Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

usually attentive. But the portions of the collection most at variance with the doctrines of Hippocrates, were probably derived from the Asclepion of Cnidos, the abode of many able teachers; among the principal of whom, after Euryphon, was Chrysippus.

Of the Cnidian' school, we have no well-authenticated remains, and no other trust-worthy account than such as may be found in the few intimations furnished by Hippocrates himself, and by his commentator and disciple, Galen. M. Littré,* however, has recently furnished some grounds for believing that the second and third book of Diseases, and the book on Internal Affections, as at present 'embodied in the Hippocratic collection, are in some respects not in strict harmony with the rest; and that the doctrines contained in them, tested by what is known of the Cnidian Sentences, prove to be in accordance with these, and consequently, such as may have issued from the Cnidian school.

Be this as it may, the doctrines of the two schools were not in every point alike.f And the rivalry between their respective writers and teachers, during the early period of scientific progress, was carried on with much vigor. Hippocrates, in his book on Ancient Medicine, and again in that on Regimen in Acute Diseases, takes occasion to criticise the opinions and practice of Euryphon, as expressed in the Sentences. Ctesias: of Cnidos, in turn, as we learn from Galen, criticises the practice of Hippo

[ocr errors]

* Euvres d'Hippocrat, tome vii. p. 304. + Gælen (Kuhn's edition), vol. v. p. 761; vol. xv. p. 363, 427.

crateš. Chrysippus, of the Cnidian school, and his disciple Erasistratus, oppose the use of active purgatives and venesection; whilst Herophilus, at Alex

! andria, writes in favor of the lancety and is a follower of the Sage of Cos.

The modes of contemplating disease in the two schools, were not alike. The Cnidians attended mainly to minute distinctions, to the characteristic traits of individual diseases, with little regard to the bearing or mutual relations of special symptoms. Thus they enumerated seven different diseases of the biliary organs, twelve of the bladder, and four of the kidneys; they described. four kinds of stràngury, three kinds of tetanus, four of jaundice, and three of phthisis. Their neighbors of Cos; on the

. other hand, held the study of such distinctions to be of small account, and gave their special attention to the grouping of important symptoms,-to what would now be called the constitutional condition, or the state of the system,—without regard to the

par ticular disease, but mainly with reference to the prognosis and indications of treatment.

In the management of acute diseases the Cnidians employed numerous remedies, and in other affections, few. The school of Cos, though at times more heroic, especially in the use of the lancet and active purgatives, were in the habit of managing acute diseases by, a restricted regimen; barley-water more or less diluted, hydromel, and oxymel, being among their most frequent prescriptions. In the management of chronic diseases, they favored the medical gymnastics of Herodicus; whilst at Cnidos these dis

[ocr errors]

eases were managed principally by laxatives, and a diet of milk, or of milk and water.*

We might here stop for a moment to ask, what would have been the effect upon the progress of medicine in ancient times, ' had these two distinct modes of investigation been pursued with equal skill and perseverance by both parties. For the Cnidian method must have been laid aside at an early day, and that of the rival school universally adopted. Each method in the abstract, has its respective

advantages, and each its own defects. In the early : stage of inquiry, while facts are comparatively few,

and insufficient to warrant sound deductions, or where their relative significance has yet to be determined, the Cnidian method might not only have been the safest, but the one which would have led the most speedily and surely to those results which the rival schools were ambitious of reaching at a bound. Hippocrates and his followers, it is true, were not entirely indifferent to the study of individual diseases; but, from their over-estimate of the scientific importance of prognostic indications, the individual types of disease were not 'so' thoroughly investigated as they might have been. Had they dwelt on these with greater care, it is possible that most of the diseases which are now looked upon as of comparatively recent origin, and for accounts of which we search in vain among the ancient medical authorities, might be shown to have existed from the earliest times. In the progress of medical

*. Euvres d'Hippocrate, par M. Littré ; tome ii. p. 198; tome vii. p. 304.

science, as in the growth of individual judgment, the period of observation must precede that of philosophizing. And until facts have been accumulated in sufficient number and variety to dispel the errors involved in preconceived opinion, the inferences to be derived from them are, at most, nothing better than sagacious speculations. The descriptions of epidemic and other diseases, by the early historians, who drew from observation only, who made no pretensions to medical knowledge, and whose minds were unembarrassed by the training of the schools, are at the present day more worthy of reliance than the accounts rendered of the same diseases by contemporary medical authorities... There is, even in the Hippocratic code, nothing to compare in truthfulness and fullness of detail, with the account furnished. by Thucydides, of the Plague of Athens; a disease which prevailed when Hippocrates was about thirty years of age, and the description of which was probably written before he began his career as an adthor. This memorable passage from the History of the Peloponnesian War; I must here take the liberty of condensing.

At the beginning of the next summer,” says Thucydides,* “the Peloponnesians and their allies

; invaded Attica, and laid waste the country. When they had not yet been many days in Attiça; the plague began to show itself among the Athenians, though it was said to have previously lighted on many places about Lemnos and elsewhere. Such a

Book ii. chap. 47–58.

pestilence as this, was nowhere remembered to have happened. The physicians were at first of no avail; treating it, as they did, in ignorance of its nature. Nay, they themselves died most of all, in

. asmuch as they most visited the sick.

Nor was there relief in any human art. As to the supplications offered in the temples, or the divinations and other similar means, they were all equally anavailing, and were at length relinquished by the people, who were overcome by the pressure of the calamity.

“It is said to have first begun in Æthiopia, then to have extended into Egypt and Lybia, and the greater part of the king's territory. On the city of Athens it fell suddenly, first attacking the men on the Piræus, so that it was even supposed by them that the Peloponnesians had thrown poison into the cisterns; fór . as yet there were no fountains there. It afterwards reached the upper city, where it was much more general. Now, let every one, whether physician or unprofessional man, maintain his own opinion as to the source and causes of the disease ; I, however, shall only describe its character, and explain the symptoms by which it may be recognized should it ever return; for I was both attacked by it myself, and had personal observation of others who were suffering from it.

" That year, thèn, as was generally allowed, happened to be unusually free from other diseases; and if any such appeared, they all terminated in this.

Without any ostensible cause, while apparently in good health, those about to suffer from it were sud

.

« ForrigeFortsæt »