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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,
Particula i. cap. xxii. Р 117.
And when we remember that Gordon wrote in the year 1305, nearly two
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.
number and ability of its writers'; in the advancement of its teachers in anatomy, physiology, materia medica, therapeutics, hygiene, pathology; in the study of nature, and in the philosophy of medicine,one of the most active periods in the whole history of our art. As such, it is more worthy of notice, from the fact that the native Romans were never seriously devoted to the cultivation of the sciences. But, quick discoverers of the useful, they knew how to improve upon the suggestions or discoveries of the Greeks. Their immense cloaca, for the drainage of the city, their public baths, their care in the selection of sites for new towns, villas, and private residences, their improvements in architecture, and the domestic arrangement of their dwellings, as set forth by Vitruvius and others, are sufficient to show that the lectures of their Grecian masters on the rules of health, had been properly appreciated, and the information thus diffused amongst them, turned to good account. But these improvements in the arts of civil life, were of comparatively short continuance; so that Galen, who flourished during the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus, and as late as Septimus Severus, was the last, as he is also acknowledged to have been by far the most distinguished, of the medical teachers of the Roman school. But before alluding further to this great master of our art, we must for a moment return to the provincial institutions.
GREEK WRITERS AND TEACHERS NOT OF THE ROMAN SCHOOL BUT CONTEMPORARY WITH IT.
AMONG the Greek writers not strictly of the Roman school, who flourished during the epoch at present under consideration, were Dioscorides of Anazarba, Ruffus of Ephesus, Aretaus of Cappadocia, and Marcellus of Sida.
Mr. Sharpe, the able historian of Egypt, makes Dioscorides the physician of Cleopatra. But Galen speaks of him as a recent writer; and from his own works* it is evident he must have lived as late as the reign of Claudius. He was probably educated at Alexandria, which still retained some share of its early celebrity. He subsequently traveled extensively in Europe and Asia, and for a part of his life was occupied as an army surgeon. His great work on the Materia Medica, the only complete treatise of the sort that had hitherto appeared, was the result of much personal inquiry and experience; and the portions of it not thus acquired, were drawn as he informs us, from the most reliable sources. Galen speaks highly of his accuracy; and, as an au
*Pedanii Dioscoridis Anazarbei de Materia Medica libri quinque, &c. Lipsia, 1829-30; 2 vols., Kuhn's edition.
thority, his name is hardly yet obsolete among the writers on the matèria mediea. Besides this able treatise in five books, he has left a work on poisons. To him is also ascribed another work in two books, entitled Euporista, which is dedicated to Andromachus of Crete, physician to the emperor Nero. This latter work was, in all probability, by another hand. Whoever may have been its author, he has grouped his remedies according to their therapeutic actions, and their application to particular ailments.
Ruffus of Ephesus was the author of a treatise on anatomy, a short essay on diseases of the urinary organs, and a fragment on the use of purgatives, all of which are still extant.* His treatise on the Materia Medica, written in verse, has perished. His anatomical work is the only portion of his writings worthy of special notice, and this is of some value as showing the condition of anatomical science immediately before the time of Galen. His descriptions are mostly taken from his own observations. He alludes to the dissection of the human body as a practice permitted in a previous and more liberal age, and regrets the necessity of confining his own investigations to apes and other animals most resembling man. He speaks of the commissure of the optic nerves, of the arteries as containing blood, of the heart as the source of animal heat, of life, and of the arterial pulse. According to some writers,
* Ruffi Ephesii Medici, de Appellationibus Partium Corporis Humani libri iii.; Tractus de Vesicæ ac Renum Affectibus, et Fragmenta de Medicamentis Purgantibus,-Medica Artis Principes. Venetiis, 1567.