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GREEK WRITERS AND TEACHERS NOT OF THE ROMAN
SCHOOL BUT CONTEMPORARY WITH IT.
AMONG the Greek writers not strictly of the Roman school, who flourished during the epoch at present under consideration, were Dioscorides of Anazarba, Ruffus of Ephesus, Aretæus of Cappadocia, and Marcellus of Sida.
Mr. Sharpe, the able historian of Egypt, makes Dioscorides the physician of Cleopatra. But Galen speaks of him as a recent writer; and from his own works* it is evident he must have lived as late as the reign of Claudius. He was probably educated at Alexandria, which still retained some share of its early celebrity. He subsequently traveled extensively in Europe and Asia, and for a part of his life was occupied as an army surgeon. His great work on the Materia Medica, the only complete treatise of the sort that had hitherto appeared, was the result of much personal inquiry and experience; and the portions of it not thus acquired, were drawn as he informs us, from the most reliable sources. Galen speaks highly of his accuracy; and, as an authority, his name is hardly yet obsolete among the writers on the materia medica. Besides this able treatise in five books, he has left a work on poisons. To him is also ascribed another work in two books, entitled Euporista, which is dedicated to Andromachus of Crete, physician to the emperor Nero. This latter work was, in all probability, by another hand. Whoever may have been its author, he has grouped his remedies according to their therapeutic actions, and their application to particular ailments.
* Pedanii Dioscoridis Anazarbei de Materia Medica libri quinque, &c. Lipsiæ, 1829-30; 2 vols., Kuhn's edition.
Ruffus of Ephesus was the author of a treatise on anatomy, a short essay on diseases of the urinary organs, and a fragment on the use of purgatives, all of which are still extant.* His treatise on the Materia Medica, written in verse, has perished. His anatomical work is the only portion of his writings worthy of special notice, and this is of some value as showing the condition of anatomical science immediately before the time of Galen. His descriptions are mostly taken from his own observations. He alludes to the dissection of the human body as a practice permitted in a previous and more liberal age, and regrets the necessity of confining his own
, investigations to apes and other animals most resembling man. He speaks of the commissure of the optic nerves, of the arteries as containing blood, of the heart as the source of animal heat, of life, and of the arterial pulse. According to some writers, Ruffus, too, was physician to Cleopatra; but more reliable authorities place him as late as the reign of Trajan.
* Ruffi Ephesii Medici, de Appellationibus Partium Corporis Humani libri iii. ; Tractus de Vesicæ ac Renum Affectibus, et Fragmenta de Medicamentis Purgantibus.—Medicæ Artis Principes. Venetiis, 1567.
Aretæus of Cappadocia* appears to have been educated at Alexandria, or at least to have resided in Egypt. For, in treating of cynanche, a disease of which he has furnished an admirable description, he dwells upon the climate and modes of living there, as more likely to give rise to this disease than the climate or modes of life in Colosyria. The period at which he wrote is uncertain. Some have placed him prior to the reign of Augustus, and others after the time of Galen. There has been as much discrepancy among critics concerning the sect to which he belonged, as concerning his place of residence or the period at which he flourished. Aretæus is one of the most original and elegant writers of antiquity. For truth and accuracy of description, some have even placed him above Hippocrates. There is perhaps no modern writer to whom he can be more aptly compared than Heberden. He appears to have written at that period of life when the mind, tempered and enriched by ample experience, is more disposed to rely upon personal observation than on the teaching of the schools, and to pay little regard to theories unsupported by the revelations of nature. Starting with a thorough acquaintance with the science of his day, taking Hippocrates as his model, and repudiating all futile speculations, he details the simple results of his own experience, in a systematic treatise of eight books on the history and treatment of acute and chronic diseases, and in a manner so striking and appropriate as rarely to have been excelled. His descriptions of marasmus, of phthisis, of angina, of asthma, and of mania, are frequently referred to as true to nature, and of poetic finish. Yet, he himself acknowledges his inability to paint to his own satisfaction, the ever-varying shades of disease; and advises every young physician to study for himself, and not to trust for all his knowledge to the commentaries of his instructors. In his
* Aretæi Cappadocis Opera Omnia (Kuhn's edition), Lipsiæ, 1828.
practice he employs but few remedies, and never the monstrous compositions so much in vogue among the Romans. He makes frequent use of evacuants. Emetics, purgatives, and venesection, are his main agents in the man agement of acute diseases; in these also relying much on regimen, and on cooling and refreshing drinks. But in the management of chronic diseases, his practice is more diversified. His surgical is in keeping with his medical ability. He was the first, so far as I remember, to use the trephine for the cure of epilepsy. He employs catheterism in mechanical obstructions of the urethra, resulting from vesical calculus ; for the removal of the stone, be recommends perineal section, by an incision immediately below the scrotum, and extending inward to the neck of the bladder until the urine and calculus escape. He employs the actual cautery for opening hepatic abscess, and cauterizes the scalp in certain diseases of the head. Besides his treatise on acute and chronic diseases, of
which the first four chapters of the first book are lost, he was the author of works on surgery, on fevers, on the diseases of females, and on the preparation of medicines; all of which have perished.
Marcellus, of Sida, in Pamphilia, was the author of a medical poem in forty-two books, in which he described a strange malady called Lycanthropia, a species of mania, in which those affected growled aloud like wolves, and during the night wandered at large in lonely places, and among the tombs; and in which the most aggravated period of the attack was usually in the spring time. Marcellus flourished about, or just prior to the time of Galen, * and is quoted by Oribasiust and Aëtius. I
Having ventured beyond the limits of the capital, we may remark that many of the physicians who taught or practiced there, had been educated in Asia Minor, in the cities of which were many flourishing though now forgotten schools. The names of several distinguished Roman professors, were associated with Ephesus. Among these was Magnus, a writer on the pulse, and the inventor of theriacæ after the manner of Heras and Andromachus. Of this same school were the anatomist Ruffus, and the second as well as the third Soranus.
The school of Pergamus, to which we have already on more than one occasion alluded, was still a flourishing institution, and the theater of a long list of able teachers. At the head of this school in the
* In the Biograph. Médicale he is placed under Adrian and Marcus Aurelius.
+ Synopsis, lib. v. cap. x, p. 266. # Tetr. ii. serm. ii. c. xi. col. 254.