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for the cure of particular ailments; and, as usual, his antidotes, theriacæ, plasters, and embrocations, are highly illustrative of the polypharmacy of his times. He gives the formula for the celebrated mithridaticum, an antidote against all kinds of poisons, said to have been invented or employed by Mithridates, king of Pontus ; but which, as here given, differs materially as well from the formula said to have been discovered by Pompey among the archives of Mithridates, as from that which we find in Galen.* How far this work of Scribonius Largus was original, and how far derived from other writers, we are not able to determine. By some critics it is said to have been little else than a translation from Nicander; but careful perusal will show that portions of it, at least, could not have been from that early source.
The writer himself expressly informs us that the greater part of his compositions he had himself prepared and used, and that the rest were mostly obtained from his friends. Among these friends must have been Apuleius, his preceptor, whose writings he may have appropriated with considerable freedom. For Marcellus Empiricus, who makes no allusion to this work, and acknowledges that he himself has copied from Apuleius, gives numerous passages which are also found almost word for word in the writings of Scribonius. Again, this author has been charged with recommending his medicaments indiscriminately; but he himself declares that, in the diseases for which they are intended, they will sometimes prove beneficial and sometimes fail, according to the condition or age of the patient, the season of the year, peculiarities of time and place, or other varying circumstances; and that even in bodies to all appearance similarly situated, the same agent will not always produce the same effects.
* The Mithridaticum, according to Pliny, was a composition for the luxurious who could afford to pay for it, consisting of fifty-four different ingredients derived from abroad, and used where simple domestic remedies would have answered as well. See Hist. Nat. xxix. 8.
About this same epoch also flourished Athenæus, a native of Attaleia, in Asia Minor, who, while practicing and teaching at Rome, took strong ground against the Methodists, and became the founder of the Pneumatic sect* He is generally supposed to have written subsequent to the time of Cornelius Celsus, inasmuch as the latter makes no direct allusion to him. But the doctrines of this fourth sect were essentially the same as those promulgated by Erasistratus, in reference to the Pneuma, or spirit, as a fifth element; the disturbance of which in the living body was assumed to be the essential cause of all diseases. Now, to this doctrine Celsus does allude, and even devotes a section in strenuous opposition to it, referring to Erasistratus as its author. The doctrine of a fifth element, however, was even more ancient than this writer. The term Pneuma was employed by Aristotle; and the five elements are distinctly enumerated in the “Epinomis," a dialogue which on good authority is ascribed to Plato,
* See Galen, Kuhn's edition, vol. vii. 609, viii. 749, xix. 347, 356. He should not be confounded with Athenæus of Naucratis, who flourished in the third century.
or at latest, to his pupil, Philip of Opuntium.* As there are five bodies, observes the author of this dialogue, it is requisite to say that fire is the first, water the second, air the third, earth the fourth, and æther the fifth; and that in the domains of each of these is produced many an animal, and of every kind.
Athenæus, then, owed his reputation more to his attack upon the Methodists than to the modifica
' tions of Rationalism which he adopted. His own peculiar opinions were of only temporary notoriety. Agathinus of Lacedæmonia, who had been among his followers, undertook to reconcile the doctrines of his master with those of the other sects, and thus became the founder of the Episynthetics, or Eclectics. I
SECTION II.-The later Methodists of the Roman School.
Among the writers of the Roman school, it is not always easy to distinguish those who were of Grecian birth, from those of Roman origin. As early as the reign of Augustus, the Greek became the accepted language of the court;& and it had always been the language of the schools, and of science. Among the early Roman Medical writers forsaking their native language, were Sextus Niger and Julius Bassus, who are referred to by Pliny and others, but of whose writings we have no remains. They were both of the Methodic sect, as were also most of the practitioners at Rome between the reign of Augustus and that of Marcus Aurelius; of whom, besides those already mentioned, were the Greek physicians Andromachus, Thessalus, Philomenus, Archigenes, Heliodorus, Antyllus, and So
* Plato (Kuhn's edition), vol. vi. p. 195. + Ibid. vol. vi. p. 17. † Galen, vol. xix. 353.
& Suetonius, in Life of Augustus.
Andromachus the elder, was of Crete, and a pupil of Diogenes of Babylon.* He was physician to the emperor Nero, and the first to enjoy the official distinction of Archiater, a title to which we shall have occasion to return. He was celebrated for his theriaca, into which he introduced the flesh of vipers, to which, at that time, were ascribed wonderful effects as an antidote.
Thessalus was a native of Tralles, in Lydia, and is spoken of by Plinyt and Galen, as a charlatan. He was a man of low origin, vulgar manners, and supercilious spirit. Though of the Methodic sect, he had too little regard for the opinions of others to be the strict follower of any theorist. With little knowledge of the literature of medicine, he held himself superior to all his predecessors, and boasted of being able to impart the whole art to his pupils in the space of six months. He flourished at Rome during the reign of Nero, and by his practice accumulated immense wealth. He was the author of several works, all of which have perished. Cælius Aurelianus attributes to him a treatise, in several books, on Dietetics; and another, also in several books, entitled “Comparatio.”
* Galen, in numerous passages.
Hist. Nat. lib. xxix, cap. v.
Philomenus, another writer of the Methodic sect, flourished about this same epoch, and is occasionally quoted by Oribasius, Aëtius, and Alexander Trallianus. He pointed out the affinity between dysentery and the prevailing fever of the season. He was the first to recommend assafoetida and frictions with tepid oil, for the treatment of tetanus. He wrote on the diseases of women, and on the removal of the fætus by artificial means.*
Archigenes of Apamea, in Syria, was in great repute at Rome, as a physician and surgeon. He flourished in the reign of Trajan. His works were numerous, and are often quoted with commendation, by Galen and others. He wrote ten books on fevers, three on local affections, also on the use of castor, and of hellebore in mentagra and other cutaneous affections; and on surgical diseases, some fragments of which are still extant in the collections of Nicetas. His description of the operation of amputating, is worthy of notice. He begins by retracting the integuments of the limb; he next applies a circular compress or tourniquet for controlling the loss of blood; he even recommends, when necessary, a preliminary operation for securing the bloodvessels and stitching them, before proceeding to the
* See Sprengel, tome ii. p. 31.
+ Græcorum Chirurgici libri, e collectione Nicetæ, conversi et editi ab Antonio Cocchio. Florentiæ, fol. 1754, p. 118 and 154.