Billeder på siden

five years. Galen, after a philosophical course of three years, which he began at the age of fourteen, had already been a student of medicine under Satyrius four years, at the breaking out of the plague in Pergamus, 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 instruction in the Roman schools was mostly practical. Anatomy, at least the dissec

Gibbon, chapter xvii. §'ii. Harper's edition, vol. i. p. 347.
Codex Justiniani, lib. x, tit. xlix. §1.

[ocr errors]

tion 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 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 wayside, 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 that 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.+

[ocr errors]

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 than 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
Venisti, centum, Symmache, discipulis,
Centum me tetigere manus Aquilone gelátæ;
Non habui febrem, Symmache, nunc habeo!"†

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.

they were usually declared freedmen by their masters. The estimation placed upon slaves engaged in the practice of medicine, may be ascertained from the Codex of Justinian ;* which fixes the legal value of a maid servant at twenty solidi; of a male slave skilled in any handicraft, at thirty solidi; notaries, whether male or female, at fifty solidi; and physicians, male or female, at sixty solidi.

We have already seen that in ancient Egypt, as far back as history extends, the practice of medicine was divided into numerous branches. This custom never became general among the Greeks or Romans; yet in the larger cities some approach was made towards it. Galen informs us that in the less populous districts, where specialists were unable to find employment, they were in the habit of perambulating the country, and practicing from place to place. Pharmacy, as already shown, had become a distinct department as early as the days of Aristotle. Gymnasiarchs and Iatroleptists, or anointers and bathers, in the exercise of their calling, were in some measure subservient to the profession, and had always paid some attention to the treatment of injuries. Midwifery was still in the hands of the obstetrix. And some few of these ancient handmaids of Lucina, as Aspasia, Cleopatra, and others, were writers as well as practitioners. But surgery and medicine proper, though sometimes taught or practiced separately as specialities, were

* Lib, vii. tit. vii, § 5.

never disconnected by the educated physicians of antiquity, who rejected most of the specialists as impostors.*

Of these illegitimate sons of Esculapius, the numbers and pretensions were as great in ancient as in modern times; and they were quite as apt to receive the countenance and favor of the upper classes. Chosroes of Persia was the patron of Uranus; and Nero was the supporter of the audacious Thessalus, who, like Paracelsus, repudiated all learning as useless, and like the still more recent mountebank, Hahnemann, modestly assumed to be above all, and opposed to all, who had ever gone before him. Pliny and Galen are justly severe on most of these ancient impostors. And if we can credit their account of them, the host of industrialists, oculists, rhinoplasts, dentists, bone-setters, herniotomists, lithotomists, gelders, abortionists, and poison-venders, pervading Italy, France, and Spain throughout the middle ages, before whom the modern group of pretenders grow pale and insignificant, were at least equaled, if not exceeded, in ignorance, as well as arrogance, by the quacks of Rome.t

With regard to schools, besides the cities already mentioned, Athens, Corinth, Berytus, Laodicea, and Cæsarea, among the Greeks; and at different epochs, Milan, Pavia,Traves, Arles, Marseilles, and Bordeaux

* Corpus Juris Civilis Digest, lib. 1. tit. xiii. § iii.

+ Galen, Methodus Medendi, lib. i., cap. i., ii., iii.

Vol. x. p. 5, et seq.

Pliny, lib. xxix., cap. viii. Corpus Juris Civilis Digest, lib. 1., tit. xiii., 1. 3. et Julii Pauli Recept. Sentent. lib. v. tit. xxiii., §§ 7, 8, 11, 12. ·

« ForrigeFortsæt »