Billeder på siden

tippus, who had been his fellow-pupil under Socrates, and was afterwards the founder of the Cyreniac sect, believing that instruction is the more highly valued by the money paid for it, gave the first example among the philosophers of charging for his lectures; an example afterwards followed at the Academy, where Speusippus, the nephew and successor of Plato, established the fee for a course of dialectics at a mina. Polemo, the third in succession, after Plato, lived within the garden of the Academy; whilst his disciples, to be near the school, built for themselves little lodges round about it. Cratnor, a disciple of Polemo, being in ill health, took


his abode at the temple of Æsculapius in Athens, where it was his intention to establish an independent school of his own; but regaining his health, he relinquished this purpose, and afterwards bequeathed his possessions to the Academy. Attalus, king of Pergamus, subsequently enlarged and ornamented its public grounds; which were thenceforward called the “Gardens of Attalus.” Xenocrates, the successor of Speusippus, in consequence of the great number of youth resorting to him, was obliged, for the proper government of the Academy, to establish a regular system of police, and to appoint officers from time to time for carrying his regulations into effect.

The government of the Lyceum was nearly the same as that of the Academy. From the life of Theophrastus, the successor of Aristotle, we learn, that voluntary contributions were occasionally taken up for the maintenance of the philosophers; that for the order and economy of the institution, the regulation of its tenements, altars, statues, and ornamental grounds, there were special officers appointed, and laws established, by the governor; and that, besides those who were associated together as philosophers, there were immense numbers of young men resorting to the institution; some of whom appear to have been occasionally admitted to the tables of their instructors.

Both of these institutions were in some degree under the cognizance of the republic. The people occasionally exercised the right of closing them, and of silencing or restraining the teachers, according as their doctrines countenanced or opposed the prejudices, policy, or religious tendencies of the community.

Those who had gone through the course as ordinary students, occasionally chose afterwards to remain as permanent residents. Aristotle, before opening his own school at the Lyceum, had been a member of the Academy for more than twenty years. From among the permanent residents, the director usually selected his successor. Thus, Strato, the second after Aristotle at the Lyceum, ordered in his will, that Lyco should succeed him; giving as a reason, that the others were either too old, or otherwise employed; and requesting them to confirm his choice.

How much of medicine may have entered into the systematic course of instruction at either of these institutions, we have not now the means of ascertaining. That Plato was well versed in the principles of the art, as taught by his contemporary, Hippocrates, his works bear abundant evidence. According to his biographer, Diogenes Laertius,* he divided medicine into five branches: the pharmaceutic, the chirurgic, the dietetic, the nosognomic, and the bathetic: the first cures by means of drugs, the second by cutting and burning, the third produces a change in the diseased by a change in their diet, the fourth makes known the character of disease, and the fifth by instant assistance palliates suffering, and gives relief to pain. Aristotle, though not a practitioner of medicine, was of the family of the Asclepiadæ. He was well skilled in natural history and the anatomy of the lower animals, as well as in the medical doctrines of his own and former times. We shall again have occasion to allude to him as a naturalist.

3. But notwithstanding the speculations of the philosophers, and the trainings of the Palestræ, the Temples of Æsculapius were the first great foundations of medical knowledge among the Greeks.

These Temples were numerously dispersed throughout the Grecian states and colonies, t as at Titane, Epidaurus, Cyrene, Rhodes, Orope in Attica, Cylene in Ellis, Tithorea in Phocion, Tricca in Thessaly, Megalapolis in Arcadia, Cnidos, Cos, Corona,

* Chapter 86. In Plato, Bohn's edition, vol. 6, p. 217.

+ Schulze, in his Historia Medicinæ, p. 118 and p. 127, quarto, Lipsiæ, 1728, enumerates and describes the particulars of more than eighty of them, mostly after Pausanias and Plutarch; and several of the states and cities appear to have been provided with more than one for each place. The temple at Epidaurus, the reputed birthplace of Æsculapius, is presumed to be among the most ancient of them; and from this, many of the others are known to have been off-shoots.


Pergamus, Corinth, Smyrna, and numerous other places. Here were originally the homes of the Asclepiadæ, the schools in which they trained their offspring; and hither the suffering and afflicted resorted for consolation and relief.

The priests of Æsculapius were in the habit of turning to good account the opportunities at their command within the temples. The institution of the votive tablets on which were inscribed the history of the cases which had been relieved by them, indicates plainly that the idea of collecting the information thus recorded, and deducing therefrom a systematic code of practice, must have been contemplated by the descendants of Æsculapius at an early day.

These temples, or Asclepions, long before medicine began to assume a scientific character, had served as schools of instruction, and as asylums for the sick. They furnished the nucleus from which, in process of time, were developed other institutions and organizations. As schools, the most ancient of them is said to have been at Titane, near Sicyon. Those of Rhodes and Epidaurus, were of early repute. But the school of Cnidos is that from which issued the earliest literary performance which can be clearly traced to the Asclepiadæ, namely, the “Cnidian Sentences ;" which are attributed to Euryphon, the contemporary of Hippocrates, though somewhat his senior. * As asylums, the temples bore no inapt resemblance to the hospitals and infirmaries of modern times; into which, in fact, some of them

* Littré, loco citat. p. 7.

were ultimately converted. The temples of Epidaurus, Cos, Tricca, according to Strabo, were always filled with patients; and along their walls the tablets were suspended upon which were recorded the history and treatment of the individual cases of disease. *

The choice of situation, and internal management of the temples, show with what care the priest of Æsculapius, while observing the rites of his religion, provided for the well-being of the sick. They usually occupied some elevated or retired and healthy locality, not far removed from the cities, surrounded by shady groves, or in the neighborhood of thermal springs, or fountains of medicated water. They were sacred from intrusion, and accessible to the sick only after suitable preparation. The invalid, on his arrival, submitted to purification, by fasting, ablution, and inunction. He afterwards passed the night within the Hicetas or common-hall of the temple. During this ceremony of incubation, the presiding deity is supposed to appear before him in the silence of the night, and, by voice or otherwise, announce to him the means of cure; which, on the following day, the priest in attendance also ascertained, and afterwards undertook the supervision of the treatment.

The fees of these priests were the free-will offerings of the sick. It was consequently to the interest of the priests to cherish the superstitions of the people. Their devices for this purpose, Aristoph

* Ibid, p. 9, from Strabo, book viii.

« ForrigeFortsæt »