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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 ambitio us 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 prob ably written before he began his career as an author. 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 Attica; 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, inasmuch 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 unavailing, 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 Ethiopia, 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; for 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, then, 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
denly seized, at first, with violent heats in the head, redness and inflammation of the eyes; and immediately the internal parts, both the throat and tongue, assumed a bloody tinge, and emitted an unhealthy and fœtid odor. Next came sneezing and hoarseness, and in a short time the pain descended to the chest, with a violent cough. When it settled on the stomach it caused vomiting; and all the discharges of bile mentioned by physicians, succeeded, and were accompanied with great suffering. An ineffectual retching also followed in most cases, producing violent spasms, which in some instances ceased soon afterwards, in others, much later. Externally, the body was not very hot to the touch; nor was it pale, but reddish, livid, and broken out in small pimples and sores. But the internal parts were burnt to such a degree that the sick could not bear clothing or linen of the very lightest. kind to be laid upon them, nor to be any thing else than stark naked, and would gladly have thrown themselves into cold water if they could. Indeed, many of those who were not taken care of, did so, plunging into cisterns in the agony of unquenchable thirst; and it was all the same whether they drank much or little. Moreover, the misery of restlessness and wakefulness continually oppressed them. The body did not waste away so long as the disease was at its height, but resisted it beyond all expectation, so that they either died in most cases, on the ninth or seventh day, through the internal burning, while they had still some degree of strength; or, if they survived this period, the disease descended into
the bowels, producing violent ulceration there, and intense diarrhoea, by which the greater part were carried off through weakness. For the disease, beginning in the head, passed downwards throughout the whole body, and whoever survived its fatal consequences, was afterwards affected in his extremities; for it settled on the pudenda, fingers, and toes, and many escaped with the loss of these; others, also, with loss of their eyes; others again, were, on their first recovery, seized with forgetfulness, so as not to know either themselves or their friends.
"The severity of the disease surpassed description, and in the following way it proved itself to be different from other diseases. All the birds and beasts that prey on human bodies, did not come near these, though many bodies were lying unburied; or if they did, they died after they had tasted them. As a proof of this, there was a marked disappearance of birds of this kind; while the dogs, from their domestic habits, afforded even clearer opportunity for marking the result here mentioned.
"To pass over many points, one case of the disease differed from another; yet, in its general character, it was such as is here described. Among those attacked, some died in neglect, others in the midst of every attention. There was no settled remedy, and what did good to one, did harm to another. No constitution was proof against it, but it seized on all alike, even those that were treated with all possible regard to diet. The most dreadful part of the calamity was the dejection of those