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after the infirmities of age had disabled him from the more active duties of the profession. This work is worthy of notice no less for the discriminating judgment- and original observations of its author, than for the order and perspicuity of his descriptions of disease, or for the simplicity, force, and elegance of his style. In point of originality, Alexander ranks next after Hippocrates and Aretæus. He speaks of Galen in higher terms than any previous writer, calling him the “most divine,” and placing him even above Hippocrates, Nevertheless, he does not hesitate to dispute the authority of this great master when at variance with his own experience. His work consists of twelve books'; of which, in their present numerical order, the first eleven treat of diseases, from the head downwards. The last is. mostly occupied with fevers. But the dedication or introduction to the whole work, is at the opening chapter of this twelfth book; where the author speaks as if at the commencement of his literary labors. It is, therefore, reasonable to infer that the twelfth book, as at present arranged, must håve been originally the first; and that it was the author's object to speak of constitutional or general ailments first, and of local diseases afterwards. The work is occupied almost exclusively with the description and treatment of diseases; with little allusion to anatomy, "to topics strictly surgical, or even to the materia medica, except in direct relation of remedies to the diseases in which they are employed. Under the head of each ailment, he lays down the characteristic appearances and symptoms; points out the
divisions and subdivisions ; notes the diagnostic
which he lived, he was of sound judgment and great practical ability; and the work which he has bequeathed to us is among the most valuable relics of ancient medicine.
The reign of Justinian, from A. D. 527 to A. D. 565, was one of much vigor, and marked by success against the overwhelming inroads of barbarism, By the prowess of his generals, Belisarius and Narses, Italy was for a season delivered from the Goths, and the two portions of the empire again united. Under the supervision of his able minister, Tribonian, the whole body of Roman law was revised and reduced to system. The schools of Constantinople were rising into notice, and were under the supervision of able' men.*
The sophist and historian Procopius, who flour ished in this reign, if not educated for the practice of medicine, was well versed in every thing pertaining to the science, and is worthy of notice for his admirable description of the plague, which began in Egypt, A. D. 542, extended thence through Palestine, reached the Eastern capital in the year following; and spreading throughout every portion of the empire, continued its ravages for more than fifty years. The disease was in every respect identical with the modern plague of the Levant. The 'account of its first appearance at Constantinople, by Procopius, is worthy of special notice for his allusion to human dissections.t. The physicians, he tells us, conceiving the venom and head of the disorder to be in the plague-sores, opened the dead bodies, and, searching thë sores, found huge carbuncles growing inward. Procopius has supplied much other interesting information in reference to the practice of medicine and the physicians of his time. Elpidius, archiater to Theodoric, he tells us, was the person to whom that monarch confessed his regret at having taken the lives of Symmachus ånd Boëtius. He states, that during the siege of Edessa, Stephen, a, physician of that city, who had formerly been preceptor of Chosroes, and medical attendant
+ Freind, History of Physic from the time of Galen to the beginning of the sixteenth century., 2 vols. 8vo. London, 1726. Vol. i. p. 149.
his father, was chosen to conduct an embassy to Persia. And that Chosroes, before accepting the proposals of Justinian for peace, demanded as one of the conditions, that the physician Tribunus should be sent to him. Tribunus was accordingly sent, and after curing the king and residing a year in Persia, was permitted to depart with such rewards' as he should ask. But, instead of wealth or honors, he requested that certain of his fellow countrymen, then captives among the Persians, might be set at liberty; a request with which Chosroes complied, by releasing not only the individuals.specified, but others to the number of three thousand. : The Greek physicians of this age, however, were not all so worthy of their
, calling. One of them, Uranus, like Thessalus in the time of Nero, supplied by self-assurance the defects of education, and the absence of real merit. Having accompanied the embassy from Edessa, he imposed himself upon Chosroes as a philosopher, confronted the Persian Magi in questions of science; and after
his return, was honored by the personal correspondence of the Persian king.
The institutions of Christianity under the authority of Justinian, were still more firmly strengthened than formerly. The ancient schools of philosophy .at Athens, were by his. imperial edict finally closed, and their property, with that of the other remaining institutions of paganism, appropriated to the building of churches. But the expulsion of the philosophers from their ancient home amid the groves of Acade mus, cast a cloud upon his name.
his name. Exiled for refusing to adopt the Christian faith, Damascius of Syria, Simplicius of Cilicia, Eulalius:of Phrygia, Priscianus of Lydia, Diogenes and Hermias of Phenicia, and Isidore of Gaza, forsaking the Academy, turned their faces towards the East. They accepted the hospitality of Chosroes, enjoyed under the protection of this sagacious prince, that freedom from persecution to which they had been strangers in their own land, and in the exercise of their talents became the founders of new schools for the diffusion of Grecian science and civilization beyond the limits of the empire.*
From the reign of Justinian to the downfall of Alexandria, the only writers on medicine worthy of notice, were Theophilus, Stephen of Athens, John of Alexandria, Palladius, Abrún, and Paulus Ægineta. The first of these, Theophilus, called also Philaretus, was a monk, and officiated as physician at the court of Heraclius, who reigned from A. D. 610 till 641. He was the author of a treatise on the structure of
* Freind, vol. i. p. 133; Sprengel, tome ii. p. 192; Gibbon.