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ciples of the art, as taught by his contemporary, Hippocrates, his works bear abundant evidence. Accord-., ing to his biographer, Diogenes Laertius, he divided medicine into five branches: the pharmaceutic, the chirurgic, the dietetic, the nosognomic, and the bothetic the first cures by means of drugs, the second by cutting and burning, the third produces a change in the diseased by a change in their diet, the fourth makes known the character of disease, and the fifth by instant assistance palliates suffering, and gives relief to pain.. Aristotle, though not a practitioner of medicine, was of the family of the Asclepiada. He was well skilled in natural history and the anatomy of the lower animals, as well as in the medical doctrines of his own and former times. We shall again have occasion to allude to him as a naturalist.

3. But notwithstanding the speculations of the philosophers, and the trainings of the Palestræ, the Temples of Esculapius were the first great foundations of medical knowledge among the Greeks.

These Temples were numerously dispersed throughout the Grecian states and colonies, as at Titane, Epidaurus, Cyrene, Rhodes, Orope in Attica, Cylene in Ellis, Tithorea in Phocion, Tricca in Thessaly, Megalapolis in Arcadia, Cnidos, Cos, Corona,

Chapter 85. In Plato, Bohn's edition, vol 6, p. 217.

Schulze, in his Historia Medicine, p. 118 and p. 127, quarto, Lipsiæ, 1728, enumerates and describes the particulars of more than eighty of them, mostly after Pausanias and Plutarch; and several of the states and cities appear to have been provided with more than one for each place. The temple at Epidaurus, the reputed birthplace of Esculapius, is presumed to be among the most ancient of them; and from this, many of the others are known to have been off-shoots.


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Pergamus, Corinth, Smyrna, and numerous other places. Here were originally the homes of the Asclepiadæ, the schools in which they trained their offspring; and hither the suffering and afflicted resorted for consolation and relief.

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The priests of Esculapius were in the habit of turning to good account the opportunities at their command within the temples. The institution of. the votive tablets on which were inscribed the history of the cases which had been relieved by them, indicates plainly that the idea of collecting the information thus recorded, and deducing therefrom a systematic code of practice, must have been contemplated by the descendants of Esculapius at an early day.

These temples, or Asclepions, long before medicine began to assume a scientific character, had served as schools of instruction, and as asylums for the sick. They furnished the nucleus from which, in process of time, were developed other institutions and organizations. As schools, the most ancient of them is said to have been at Titane, near Sicyon. Those of Rhodes and Epidaurus, were of early repute. But the school of Cnidos is that from which issued the earliest literary performance which can be clearly traced to the Asclepiada, namely, the " Cnidian Sentences;" which are attributed to Euryphon, the contemporary of Hippocrates, though somewhat his senior. As asylums, the temples bore no inapt resemblance to the hospitals and infirmaries of modern times; into which, in fact, some of them

Littré, loco citat. p. 7.

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were ultimately converted. The temples of Epidaurus, Cos, Tricca, according to Strabo, were always filled with patients; and along their walls the tablets were suspended upon which were recorded the history and treatment of the individual cases of disease.*


The choice of situation, and internal management of the temples, show with what care the priest of Esculapius, while observing the rites of his religion, provided for the well-being of the sick. They usually occupied some elevated or retired and healthy locality, not far removed from the cities, surrounded by shady groves, or in the neighborhood of thermal springs, or fountains of medicated water. They were sacred from intrusion, and accessible to the sick only after suitable preparation. The invalid, on his arrival, submitted to purification, by fasting, ablution, and inunction. He afterwards passed the night within the Hicetas or common-hall of the temple. During this ceremony of incubation, the presiding deity is supposed to appear before him in the silence of the night, and, by voice or otherwise, announce to him the means of cure; which, on the following day, the priest in attendance also ascertained, and afterwards undertook the supervision of the treatment.

The fees of these priests were the free-will offerings of the sick. It was consequently to the interest of the priests to cherish the superstitions of the people. Their devices for this purpose, Aristoph

* Ibid, p. 9, from Strabo, book viii.

anes has humorously portrayed in his comedy of Plutus:

"Having bathed Plutus in the sea," says the servant Cario, "we went to the temple of Esculapius; and when our wafers and preparatory sacrifices were offered on the altar, and our cakes on the flame of Vulcan, we laid him on a couch, as was proper, and made ready our own mattresses. * * * When the priest, had extinguished the lights, he told us to go to sleep, adding that if any of us heard the hissing we should by no means stir.. We therefore all remained in bed, and made no noise. As for myself, I could not sleep, on account of the odor of a basin of savory porridge which an old woman had at the side of her bed, and which I longed for amazingly. Being, therefore, anxious to creep near it, I raised my head, and saw the sacristan take the cakes and dried figs from the sacred table, and going the round of the altars, put all that he could find into a bag. It occurred to me that it would be meritorious in me to follow his example, so I arose to secure the basin of porridge, ** fearing only that the priest might get at it before me, with his garlands on. * * The old woman, on hearing me, stretched forth her hand. But I hissed, and seized her fingers with my teeth, as if I were an Esculapian snake; then, drawing back her hand again, she lay down and wrapped herself up quickly, *** while I swallowed the porridge, and, when full, retired to rest."

The serpent to which Aristophanes here refers, was the usual emblem of the presiding Numen, or


divinity of the temple; though other animals, as the cock and the dog, were occasionally employed for the same purpose. The figure of the serpent sculptured in stone, met the eye of the devotee at the entrance of the temple; and the animal itself was cherished and preserved within the sacred precincts. The Esculapian serpent, according to Pausanias, was of a peculiar variety, of a yellowish or brown color, and found only at Epidaurus. At the founding of new temples, it was always transferred from the old to the new abodes. Such was the ceremony, as we learn from Livy, when in the year of Rome, 461, for arresting the progress of pestilence in that city, commissioners were sent to transfer the sacred serpent from Epidaurus to the Island of the Tiber, where the first temple to Esculapius was erected among the Romans.

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Esculapius himself was usually represented as a bearded and aged man; sometimes bare-headed, sometimes crowned; seated, standing erect, or leaning on his staff, around which the serpent is seen winding in spiral folds; occasionally he is bearing a strobile of the pine; sometimes he is seen alone, but more frequently accompanied by one of his daughters, usually Hygeia, who is robed in white, with a serpent in one of her hands and a shallow patella or cup in the other, to which the serpent is directing its attention. 'Not unfrequently between the figures of Esculapius and Hygeia, a child is seen standing, the infant Telephorus or the Harpocrates of the Egyptians;* and the cock is usually seen at the feet of

Schulze, P. 126, 181, et seq.

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