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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.

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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

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* 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


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the venereal disease; and this disease, from first appearing on the pudendum, was, by Gasper Torrella and others, for a time called Pudendagra. Another interesting point in Pliny's history of the Roman epidemic, is that he distinctly alludes to the subject of contagion. The disease, he tells us, had previously existed in the East, where it was called by the Greeks, Lichen; and its contagion, he adds, was imported by a Roman knight, who communicated the infection to the inhabitants of the capital. This, it is true, is not the earliest allusion to the subject. Thucydides, as already shown, speaks of the plague as an infectious disease; and Aristotle, of rabies as spreading from one animal to another. Some of the medieval historians, as Evagrius,* allude to the contagiousness of plague. But the medical writers and teachers of Greece and Rome were too deeply involved in humoral pathology and the doctrine of the four elements, or too much disposed to reject the study of occult and remote causes altogether, to understand the exact bearing of this important subject; which appears never to have seriously entered into their discussions, and which was equally overlooked by the Arabic, and with the exception of Bernard Gordon, by most of the European medieval writers on 'medicine. Pliny's allusion to contagion is merely inci

Ecclesiastical History, book iv. chapter xxix.

+ Gordon's list of contagious diseases is summed up in the following distich:

Febris acuta, phthisis, pediculi, scabies, sacer ignis,
Anthrax, lippa, lepra, nobis contagia præstant.

Particula i. cap. xxii. Р 117.

And when we remember that Gordon wrote in the year 1305, nearly two

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dental; yet, it is the announcement of a truth, not of a speculation, derived from popular observation and belief; a truth long unheeded, but which not one at the present day would venture to call in question.

Pliny also enters fully into the history of ancient wines, and in speaking of the strong Falernian varieties, says they are inflammable: "Nec ulli in vino major auctoritas; solo vinorum flamma accenditur." The modern wines, with only their natural supply of alcohol, are not of strength equal to this.. It is therefore reasonable to infer that the art of distillation must have been known to the vintners of antiquity. If so, it must have been confined to some single fraternity of them, and practiced as one of their secret mysteries, only for the purpose of fortifying their wines; and thus kept secret until alcohol was discovered anew by the alchymists of the middle age, and the art of distilling it made public, for the first time, as is commonly believed, ́by Arnold de Villa Nova, in the latter part of the thirteenth century.

From what has now been stated of the progress of medicine at Rome, we may safely infer that the interval between Asclepiades and Galen, a périod of about two hundred and. fifty years, was, in the

centuries before the venereal disease is usually supposed to have originated in Europe, the following passage from his Lilium Medicine (Particula i. cap. i. p. 107) is worthy of special observation :


Quædam comitissa leprosa venit ad Montem pessulanum, eratque tandem in cura mea, cui cum quidam Bacchalarius in medicina ministraret ei, coïens cum ea, eam imprægnavit, et perfectissime leprosus factus est.”

Lib. xiv. d. viii. § 2.

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