Billeder på siden

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.

played the various mysteries of Greek and Roman luxury under the head of,-1st, Epimeles, or condiments and confections; 2d, Sarcoptes, or made dishes, mostly of animal food; 3d, Cepuros, or Hortulanus, referring to vegetables, pickles, and carminatives; 4th, Pandectér, mostly prepared vegetable dishes 5th, Osprios, leguminous and pultaceous preparations; 6th, Aëropetes, or dishes prepared from birds of every kind; 7th, Politeles, sumptuous preparations mostly of animal substances; 8th, Tetrapus, or dishes from the flesh of quadrupeds; 9th, Thalassa, dishes from sea-fish, shell-fish, and the like; and 10th, Halieus, or dishes of fish procured by the angler.

From the Deipnosophists of Athenæus,* a junior contemporary of Galen, much, also, may be learned of the luxurious habits of the Romans.

SECTION III. Pliny the Elder.

We have next to notice a Latin writer who, though not a physician, gave much attention to medical studies; and, as a compiler, has materially contributed to our knowledge of the profession among the ancients. I allude to Pliny the naturalist, or the elder, as he is often called, to distinguish him from his nephew. He was born at Verona, A. D. 23, during the reign of Tiberius, and received

*In 3 vols., London, 1854.

[ocr errors]

some portion of his early education in attendance upon the lectures of Appion at Rome. He was occupied, during the greater portion of his life, in the service of the state, in civil offices among the provinces, and in military enterprises in Germany and elsewhere, under Vespasian, who was attached to him as an intimate friend, and under Titus in Palestine. But notwithstanding the number and importance of his public duties, he found leisure for extensive reading, and for the exercise of his talents as a writer. He was the author of numerous works on history, on military affairs, and other subjects; but all that now remains of these is his Natural History, the last of his literary performances, compiled, A. D. 78, only two years before his death. He perished by suffocation, from venturing too near to Mount Vesuvius while in a state of active eruption.


This work of Pliny* is not merely a natural history in the present restricted. meaning of the expression, but, as rendered by an old English translator, the natural history of the world, consisting of thirty-seven books, and treating of cosmography, astronomy, geography, physics, agriculture, commerce, medicine, the useful and fine arts, the moral constitution of man, and the history of nations, as well as natural history proper. The compass of the work, of necessity, included numerous topics with which the author was not personally familiar. He has, therefore, not aimed at originality, and has

[ocr errors]

* Caii Plinii Secundi Historiæ Naturalis libri xxxvii. vols. 5, Lipsiæ, 1830.

mostly restricted himself to condensing and transcribing from other writers. Nor has he in this labor evinced much talent as a discriminating compiler. He is neither choice in his selections, accurate in his quotations, nor unbiased in his judgment. But he has condensed his materials from more than two thousand authors, and from the reading of his whole life; and has thus furnished us with one of the most valuable of the literary remains of the. ancients.

Like many of his countrymen, Pliny has not concealed his prejudice against the profession. He was friendly to the art rather than to those who practiced it. But, from his medical reading he has given ten. books on the history of plants, including their uses in domestic economy and the. arts; five books on the medical uses of plants; and five others on medicines derived from the animal kingdom. We are indebted to him for an account of several epidemics and new diseases; particularly, for his graphic history of Mentagra, a disease which appeared at Rome for the first time, during the reign of Claudius, and spread extensively among the nobility, sparing women and persons in humble life; communicated from one individual to another by the act of kissing; appearing first upon the chin, lips, and face, and afterwards extending over the surface of the body, in the form of eruptions, which degenerated into foul and offensive ulcers. close analogy of this disease to that which first appeared in the south of Italy near the close of the fifteenth century, led many at first to the belief, that the Mentagra, or Lichen, of Pliny, was identical with


« ForrigeFortsæt »