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preservation. The first of these was Serenus Sammonicus, a junior contemporary of Galen; the second was Theodore Priscian; the third, Marcellus Empiricus, physician to the elder Theodosius; the fourth was Vegetius; and the last, if properly belonging to the ancients, was Macer Floridus, our notice of whom must be reserved to a subsequent chapter.
Quintus Serenus Sammonicus was the author of a medical poem of considerable literary merit,* which is said to have often furnished. amusement for the leisure hours of Geta and Septimus Severus. In this work he treats of several diseases and their cure, after the manner of the other medical writers of that period, but with more than their usual taint of superstition. He affects a peculiar veneration for the numbers three, seven, and nine; and, though he condemns the use of incantations, he recommends an amulet which he calls the Abracadabra,t to be sus
Sereni Sammonici de Medicina Præcepta. 8vo. Paris, 1845; also, the same work in the Medicinæ Artis Principes, as collected by H. Stephanus ̧ Fol. Venice, 1567.
This word is said, by Selden, to have been the name of one of the Syrian divinities. The written form of the amulet was as follows':
A br a c adabra
a br a c a da br
a b r & c ada b
The Talmudists used the word Abraclan after the same manner. See
Le Clerc, partie i. liv. i. chap. xii. p. 41.
pended by a string and worn as a necklace for the cure of hemitritic fever. This amulet consisted in writing on cloth or parchment, the word Abracadabra in full on the upper line, and on every succeeding line omitting a single letter until the initial letter was at length the only one remaining to be written on the last line. Thus making, by means of these letters, à triangular figure. During the reign of Caracalla, the use of charms and amulets had become so alarming that an imperial edict was issued against them. Serenus Sammonicus gave offense to the tyrant by disregarding this injunc tion; and he is said to have paid for his temerity with his life. The belief in charms and incantations, which became so common towards the downfall of the empire, has been attributed by some writers to the influence of the false philosophy of Persia and the East. But mysticism and credulity have their source in the human heart, and are everywhere the natural offspring of ignorance and intellectual debasement.
Theodore Priscian, a pupil of Vindician, physician to Valentinian, flourished at the Eastern capital, and was the author of a work on the use of indigenous medicines. He appears also to have paid much attention to the diseases of women. A digest of his opinions on all that relates to the obstetric art in connection with those of his predecessors, Cleopatra and Moschion, is to be found in the Harmonia Gynæciorum of Casper Wolphius.* A Latin
*Constituting one of the works in the collection entitled Gynæciorum, sive de Mulierum Affectibus Commentarii Græcorum Latinorum Barbarorum, in tres tomas digesti. Published in 4to. at Bâle, 1586.
on weights and measures, sometimes ascribed to Q. Rhemnius Fannius Palæmon, is also attributed to Priscian.*
Marcellus Empiricus flourished about the close of the fourth century, some time after the struggle for the supremacy of Christianity in the empire had been crowned with complete success. He was by birth a Gaul, a native of Bordeaux, and as already stated, physician to the elder Theodosius. From the dedication, and other passages scattered through his book, De Medicamentis,† it is evident he was a Christian. In the preparation of his works, which he inscribes to his sons, he has consulted some few of the Greek, but more of the early Latin authors; among whom he refers to Pliny, Apuleius, Cornelius Celsus, Apollinaris, and Designatianus. Among the illustrious men who were of his own city, and whom he speaks of as his contemporaries or immediate predecessors, were Siburius, Eutropius, and Ausonius. He furnishes a lengthy quotation translated from a Greek work falsely attributed to Hippocrates, but makes no allusion whatever to Galen, a proof that the prince of physicians had not yet acquired his authority among the Latin schools. Marcellus was a writer of no originality. What he has not borrowed of other writers, he admits to have been derived from the people of the rural districts. He gives a sort of introduction, consisting of translations or lengthy quotations from earlier writers, and
* Priscianus, Panckoucke's edition of his poems. Paris, 8vo. 1845. † See the Medicinæ Artis Principes of Stephanus.
particularly from Vindieianus, whom he styles Count of the Archiatri to Valentinian. In the body of his work, he treats of medicaments and their application to diseases in the order from head to foot, after the manner of the empirics, of whom he declares himself a follower. Some critics charge him with plagiarism, for having transcribed without acknowledgment, whole chapters from Scribonius Largus. But it is to be remembered that the latter was also a copyist, and the pupil of Apuleius, from whom Marcellus acknowledges that he had drawn a portion of his materials; so that the pas sages common to both of these compilers, may owe their identity to their common origin..
Among the contemporaries of Marcellus, and, as a writer, observer, and scholar, by far his superior,— was Vegetius Renatus, the author of a treatise on Veterinary Medicine, in four books. In the first book he treats of the pestilential diseases of the lower animals. Of which, says he, there are seven kinds, the humid, the dry, the subcutaneous, articular diseases, elephantiasis, subrenal disorders, and those which he calls farciminous, corresponding with glanders and farcy of the present day. Each of these he takes up separately, giving in a systematic and. lucid manner their respective symptoms and modes of treatment. The second and third books are devoted to local diseases and injuries, and to the bites of rabid or venomous animals; the fourth
* Vegetii Renati Artis Veterinariæ, sive Mulomedicinæ, libri iv. 8vo. Bipinti ex Typographia Societatis, 1787.
to the anatomical structure of beasts of burthen, to their changes and varieties according to age, coun-, try, and other modifying circumstances, and to the various confections and other preparations employed in the treatment of their diseases, The work is that of a man familiar with the practical details of his profession, and who draws less from other writers than from his own experience.
GREEK MEDICAL WRITERS SUBSEQUENT TO GALEN.
TURNING from the Latins, we must 'again take up the line of progress among the Greeks. The earliest of these, after Galen, whose names are deemed worthy of attention, were Cæsarius, Oribasius, and Nemesius; all three, though contemporary with Marcellus, appear to have written before him, and to have flourished between the accession of Constans, A. D. 350, and the death of the · elder Theodosius, A. D. 395; and at the close of this period came the partition of the empire.
Cæsarius was the younger brother of St. Gregory Nazianzen, archbishop of Constantinople, and was the earliest Christian physician of distinction at the imperial court. On the completion of their ele