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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 médicine.
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 flourished 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,
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.
conceiving the venom and head of the disorder to be in the plague-sores, opened the dead bodies, and, searching the 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 and 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 upon 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 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 Academus, cast a cloud upon 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, Ahrun, 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.
the human body considered in a theological point of view, after the manner of Galen's treatise De Usu Partium; drawing his materials from Ruffus and Galen, with occasional additions of his own, He also left a treatise on the Pulse, and another on the Urine. This latter, though of little originality, may be considered the first of a series of works on the same subject, mostly by the Urinoscopists of the middle ages, who, as may be seen in the Lilium Medicinæ of Bernard Gordon, carried their chicanery to a pitch of absurdity perhaps never equaled by any other class of medical industrialists.
Stephen of Athens, John of Alexandria, and Palladius, were commentators on Hippocrates; and with Ahrun and Paulus Ægineta, were all of the Alexandrian school. Palladius, the Iatrosophist, was also the author of a work on Fevers, in which he advocated theoretical views proper to himself, though based upon the humoralism of his predecessors.*
Ahrun, a priest and physician of Alexandria who flourished during the reign of Heraclius, was the first to write on smallpox, and other kindred eruptive fevers. His thirty books of Pandects are no longer extant, though extracts from them have been preserved by Rhazes and Haly Abbas.
"Pestilential ulcers," says he, speaking of plague, "are hot abscesses which appear at the groin and arm-pit, and prove fatal in four or five days: Those which are black are malignant: the red are sometimes fatal; but when they
Sprengel, tome ii. p. 221-2.
are black or green, the patient hardly ever recovers. And so also, with the measles and smallpox, and other eruptive diseases: those that are black or green are the most malignant; the yellow are also dangerous, but not so much so as those just mentioned; while those that are red or white are the most curable." "The small-pox, boils, and the like," says he, "all arise from blood that is corrupt and adust with yellow bile." Again: "When you know that the small-pox is beginning to break out, do not give the patient cold medicine, which would tend to keep back the pustules in the interior; but let him have sweet fennel and smallage in order to bring them to the surface; and let him rinse his mouth with a decoction of lentils and sumach, in order that none may come out on his mouth and throat, and hurt them."*
Paulus Ægineta was educated at Alexandria, and is supposed to have been a professor in that city, at or about the period of its final subjugation by the Saracens, A. D. 640. His work+ presents an able and orderly summary of Greek medicine from Hippocrates onward. He claims merely to have abridged it from Oribasius, with the view of furnish
* Greenhill's translation of Rhazes on the Small-Pox and Measles, 8vo. London, 1848, pp. 103, 129, 163.
Pauli Egineta Totius Rei Medicæ libri vii., per J. Cornarium, fol. Basil, 1556. A previous version called Opus Divinum, published at the same place, 1532, wants the sixth book. See also, the Artis Medicinæ Principes, collection of Stephanus, 1567, which gives Cornaro's version. Also, the English Translation by F. Adams, 3 vols. 8vo. London, 1844. And the French version of the sixth book, entitled" Chirurgie de Paul d'Egine," par René Briau.
8vo. Paris, 1855.