Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

particularly from Vindicianus, whom he styles Count of the Archiatri to Valentinian. In the body of his work, he treats of medicaments and their application to diseases in the order from head to foot, after the manner of the empirics, of whom he declares himself à follower. Some critics charge him with plagiarism, for having transcribed without acknowledgment, whole chapters from Scribonius Largus. But it is to be remembered that the latter was also a copyist, and the pupil of Apuleius, from whom Marcellus acknowledges that he had drawn a portion of his materials; so that the passages common to both of these compilers, may owe their identity to their common origin.

Among the contemporaries of Marcellus, and, as a writer, observer, and scholar, by far his superior,was Vegetius Renatus, the author of a treatise on Veterinary Medicine, in four books.* In the first book he treats of the pestilential diseases of the lower animals. Of which, says he, there are seven kinds, the humid, the dry, the subcutaneous, articular diseases, elephantiasis, subrenal disorders, and those which he calls farciminous, corresponding with glanders and farcy of the present day. Each of these he takes up separately, giving in a systematic and lucid manner their respective symptoms and modes of treatment. The second and third books are devoted to local diseases and injuries, and to the bites of rabid or venomous animals; the fourth

* Vegetii Renati Artis Veterinariæ, sive Mulomedicinæ, libri iv. 8vo. Bipinti ex Typographia Societatis, 1787.

[ocr errors]

to the anatomical structure of beasts of burthen, to their changes and varieties according to age, country, and other modifying circumstances, and to the various confections and other preparations employed in the treatment of their diseases. The work is that of a man familiar with the practical details of his profession, and who draws less from other writers than from his own experience.

CHAPTER XII.

GREEK MEDICAL WRITERS SUBSEQUENT TO GALEN.

TURNING from the Latins, we must again 'take up the line of progress among the Greeks. The earliest of these, after Galen, whose names are deemed worthy of attention, were Cæsarius, Oribasius, and Nemesius ; all three, though contemporary with Marcellus, appear to have written before him, and to have flourished between the accession of Constans, A. D. 350, and the death of the elder Theodosius, A. D. 395; and at the close of this period came the partition of the empire.

Cæsarius was the younger brother of St. Gregory Nazianzen, archbishop of Constantinople, and was the earliest Christian physician of distinction at the imperial court. On the completion of their elementary studies, the two brothers, Gregory and Cæsarius, departed on the same day from their father's house; the one to complete his philosophical course at Athens, still the principal seat of Grecian arts; and the other, to pursue his medical studies at Alexandria. After a residence of five years at the latter city, Cæsarius commenced practice, and rose to great distinction at his native place, Nazianzus, a town of Cappadocia. But on the removal of his brother to Byzantium, he was induced to follow him. Under the patronage of Constans, Cæsarius soon rose to the senatorial rank, and was appointed Archiater, or physician to the emperor. In the enjoyment of an ample patrimony, he practiced his profession gratuitously, and with great renown. Julian, who had formerly been a fellow-student with Gregory, at Athens, and who succeeded to the throne, A. D. 363, desirous of the services of Cæsarius, urged his return to the ancient religion of the state; and notwithstanding the refusal of Cæsarius, he persisted in retaining him at the imperial court. But overcome by the solicitations of his brother, he at length retired to his native place, where he spent the remainder of his days. Whatever he may have written on medicine is lost, though some of his theological writings are still extant.* His brother, the bishop, lived to pronounce his funeral oration. The touching eloquence of this discourse, even at the present day, fills the reader with emotion.t Need I speak, says this prelate, of his great acquirements ! need I speak of his skill in medicine, particularly in that admirable department of the art which enabled him to recognize the complexion, temperament, and principle of diseases, and thereby to arrest their progress, or nip them in the bud! Who is so unaware of his talents, so unjust towards him, as to dispute his claim to the highest place in his profession! Who might not be satisfied to rank in excellence even next beneath him! In proof of his abilities, I appeal both to the East and West; to those of every region among whom his talents have been exerted.

* Mosheim's Institutes. Harper's edition, N. Y. 1845, p. 249, note.

+ See Extracts from Gregory Nazianzen in the Cours de Literature Grecque, par M. Planche. Paris, 1828, tome vii. p. 176–287.

What may bave been the character of the medical institutions of the empire at this period, Gregory has not undertaken to inform us, but the rivalry of which he speaks, between the literary institutions of Athens, might lead us to suppose that the same spirit may have shown itself at Alexandria. There prevailed, as we are told by him, in most of the young students at Athens, a complete sophistic furor. They all canvassed for their master; for it was not the custom to attend different lecturers at the same time; but each one, as a rule, attached himself to one teacher. The poor students, especially, lent themselves to this business of recruiting, since they got exemption from class payment, or even some degree of remuneration, if they succeeded in bringing to their respective sophists a good supply of new

An unprejudiced youth could scarcely set his foot on Attic ground without being already claimed by the adherents of a party; they wrangled,

comers.

they struggled, they threw themselves around him; and it might easily happen that a young man was torn quite away from the teacher whom he had come to attend. The whole of Greece was drawn into this partizanship of the students for their favorite sophists, so that this recruiting was carried on in the streets and harbors of other cities also. Nor were the literary disputes and altercations of the different schools among themselves, less animated; indeed, they seldom concluded without coming to blows. *

Oribasius, of whom we have next to speak, was a native of Pergamus, or, as some assert, of Sardis. He received his professional education under Zeno of Cyprus, the most distinguished professor of the fourth century, who taught first at Sardis, and afterwards at Alexandria. If Cæsarius was the earliest of the Christian, so Oribasius was among the latest of the pagan medical writers. He ranked with the philosophers of the times, and his influence was such that Julian was principally indebted to him for his accession to the throne. Early commended to Julian by his talents, by similarity of tastes, and by their common devotion to the ancient religion and institutions of the nation, he became his intimate companion, and was one of the four friends who were permitted to accompany him into Gaul. At his

[ocr errors]

* Gregory Nazianzen as cited in Ullmann's Ecclesiastical History. See Westminster Review, Oct. 1851.

+ Oribasii Sardiani Medici longe exellentissimi Opera, tribus tomis digesta, Joanne Baptista Rosario interprete, in the collection of Stephanus ; also in Coccius, e Collectione Nicetæ.

« ForrigeFortsæt »