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mony of many ancient writers, particularly by Apollodoros (iv, 22) and Iamblichos (de Mysteriis, iii, 3), that profane medicine and the use of remedies and regimen arose in cultic practice in association with the dreamoracle, the feîo ovapo, and the interpretation of dreams, and more definitely in the healing shrines of Asklepios, who, more than all others, represented the highest type of religious healing in ancient Greece.

Religious and practical medicine.


The Hippokratic writings indicate that the Asklepiadai of the early medical schools conducted within the cult of Asklepios were exceedingly practical in their modes of thought. That such was the fact is clearly shown by the remark of a Knidian author that "to offer up prayers is no doubt becoming and good, but while praying to the gods a man ought also to use his own exertions" (Hippokrates, de Insomniis, Sec. IV, ch. ii (87)). Although utilizing the religious methods according to the universal belief of their time, they endeavored to eliminate superstition and to place the practice of healing on a more rational footing, based upon observations, many of which were made a matter of record. A recent writer, referring to ancient Greek medicine in general, very aptly remarks that "Without any method of centralizing medical education and standardizing teaching there was a great variety of doctrines and of practice in vogue among them, and much of this was on a low level of folk custom. Such lower grade material of Greek origin has come down to us in abundance, But the overwhelming mass of earlier Greek medical literature sets forth for us a pure scientific effort to observe and to classify disease on rational grounds, and to apply remedies, when possible,

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52 Adams, op. cit., i, 68; also Opera Omnia, ed. Anutius Foesius, 1662, i, 376.

on a reasoned basis."" Thus lines of cleavage between theurgic and practical medicine were present as early as the fifth century B.C. The spirit of religious tolerance in antiquity permitted the application of rational measures in the treatment at the temples with the same freedom and independence of religious control that characterized the formulation of theories by philosophers. It may be that Aristotle (Politica, iii, 15) wished to draw a contrast and to emphasize the absence of prejudice and control when he called attention to the restrictions placed upon Egyptian physicians in being obliged to follow established and officially authorized methods of treatment. The encouragement of, and the coöperation in, the use of rational therapeutics in the cult of Asklepios is illustrated, if not fully confirmed, by an Athenian votive tablet of the fourth century B.C. found in the excavations, showing a patient lying on a couch and a physician attending him, while the larger, passive figure of Asklepios stands by, supervising, and by his presence giving his divine sanction to the treatment." In a dedication found at Kibyra, in Asia Minor, the person healed gave thanks to Asklepios, to the Tyche of the city, and to Dionysios, the physician who treated him, indicating the coöperation between theurgical and practical therapeutics.55

Introduction of foreign healing cults.

In the later period, under Roman domination, foreign cults were introduced. Isis and Sarapis had already come from Egypt, and their worship spread rapidly, threatening serious rivalry with that of Asklepios. The cult of Mithra and other Oriental deities gained a foothold and


Singer, Greek Biology and Greek Medicine, p. 82.

54 Holländer, Plastik und Medizin, p. 122, fig. 26.

55 W. Kubitschek and W. Reichel, "Bericht über eine im Sommer 1893 ausgeführte Reise in Karien," in AKAW, 1893, xxx, 104.

a certain following in Greece, but Asklepios never failed to hold the first place in the pantheon as the active, representative god of healing. About this time there appeared a growing tendency toward magic and a craving for the marvellous. Stimulated apparently by foreign influences, the evils attendant upon incubation, especially the interpretation of dreams by priests, became pronounced. Whatever of deception had been practiced by the cults in the earlier, Greek period, frauds of a grosser character frequently developed into a cause of scandal. These abuses, occurring in a period coming within the scope of early history and commented on by satirists and historians, were so emphasized that several modern writers have assumed that such practices characterized all Greek religious therapeutics, and that "the priest-physicians were only unworthy charlatans who were able to advance their own fortunes, but not the science of medicine,”” and the healing sanctuaries have been stigmatized "as hives of priestly chicanery and senile superstition.'”57

The descent of Greek medicine.

Greek medicine appears to have arisen from the early folklore of the people blended with their religious beliefs. The descent from this general fount was early divided into two main streams, the one flowing through cultic channels to Hippokrates and his followers; the other through physicians who practiced outside the cults. As history emerges from the mists of fable and poetry, skilled physicians appear as practicing among the people and as official doctors of the larger cities, and as independent of the beliefs in theurgic medicine as their per


Malgaigne, Lettres sur l'histoire de la chirurgie, pp. 59-70; also Daremberg, État de la médecine entre Homère et Hippocrate, pp. 57

57 Thrämer, in ERE vi, 542.

sonalities and the sentiment of the age permitted. Many prominent citizens of older Greece may be considered in this category, although most of them are better known as philosophers, such as Thales, Anaximandros, Pherekydes, Empedokles, Epimenides, Pythagoras, and Anaxagoras. Self-styled physicians worked among the people from very early times, and in the later Greek period (possibly much earlier) they had their offices (iatreia) on the streets and conducted hospitals. Many cities had physicians under salary who were heads of public hospitals with a full equipment of consulting rooms, pharmacies, and operating rooms with instruments. Demokedes of Kroton held such an office at Athens in the sixth century B.C. and became the most distinguished physician of his day (Herodotos, iii, 125). An inscription from Karpathos praises the physician Menokritos for remaining at his post during the plague, and another from Athens tells of the award of a wreath to Pheidias, a Rhodian physician, for offering his services as a public doctor gratis. Allusions in literature suggest that physicians practicing outside the temples were regarded with contempt by those within, but they carry no conviction that such statements were justified. The Greeks of all classes were faithful to their gods, and it is believed that physicians, both without and within the temples of the several States, looked up to Asklepios as a divine exemplar (CIA ii, 352 b). Under the fostering care of the healing temples on the one hand, and the independent physicians and philosophers on the other, medical knowledge was enriched by facts gathered from many recorded observations; and questions arising from natural phenomena of human life were examined, coördinated, and clarified until the healing art emerged from temple schools, chiefly from Knidos, Kos, Kroton, and, finally, 58 Gardner, New Chapters in Greek History, p. 360..


Alexandria, and from the iatreia of the cities, elucidated and systematized by tentative theories for further study, application and preparation for indefinite development.


THE deities, heroes, and heroines sketched in this section embrace those who were recognized as healers, and many others known in mythology in various other spheres of activity, but who, on occasion, exercised their curative powers for the sick and wounded.

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ASKLEPIOS, first mentioned by Homer (Il., iv, 194) as a "blameless physician," eventually became the chief heal

59 Asklepios, being the chief exemplar of all divine healing in ancient Greece, is placed at the head of the list and considered first.

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