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LAWS AND CUSTOMS OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE IN RELA
TION TO THE PROFESSION.
Prior to the consolidation of the empire, there were probably no well-established laws among the Romans in regard to medical education, the term of study, or the qualifications of physicians. The system of training previously in use among the Greeks, appears in course of time to have been universally adopted. The liberallý educated, whether of the profession or not, were all more or less initiated in what was then the philosophy of medicine; and some of the uses to which such information was applied by them, may be learnt from Varro in his directions for the building of villas ;* or from Vitruvius,t a writer of the Augustan era, whose authority in all that relates to the locality of dwellings, to public works, and to the planning of new cities, might with advantage be consulted in questions of hygiene as applied to architecture, at the present day. The hygienic arrangements in the rural economy of Palladius, must also have been derived from the same source. I
* M. Terentii Varronis De Re Rustica lib. i. cap. xi. and xii. .t Marci Vitruvii Pollionis De Architectura-libri decem. Lipsiæ, 1836. | Palladii Rutilii De Re Rustica lib. i.
The well-educated physician, in common with his medical · knowledge, was presumed to be familiar with the grammatical structure of his own language, with rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry dialectics, moral philosophy, astronomy, and even architecture. Galen refers to these several branches of general education, as proper means for sharpening the intellect of the student preparatory to assuming the difficult and responsible duties of the profession.* And his contemporary, Apuleius Madaurensis, who styles himself the “not unknown priest nor recent worshiper, nor unfavored minister, of. Æsculapius,” addressing the people of Carthage in his figurative manner, says of the Goblet of the Muses, “The oftener it is drained and the more unmixed it is, the more it conduces to soundness of mind. The first cup, that of the reading-master, takes away ignorance ; the second, of the grammarian, instructs in science; the third, the rhetorician's, arms with eloquence. Thus far most people drink. But I have drunk other cups at Athens, the cup of poetry, the inventive; of geometry, the limpid; of music, the sweet; of dialectics, the roughish ; and of universal philosophy, the never-satiating nectarious cup." +
The time usually devoted to the study of medicine, beyond that spent in the literary course, as may be inferred from Galen and others, was not short of five years. Galen, after a philosophical course of three years, which he began at the age of fourteen,
* De Cognoscendis Curandisque Animi Morbis lib. viii. cap. 1. Kuhn's edition, vol. v. p. 42. See also ministrationes · Anatomicæ, lib. i. c. ii. Kuhn's edition, vol. ii. and numerous other parts of his writings.
Florida, chap. xx.
, had already been a student of medicine under Satyrius four years, at the breaking out of the plague in Pergamuś, most of the time in daily attendance upon
the sick within the temple. On the subsidence of the epidemic of that city, be resorted to Smyrna; there to continue his course under Pelops; he afterwards became the pupil and assistant of Numisianus, at Corinth ; spent some time in Alexandria and other cities, and after finishing his education and his travels, he returned at the age of twenty-eight to Pergamus, to practice on his own account. Again, Cæsarius, brother of Gregory Nazianzen, who, for a time, practiced at the court of Julian, and was the physician and familiar friend of Valens and Valentinian, had been a 'student of medicine at Alexandria. five years; and may have been previously engaged in the same pursuit at Cæsarea, then a celebrated seat of learning, or at his native place. The term of study at the celebrated law-school of Berytus, which was instituted by Alexander Severus, occupied five years. The laws of Justinian enjoin that no apprenticeship shall be binding after the age of twenty-five;t which, for students of the liberal professions as well as of the industrial arts, was the legal limit to the period of pupilage:
The system of instrućtion in the Roman schools was mostly practical. Anatomy, at least the dissection of the lower animals, was strictly enjoined. Galen insists with great force upon the necessity of this study, and states that in his own youth," he allowed no occasion to escape him for investigating the structure of the human body. After witnessing the dissections of his teachers, he examined with care the dried and moldering skeletons picked up among the tombs; he inspected the bodies of men
* Gibbon, chapter xvii. S'ii. Harper's edition, vol. i. p. 347. + Codex Justiniani, lib. x, tit. xlix. $1.
}; drowned, and wafted decomposing to the shore; he turned to some account the remains of a malefactor who had been crucified and suspended near the way- . side, on a gibbet, as a warning to evil-doers, and as food for birds of prey. : He advises the pupil to dissect apes and other animals ; and where other means fail, to resort to Alexandria, if for nothing else, to have the opportunity there presented of studying the human 'skeleton. He labors to convince his · readers that a sufficient knowledge of the art is to be acquired only by years of observation and experience.* His own public course of teaching at Rome, as already shown, was of this character. And such continued to be the method of instruction up. to the time of Oribasius; who informs us thąt the dissection of apes, in his day, still constituted a portion of the pupil's exercise ; an occupation in which , he himself had been engaged.t
Books were not then, as, now, the main reliance of the student. The works at his command were few. Of these, the writings of Hippocrates and his com
* Administrationes Anatomicæ, ut supra. + Collect. vii. 6.
mentators among the Greeks; of Celsus and Cælius Aurelianus among the Latins, next to the works of Galen,--were the chief. Portions of these, when accessible to him, he was required to ponder over, with the oral explanations or written comments of his preceptor. The temples were open to him, up to the time of Constantine; after which he had the opportunity of attending, with his instructor, upon the sick; and was obliged to practice under him before commencing for himself.
Indeed, the importance of practical training was, if possible, more highly estimated by the ancients thạn the moderns. Even the charlatans of Rome, who spurned all connection with the liberal arts, and professed to qualify their pupils within the short space of six months* were duly, impressed with the necessity of clinical teaching, and were in the habit of ostentatiously parading through the streets, followed by a retinue of young men, with whom they made their daily visits to the sick; a custom to which we owe the sarcastic epigram of Martial :
Languebam ; sed tu comitatus ad me
At Rome, as among the Greeks, there were physicians belonging to the servile races. And, that these might the more readily practice their profession,
* Galen, Methodus Medendi, lib i. cap. i. Kuhn's edition, vol. x. p. 5. f Lib. v. Ep. 9.