Billeder på siden
[ocr errors]

tical acquaintance with the subject. In his chapter on Cynanche he says, some forms of Cynanche are without visible manifestations; others are visible and manifest, either within the fauces, or externally, or both externally and internally, and in one or both sides. The transition from this description to that of the monkish writers of the middle of the thirteenth century, Roger, Roland, and the author of the Four Masters, is curious and amusing. Thus, says Roland, Squinantia is an aposthem of the throat, of which there are three sorts; and hence the verse,

“Qui (nancia) latet, squi (nancia) patet, si (nancia) manet intus et extra.” While on diseases of the throat, Cælius Aurelianus takes occasion to criticise Hippocrates, particularly in reference to the inhalation of vapors medicated with hyssop, sulphur, or bitumen, by means of a tube introduced within the fauces, for the relief of threatened suffocation; a practice against which he speaks in the strongest terms; judging it impossible to insert a tube. into the fauces already so much obstructed as not to admit even air, or to inject thick smoke where thin air is unable to penetrate.*.

A's Soranus and Cælius Aurelianus are considered the ablest exponents of the Methodic doctrines; and as we learn from them what would be sought in vain elsewhere concerning Asclepiades, Themison, Thessalus, and others of this sect, it may be proper here to give a summary of their practice at the period of its greatest eminence.

They confined themselves as much as possible to

See his works, p. 191.

general remedies; to the exclusion of specifics, or particular remedies for particular ailments. In the management of disease their first care was that the chamber of the patient, the air surrounding him, and the arrangements of his bedding, should be well selected. Food and drink were allowed in moderation, provided the circumstances of the case did not clearly prohibit these. Under this course the tendencies of the disease were for some days sedulously watched. A generous or supporting diet was rarely. employed within the first three days, during which time they watched for the concoction of such crudities as might have existed in the primæ viæ; and partly by abstinence, partly by friction, fomentation, and inunction, they looked for the removal of these. During the second period of three days, unless the urgency of the case called for greater expedition, they employed venesection when indicated; or cupping, if necessary, over every part of the body; sometimes with scarification, sometimes dry, and sometimes in connection with leeches. Among their general remedies for resolving constriction were, warm and sunny air, a soft couch, gargarisms of tepid water or of fresh and fragrant oil, fasting, watching, inunction, emollient cataplasms, fomentations and baths, humid cupping, venesection, gestation, and passive motion generally, emollient clysters, and emetics. For astringing the body, already too much relaxed, they employed cold air, a shaded position, a hard couch, gargarism of vinegar and water, or vinegar and posca (dilute aromatic wine) applied with a sponge, cold lotions

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

containing the juice of plantain, of portulaca, or sempervirens; a diet of barley meal, of lentils, or of quinces, or toasted bread moistened with vinegar, sound sleep, repose, dry-cupping. They rarely resorted to purgatives except in dropsies; they were equally opposed to diuretics and sudorifics, to irritating clysters, to opiates, and to the abstraction of blood from the sublingual vessels, as others had recommended, ad deliquium animi. Nor would they resort to measures likely to jeopardize the safety of their patient. In the treatment of tumors, a term applied by them to all inflammatory swellings, while the disease was on the increase, they employed moderate astringents; when stationary, relaxing and assuaging remedies; when on the decline, emollients. In diseases attended with distinct remissions or intermissions, particularly with regularly recurring paroxysms, they employed recuperatives, called also metasyncratica, by which they meant fortifying and analeptic agents; among which were included violent exercises, hoping thereby to expel from the body while relaxed, the worn-out or diseased flesh, and to replace this by new and healthy tissues. For checking profuse sweating, they sprinkled the surface of the body with powdered chalk or alum, and with various other astringents.

The obstetric art among the ancients was usually in the hands of illiterate females, who acquired their information by experience.. But for the instruction of the better sort of them, as well as of the matrons who had occasion for their services, several works

appear to have been in use, among which was a treatise by Aspasia, now lost, but of which mention is made by Aëtius; and the essay, in one hundred and fifty-two short chapters, by Moschion, also mentioned by the same author; a work which is still extant. Moschion appears to have flourished at Rome soon after Soranus or Cælius Aurelianus. In the preface to his work on the Diseases of Women,* he tells us it was intended for the benefit of mothers, and of those females who were devoted to the obstetric art, and familiar only with the Latin tongue. It must, therefore, have been originally written in Latin; but we have only now remaining the Greek version, which was probably made long after the original work had first appeared. The author acknowledges that he had drawn most of his materials from earlier Greek writers, but with corrections and additions, for which we are indebted to himself. He is usually spoken of as belonging to the Methodic sect. But he is bound to no theory; he reasons and prescribes according to the exigencies of each case, usually with much skill and judgment, He goes over the whole subject of obstetrics, the diseases of the puerperal woman, and the management of the infant; he enters into the requirements of the sick room, the qualifications of an accomplished obstetrix, and those of a good nurse, the diet and exercise for the nursing woman, and the training proper for the child. He introduces many acute and discriminating remarks in

[ocr errors]

* Moschionis de Mulierum Passionibus liber. 12mo. Vienne, 1793. Other works of this author are also still extant.

connection with these subjects; as also in his chapters on suppression of the menses, inflammation of the uterus, hysteria, uterine hæmorrhage, fluor albus, displacements of the uterus, and the symptoms indicative of these. The work, in some of the editions still extant, has been subjected to objectionable interpolations; omitting which, it is worthy of the attention even of the modern practitioner.

The culinary art among the Romans was too intimately related to that of the apothecary, and had too close a bearing upon the practice of medicine, to be passed over in silence. Their principal writer in that department, Apicius Coelius, by birth a Spaniard, and according to Athenæus,* very rich and lux- · urious, living chiefly at Minturnæ, in Campania, flourished during the reign of Trajan; and many of his preparations were as useful in the chamber of sickness as they were acceptable at the banquet. Among these might be noticed his aromatic wines, perfumed with the rose, the violet, and other fragrant flowers, in nearly the same manner as the ancient apothecaries prepared their aromatic oils. His formula for preserving grapes fresh throughout the year for the benefit of the sick, and his mode of preserving apples, pears, quinces, cherries, plums, and other fruits, are, equally worthy of attention. His treatise is a work. of much more pretension than most of our modern works on the art of cooking.† It is divided into ten books, in which are dis


* Deipnosophists, book i. c. xii.

† Apicii Cœlii de Opsoniis et. Condimentis, sive Arte Coquinaria, libri decem, 12mo. Amstelodami, 1709.

« ForrigeFortsæt »