind us of anecdotes relating to thee, O sacred herb! I call thee members of the medical faculty as that thou come to-morrow into the late as the beginning of this cen house of Phileas, that thou mayest tury. Doctors, according to him, stop the fluxion in the feet or hand were addicted to jealousy, strife, of such a But I conjure envy, coarse vehemence in the thee in the great name of A20 schools against rival doctrines, disSABA 20 who hath fixed the earth putes over the sick bed, murder,

[ocr errors]

9

one.

and adultry Martial (VI. 31) tuam ærecollato juxta signum Æscuhints the reason why Charidemus lapii statuerunt.) shuts his eyes to his wife's indiscre- Tacitus mentions several cases tions with the medical attendant,- where the court physician attained

to dignities and honours. Fees were “ Uxorem, Charideme, tuam scis ipse evidently pretty considerable,especi. sinisque

ally when the physician had attained A medico futui ; vis sine febre mori." to reputation. Galen received a fee

of 400 pieces of gold for curing the Herodes, stole a cup while attend. wife of Boethus (£435). The court ing a patient whom he supposes physician appointed by Claudius will no longer require it, (IX. 96)— showed by his books that he was

making an income of 600,000 “ Clinicus Herodes trullam subduxerat sestertii, and that by accepting the ægro

post offered to him, the value of Deprensus, dixit, 'Stulte, quid ergo which was less than half that sum bibis'"?

(250,000 S.), he was proving both

his love and loyalty to the Emperor. Cosmetics and other “beautifying” Many more instances might be washes were being constantly made quoted of large sums, but the above up, prepared, and invented by medi- are sufficient, though we

need cal men-dyes, depilatories, scents, scarcely add that several among the and essences.

Martial gives the minor practitioners found it pretty names of some physicians who evi- hard work to make both ends meet, dently were renowned as specialists. and, as we have shown from the Cascellius extracts the aching tooth, extracts quoted from Martial, reHyginus burns away the superfluous turned to their former occupations, hair which may irritate the eye, or began some entirely new trade. Eros effaces the tristia stigmata The most amusing and natural which has branded the forehead of part of Galen's work, and that which the slave now free, while Hermes is even at the present time may be equal to Polidarius in his treatment taken as a

satire on many perof ruptures.

sons, members not only of the proHydropathy numbered many fessions, but those also in enjoyment celebrated physicians in its ranks of private fortunes, is to be found who were opposed to the treatment in bis directions as to the behaviour followed by the school which or- of medical men when attending dered wine to be given, the latter the sick-room. Our author advises being known, as are told by physicians to pay frequent or few Marquardt under the name of visits according to the wish of the oivodóra. To the former school patient, many persons objecting to

. belonged Musa, the physician who repeated visits. Physicians often, cured Augustus by the cold bath by speaking loud, and treading treatment, and who was the first heavily, awake the sick person from physician raised by the gift of the what may be a refreshing sleep, and gold ring (jus annuli) to the rank thus a feeling of dislike is produced. of knight, being exempted from all The attitude adopted must be one taxation, and receiving, as we are of care, neither obtrusive nor sertold by Suetonius, the honour of vile, as, according to Hippocrates, a statue erected by public subscrip- the cure depended on three things, tion, near to that of Asculapius. the patient, the disease, and the (Medico Antonio Musæ cujus opera physician. Quintus, a countryman ex ancipiti morbo convaluerat sta- of Galen, once smelt so strongly of

we

« ForrigeFortsæt »