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mihi, dignitatem medicæ artis tueri.” And to Asclepiades, then the most popular physician of the city, he alludes as his personal friend, celebrated as much for his refined eloquence as for his skill in physic.*
In the time of Cicero, the study of philosophy had already become essential to what was considered an accomplished education. This study implied an acquaintance with the Greek language, and was imperceptibly attracting attention to medicine, from which the teachers of philosophy were in the habit of deriving their aptest illustrations, and with which their own doctrines were inseparably united. The statesmen and orators of the nation, becoming in youth familiar with medicine as a department of philosophy, began at length to respect it as an art, and to give to its professors their protection and encouragement. Hence the various laws introduced soon after the organization of the empire, for the benefit of the profession.
Cæsar, after reaching the summit of his power, in order to attract men of science to the capital, and to improve the condition of those already there, decreed that all who practiced physic at Rome, and all the masters of the liberal arts therein residing, should enjoy the privilege of citizenship. And Augustus, after having been relieved of a dangerous illness by his freed-man, Antonius Musa, loaded this physician with wealth ; raised him, by consent of the Senate, to the equestrian rank; erected a bronze statue to his honor near that of Æsculapius ; and, at his instigation, conferred important privileges on the whole body of the profession then residing in the city. These privileges were afterwards confirmed and extended by Vespasian, Adrian, Antoninus Pius, Domitian, Alexander Severus, and other later emperors.
* De Oratore.
+ Suetonius, Julius Cæsar, cap. xlii.
Asclepiades, the friend of Cicero already mentioned, was a native of Prussa in Bithynia. To him, more than to any other individual, belongs the credit of having first raised the medical profession in Rome to the confidence and respect of the people.f Educated under Cleophantus at Alexandria, he had practiced medicine, and been employed as a teacher of elocution at Athens, and other parts of Greece, before taking up his abode in Rome. Of an acute and discerning mind, he soon discovered that the principal source of mistrust towards those who who had preceded him, lay in their crude and unfeeling practice. And though at this time perhaps not deeply versed in the principles of his art, he saw the advantage of instituting an entirely different course. Accordingly, rejecting most internal medicines as liable to offend the stomach, he confined himself principally to hygienic measures, and to regulating the diet. To enforce his own views, he turned his eloquence to good account as a public teacher, and originated the first school of medicine in the city. He was the author of a treatise on General Remedies, in which he dwelt mainly on friction of the skin, and beyond this, only on passive exercise, and the use of wine. The novelty and attractive character of his practice rendered him popular, and secured to him lucrative occupation, from which he accumulated a princely fortune. Adopting the atomic philosophy of Epicurus, he attributed all diseases to obstruction of the primary atoms in their passage through the invisible pores; and the restoration of these atoms to their equable relation to the pores, so as to move without embarrassment, he made the principal indication in his treatment. This theory was afterwards more fully elaborated by his successors, in whose hands it was expanded into the distinctive doctrine of the Methodic sect.
* Seutonius, Octav. August., cap. lix. † See Cassius, Celsus, Cælius Aurelianus, Pliny, Apuleius Madaurensis. * Florida, cap. xix. + Vol. ii. p. 165, and elsewhere in numerous places. † Preface to first book.
The merits of Asclepiades as a reformer, have been differently estimated by different writers, some looking upon him as little more than a successful charlatan, others as a philosophical physician. Apuleius Madaurensis declares him superior to all other physicians, Hippocrates only excepted.* Galen charges him with many absurdities, † and with having but little knowledge of the great fathers of the profession, whom he affected to ridicule; for he had characterized even the writings of Hippocrates as a meditation upon the dead. But Celsus, I his more moderate defender, declares he was the first after Heraclides of Tarentum, to effect important improvements in the healing art; and yet admits that he assumed as his own, the use of friction as a
therapeutic agent, to which he had no claim, inasmuch as it had been in use since the time of Hippocrates ; adding, however, that Asclepiades had treated of this more fully and clearly than any former writer. To him we owe the aphoristic phrase, “ Tuto, cito, ut jucunde,” or, as given by Celsus, “ Asclepiades officium esse medici dicit, ut tuto, ut celeriter, ut jucunde curet.” He was the first to announce the doctrine of the self-limitation of disease, asserting that the principal cure for a fever was the disease itself. He wrote on ulcers, and on acute and chronic diseases. He recommended tracheotomy in threatened suffocation.* His claim to our respect appears to lie in his rejection of the complex, violent, and perturbing remedies in use before his day, and substituting for them such as were simple and grateful to the sick; and in looking upon his art as useful only so far as it served to alleviate actual suffering, or to administer consolation to his patients. Remarkable for independence of judgment, and for a certain elevation of character, he would have the presence of the physician a source of pleasure and encouragement to the patient rather than of foreboding and mistrust, and the physician himself to perform the double function of curing disease as became a skillful and compassionate practitioner, and of cheering and amusing the sick as became a friend. He settled at Rome in the time of Pompey, about 63 years before the birth of Christ; and he is said to have been killed by a fall from a ladder in his extreme old age.
* Cassius, Cælius Aurelianus, and Galen, vol. xiv. p. 274, Kuhn's edition.
Antonius Musa, who was so highly honored by Augustus and the Roman Senate, is spoken of as an able and judicious writer. According to Pliny* he owed his first success to having recommended to Augustus the use of lettuce, which his former attendant, Camilius, had prohibited. He was an advocate for the cold bath as a means of restringing the pores ; a practice which at this time appears to have been considered an innovation; and the cure of Augustus, according to Suetonius,t was effected by substituting cold instead of warm applications. A small treatise attributed to bim, and dedicated to Marcus Agrippa, the son-in-law of Augustus, is still extant. It is entitled “De Herba Vetonica," I and, in the short space of eight octavo pages, treats of this plant in its application to forty-seven different ailments. This little work is in Latin, although its author, like most of the physicians of the time, was probably a Greek. His brother was highly esteemed by Juba II., king of Numidia, who was himself a man of great learning, and the author of the first Greek history of Rome; and who, on discovering a new medicinal plant near Mount Atlås, named it after this physician; and it is still known by the name first as
l signed to it, the Euphorbia.
Cassius, of whom Celsus speaks as recently dead, and as the most ingenious physician of his age, must
* Nat. Hist. lib. xix.
Xxxviii. † Suetonius, Octav. August., cap. lxxxiii.
* Liber Antonii Musæ de Herba Vetonica, et liber Apuleii de Medicamentibus Herbarum. Per Gabrielem Humelbergium, Basileæ, 8vo. 1536.
& Pliny, Nat. Hist. lib. xxv. cap. xxxviii.