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that in all discussions of this sort, much may be said on both sides; yet, that diseases are not to be cured by eloquence, but by remedies. They regarded as useless the study of the natural actions and internal organization of the body; and they denounced the dissection of living men with as much vehemence as would the moralist of modern times.
Thus stood the discussion, which had been handled with great warmth for many ages, when Themison of Laodicea, the disciple and successor of Asclepiades, entered the lists in his old age, as the leader of a third party.* Though he was influential as a teacher and reformer, his writings are not often quoted; and as they have perished in the wreck of ages, his opinions are known to us only through his reputed followers, or the critics and historians who have noticed them. According to Cælius Aurelianus, he was the first to write systematically on the management of chronic diseases, upon which subject he published a work in three books. He wrote also on acute diseases. As a practitioner he was familiar with the use of opium, hyoscyamus, and other narcotics; and his name is associated with a 'confection of poppies, which he employed in the diseases of the respiratory organs. But he is more especially worthy of notice as the founder of the Methodic Sect.
Adopting the theory of Asclepiades as to the arrest of the ultimate molecules in the invisible porès, he
* Celsus, book i. preface; Galen, and Cælius Aurelianus, at several places.
attributed all diseases to excessive tension or relaxaation; and this doctrine of Laxum and Strictum became the essential principle of the new party; who, with the Empirics, abandoned the study of exciting causes, as having no relation whatever to the method of cure; and maintained that the correct method of treating disease may be ascertained by simply observing a few of its general symptoms. Of distempers they made three kinds, the bound, the loose, and the mixture of these two, according as the excretions are too scanty, too profuse, or some particular excretions are deficient whilst the others are in excess. These several forms they subdivided into the acute and chronio, and, also, according as they were increasing, stationary, or receding. Their rule of treatment was, that the body if bound, should be opened; if relaxed, it should be astringed; and if the distemper were complex, the most urgent ailment should be the first opposed; varying the agent with the duration or stage of the disease. The observance of these rules constituted, according to their notion, the whole art of medicine; and from their own established. way of proceeding by method, they claimed for themselves the name of Methodists; for they differed from the Rationalists, in not allowing medicine to. consist in theorizing about occult or other causes, and from the Empirics, in holding personal experience to be but a small part of the art. The doctrine of the Methodists had for a time great sway. Celsus, while criticising them with his accustomed acuteness,
gives them but little countenance, and denies their claim to the title of a distinct sect.
Aulus Cornelius Celsus, justly styled the Latin Hippocrates, was the junior contemporary of Themison, and so far as we are aware, the earliest medical writer of unequivocal Roman birth.* Of his own personal history little is known. Quintilian attributes to him a treatise upon Rhetoric, and gives honorable testimony to the extent of his learning. His contemporary Columella,+ who often quotes from his work on agriculture, with great deference to his authority, equals him to the ablest writers on husbandry, and speaks of him as one not only skilled in agriculture, but who had familiarized himself with the whole compass of natural knowledge. His treatise on Medicine, in eight books, is all that now remains of his writings. According to the best critics, this work must have been written towards the close of the reign of Augustus, or, at latest, at the beginning of the reign of Tiberius. Celsus, more than any other of the ancient Latin physicians, is celebrated for the purity and elegance of his style, and for a concise and judicious manner of handling his subject. The summary history of medical doctrines, of the materia medica, and of surgery, introduced at the
* Columella, Pliny, and Quintilian, all speak of him as a Roman. De Re Rustica, lib. i. cap. 1, et seq.
A. Corn. Celsi Medicinæ lib. acto. ex recensione Leonardi Targæ, &c. Edinburg, 8vo. 1831. See also the translation of the same, by James
Greive, M. D. 3d edition. London, 1837.
commencement of his first, fifth, and seventh books, shows how carefully he had studied the great masters of the art, and how well he was prepared to furnish a thorough and reliable digest of their opinions; not indeed as a compiler of minute details, but as one able to grasp the philosophy of medicine, and at the same time not to overlook any. facts essential to the guidance of the practitioner. While citing many authors, he holds Hippocrates, and next to him Asclepiades, in chief regard. In judgment he is too independent to acquiesce in all that had been advanced by either of these. He rejects the Hippocratic doctrine of critical days, and he differs from Asclepiades in many points; but whilst dissenting from those whose authority he usually respects, he gives sufficient reason for his own opinions. The delicacy of his censure in condemning others, and the caution with which he avoids all allusion to himself, have led so me to the belief that he was not a practitioner of medicine. But, as his translator Dr. Grieve has well remarked, his forms of expression are those of a practitioner, and such as would come very improperly from a mere compiler. To the careful student of his works, it must appear incredible that a production so replete with practical suggestions, and so remarkable for medical discernment, could have been the work of any other than an accomplished and skillful physician. He may not indeed, like the Greeks of Rome, have practiced for a livelihood. "The man to be trusted," he tells us, "is he who knows his profession, and is not much absent from his patient.
But they who practice only from views of gain * * readily fall in with such rules as do not require close attention. It is easy for such as seldom see the patient to count the days and paroxyms; but for him who would form a true judgment of what is alone fit to be done, it will be necessary to sit by his patient."* The inference to be derived from this passage, as well as from his literary habits and polished style, is that he may have been in easy circumstances, 'above the necessity of practicing for the sake of gain, and that he followed his profession as a liberal and useful occupation, as law had originally been followed by the patricians and other men of influence at Rome; who, even in the days of Cicero, would have considered it disgraceful to accept a fee from the client in whose behalf they were officiating as advocates at the forum.
The early Alexandrian division of diseases, into such as are remedial by diet and regimen alone, such as require the use of medicines, and such as call for the interference of surgery, is that which Celsus adopts, as the basis of his arrangement for treating on every branch of medicine then understood. In his first book, he dwells with sufficient fullness on the general rules of health; in the second, on general pathology and therapeutics; in the third and fourth, he speaks of such individual diseases as affect the whole body, and such as occur on particular parts, and are remediable by diet; in the fifth and sixth, of such constitutional and local diseases
* Lib. iii. cap. 4.