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Ptolemy Euergetes, jealous of the rising reputation of the great library of that city, undertook to arrest its increase by prohibiting the export of papyrus from Egypt. Thus, two of our own words,-parchment from Pergam us, and paper from papyrus,-stand as monuments of the rivalry in the collecting of books, which once existed between Eumenes of Pergamus, and Euergetes of Egypt.
This rivalry continued until the kingdom of Pergamus was bequeathed to the Romans. And not long after this event, when Julius Cæsar set fire to his own fleet in the harbor of Alexandria, the flames accidentally extending to the Museum, which stood in the immediate vicinity of the docks, the building was consumed; and with it perished in the flames that library which had been the growth of ages, and which, at this time, contained not fewer than 700,000 volumes. The Museum was soon afterwards rebuilt. And to supply, as far as possible, the loss of the library, Mark Anthony, when in power, presented to Cleopatra the 200,000 volumes which had hitherto been the greatest boast of Pergamus. This literary treasure was afterwards deposited in the Serapium, and Alexandria once more contained the largest library in the world.
In connection with the libraries of Alexandria and Pergamus, it may be here observed that among the celebrated collections of earlier date, were those of Polycrates, king of Samos; of Pisistratus, the tyrant of Athens ; of Euclides, the Athenian; of Nicorrates, the Samian; and of Aristotle and his librarian, Nelius. This latter collection, or at least the greater part of it, was purchased by Ptolemy Philadelphus, and, with other collections from Rhodes, constituted the nucleus of the first library of Alexandria *
THE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE AT ALEXANDRIA.
AMONG the earliest members of the Museum who devoted their attention to medicine, by far the most conspicuous were Herophilus and Erasistratus.
Herophilus was a native of Chalcedon, and pupil of Praxagoras of Cos.f He was an original investigator; and, after Diocles of Carytus, the first of the Hippocratic school to distinguish himself as an anatomist. To him we owe many of the anatomical terms still in use. He was the first to direct attention to the pulse as an index of the varying conditions of health and disease; properly attributing the pulsation of the arteries to the action of the heart. He was familiar with the course of the lacteal vessels, and with their relation to the mesenteric glands. He experimented on living animals, and even on condemned criminals placed at his disposal in the prisons. He dissected human bodies. His physiological researches excited the indignation of the populace to such an extent as to require the strong arm of arbitrary power for his protection. He traced most diseases to the humors. In practice he resorted to active treatment, after the manner on Hippocrates. He was a voluminous writer in various departments of medicine, treating, among other subjects, on the obstetric art. He was the first to write commentaries on Hippocrates. Professor Marx, who has attempted to collect from Galen and others, all that remains of his productions, ascribes to him works bearing the following titles :-De Causis, Anatomia, Disquisitiones de Pulsu, Curationes, Commentarius in Hippocratis “ Prognostica," Commentarius in Hippocratis “Aphorismos,” Explicationes Dictionum Exoletarium Hippocratis, De Oculis, Diætetica. To which may be added, on the authority of Soranus, the two following:-Contra Opiniones Vulgares, and De Arte Obstetricia.*
* Athenæus.—The Deipnosophists, book i. chapter iv.
+ See Galen, in numerous places ; also Celsus, in his preface and elsewhere.
Erasistratust was a native of the Isle of Chios. He had pursued philosophy under Theophrastus, and medicine under Chrysippus ; and before coming to Alexandria, had distinguished himself by discovering the secret ailment of young Antiochus, son of Seleucus, from observing the acceleration of the patient's pulse during the presence of Stratinice, of whom he was enamored. Like his associate, Erasistratus wrote extensively, and made discoveries in anatomy and physiology. He was familiar with the general distribution of the blood-vessels. He described the anatomical structure of the heart, and like Aristotle, made this organ the source both of the veins and arteries. He held also, in common with Aristotle, that the arteries in health are filled with pneuma, or air, which they receive from the atmosphere in the process of respiration, and that the passage of blood into them from the veins, is the usual cause of disease. He was familiar with the functions of the nerves; and as we are told by Ruffus, he divided them into nerves of motion and nerves of sensation. He was acquainted with the use of the catheter, and was probably the inventor of that instrument. He paid no regard to the Hippocratic doctrine of the humors, or of the four elements. He attributed all fevers to inflammation. The inflammation leading to dropsy, he placed in the liver and spleen. The animal spirits he seated in the brain; the vital, in the heart. He rejected venesection, the use of drastic purgatives, and most other active medicines; he treated diseases almost exclusively by diet and regimen, and was among
* De Herophili Celeberrimi Medici Vita, Scriptis atque in Medicina Meritis. By Professor Marx. See British and Foreign Medical Review, vol. xv.
Galen and Celsus, as above.
the first to systematize gymnastics, or what would now be called hygiene, as a department of the healing art. Galen speaks of him as an accomplished anatomist, but charges him with want of skill as a a physician. After commencing his anatomical and physiological researches, he may have been too much involved in these to attend to the minute details of practice. He held medicine to be a conjectural science. He was opposed to the sage of Cos on many points ; was said to have been envious of his reputation, and to have mentioned him as rarely as possible in his writings.
During this period the art of medicine was usually divided into three parts; the Dietetic, the Pharmaceutic, and the Chirurgical.* The most illustrious professors of that branch which related to diet, endeavoring to extend their views, called in the assistance of natural philosophy, being persuaded that without this, medicine would be a weak and imperfect science. After these came Serapion, the first of all to maintain that the rational method of studying disease was foreign to the art; for a kuowledge of which he trusted wholly to experience. In his steps followed Apollonius and Glaucias, and some time after Heraclides of Tarentium. And thus dietetics had its two parties,-one set of physicians, rationalistic and pursuing theories ; the other, following experience alone.
The pharmaceutic branch, though not rejected entirely by Erasistratus and his followers, was more particularly extolled by Herophilus and other rationalists, who resorted to medicine in all diseases, and some of whom wrote extensively upon the
, materia medica. Among the earliest of these were Zeno, Andreas, and Apollonius surnamed Mus, and several others who treated of medicines incidentally. Among the less conspicuous writers in this department was Pamphilius, in the reign of Ptolemy