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THE ORIGIN OF MEDICINE AMONG THE GREEKS.
AMONG the Greeks the art of medicine appears to have been derived from three sources; the Gymnasia, the schools of Philosophy, and the Temples of Æsculapius.*
1. At the Gymnasia the course of education consisted, first, of music, which, according to the ancient use of the term, included every study for developing the intellectual and moral faculties; and secondly, of gymnastics, in which was included every exercise for strengthening and improving the body. It was a rule with these people that what the boy first learns in sport he will afterwards love, and exercise with more ability as the serious occupation of his manhood; and hence, that children should
practice as amusements such sports as are best suited to prepare them for their future occupations.f The course of intellectual training at the gymnasia, according to Plato, I began with the sixth and ended with the twentieth; or, according to Aristotle, $ began with the seventh and ended with the twenty
* Littré, Euvres d'Hippocrate, Introduction, tome i. p. 5. + Plato, Laws. Bk. i. ch. 12. # Laws. Bk. vii. c. 4. & Politics. Bk. vii. c. 17.
first year. For learning to read and write, according to Plato,* three years will suffice for a boy commencing at ten years old; and the three succeeding years will be sufficient for the handling of the lyre. The free-born are also to be educated in computation, in geometry and astronomy; not all, indeed, with equal nicety. But such as may be necessary for the masses, it would be, says he, shameful for the many to neglect. That, however, which tends merely to the acquisition of wealth or bodily strength, or any other cleverness apart from intellect and justice, he excludes from this course of training, as not worthy to be called education at all; applying this term only to that which tends to virtue,--which causes one to feel a desire of, and love for becoming a perfect citizen, and to know how to govern, and be governed.
In connection with this intellectual course, the physical exercises were also systematically pursued at the gymnasia. These latter embraced not merely wrestling, racing, and other athletic sports; but also the general rules of health ; attention to the food most proper for invigorating the frame, for increasing the powers of endurance against fasting, fatigue, watching, exposure to the weather or to the vicissitudes of the seasons; and to every circumstance likely to prepare the youth for serving as soldiers in defense of their country, or for acquiring applause in contests with one another at the Olympic, Pythian, or other national festivals. These exercises, however, were not confined to youth. The people of every rank engaged in them. At the Palestræ, in which they were conducted, injuries were of frequent occurrence. The Gymnasiarchs in charge of these institutions, as well as the Iatroleptists, or anointers, who assisted them, had constant opportunity of witnessing and treating accidents; and from the experience thus acquired, these men were in some degree trained to the management of diseases originating from other causes. The Homeric heroes had probably acquired their surgical skill in this manner. But if some of them, as Machaon and Padalirius, possessed extraordinary ability in the treatment of injuries, they were not exclusively devoted to its exercise ; for they were quite as ready at inflicting wounds as at curing them.
* Laws. Bk. vii. c. 14.
2. At the schools of philosophy some 'attention was always devoted to medicine as a department of speculative knowledge. The School of Pythagoras, at Crotona in Magna Græcia, now the south of Italy, preceded that of Plato by more than a century. Before assuming the business of teaching, Pythagoras had spent much time in Egypt; and he probably introduced something of Egyptian science in his course of instruction at Crotona, where medicine was first cultivated as a department of philosophy. Of this school were Empedocles, the author of a medical poem; Alcmæon, who was occupied in the dissection of brute animals; and Democedes, the most skillful physician of his time, who flourished more than a century before Hippocrates. Of this same school also was Acron, the first of his sect to give attention to practical rather than to speculative inquiries; and who is said to have arrested the progress of an epidemic at Athens, by kindling large fires in different parts of the city. To him the Empirics, a sect of much later date, were ambitious of tracing their opinions. He was the author of a treatise on nutrition, which had perished before the age of Pericles.
Of these philosophers, Democedes is the only one who is known to have devoted himself to medicine as an industrial occupation. Leaving Crotona and his father's house, he first settled at Ægina; where, though poorly provided with the instruments of his art, he soon surpassed the most expert of the physicians. In the second year the Æginetæ engaged him, for a talent out of the public treasury; in the third year, the Athenians, for a hundred minæ; and in the fourth year, Polycrates, for two talents. He subsequently accompanied this prince in a maritime expedition from Samos to Asia Minor; where he fell into the hands of the Persians. He afterwards rose to distinction by curing Darius of an injury of the ankle, which the Egyptian physicians had failed to relieve; and thus he acquired great influence at Susa, sitting at the king's table, overwhelmed with riches, and in the enjoyment of every honor and privilege which Darius could bestow, excepting only the privilege of returning to his native countryma privilege for which he languished; and which, after curing Atossa, the wife of Darius and daughter of Cyrus, of a tumor of the breast, he finally obtained by
stratagem. In the time of Democedes, the physicians of Crotona, according to Herodotus, were esteemed to be the ablest in Greece, and the Cyrenæans the second.*
The writings of Plato and Aristotle are filled with allusions to our art; and from it they are continually drawing their happiest illustrations. Plato had the following inscription over the door of his Academy:
“Let none ignorant of geometry enter here.”+ And whether this is to be understood literally, or as referring to previous moral and intellectual training, it is evident he sought to give instruction only to such as had already received elementary education sufficient to enable them to appreciate and profit by his discourses. Nor could his pupils have been more than voluntary listeners. For when reading to them his dialogue “On the Soul,” the most of them rose and departed, Aristotle alone remaining to be edified by its reasonings. I This school was of small beginning. The little orchard adjoining the Academy, constituted Plato's principal patrimony. Before he began to teach, it yielded him only two aurei nummi annually. But the revenue derived from it in course of time, amounted to more than a thousand; for it was much enlarged by well-wishers and studious persons, who bequeathed something of their wealth to the philosophers. Plato exacted no pecuniary recompense from his pupils. But Aris
* Herodotus. Bk. iii., ch. 129, et seq. + Stanley. History of Philosophy. Fol. Lond., 1687, p. 262. # Diogenes Laertius, in Life of Plato. Chap. 37.