« ForrigeFortsæt »
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, ånd emitted an unhealthy and fætid 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, wbile 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 pndenda, 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 dis
' ease 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
who found themselves sickening, and the fact of their being charged with the infection from attending on one another, and so dying like sheep; for when seized, they fell into despair, and by abandoning themselves the more certainly to the disease, they were the less able to resist it. It was this that caused the greatest mortality; for if through · fear they were unwilling to assist each other, they perished from being deserted; or if they did visit, they met their death, especially such as made any pretensions to goodness, or who, from a feeling of shame, were unsparing of themselves, going into their friends' houses, where even the members of the family were worn out with the moanings of the dying, and overcome with excessive misery. Still more, however, than even these, did such as had escaped the disorder, show pity for the dying and the suffering, both from their previous knowledge of what it was, and from being now in no fear of it themselves; for it never seized the same person twice, so as to prove actually fatal.
“In addition to the original calamity, what oppressed them still more, was the crowding of the city with new comers from the country. For, as these had no houses, and were forced to live in stifling cabins at the hot season of the year, the mortality amongst them spread without restraint; bodies lying on one another in the death-agony, and halfdead creatures rolling about in the streets, and around all the fountains, in their longing for water. The sacred places also, in which they had quartered, were full of the corpses of those who died there; for, in the surpassing violence of the calamity, men
came to disregard every thing, both sacred and profane. All the laws of burial were violated, and many from want of proper means, had recourse, to
, shameless modes of sepulture; for, on the piles prepared for others, some, anticipating those who had raised them, would lay their own dead, and set fire to them; and others, while the body of a stranger was burning, would throw on the top of it the one they were carrying, and go away.
“In other respects also, the plague was the origin of lawless conduct, for the deeds which men had formerly hidden from view, were now openly perpetrated. Seeing the sudden changes, they resolved to take their enjoyment quickly; regarding their lives and their riches alike as things of a day. As for taking trouble about what was thought honorable, no one was forward to do it, deeming it uncertain whether before he had attained it, he would not be cut off. And as to fear of gods, or law of men-there was none to stop them.
“Such was 'the calamity which afflicted the Athenians, their men dying within the city, and their lands being wasted without. Their fleet too, which, during the same summer, had proceeded against Potidæa, was unsuccessful; the plague' attacking the forces, and utterly overpowering them, so that out of four thousand heavy-armed men, fifteen hundred perished in about forty days; and the soldiers of the Athenians, who had been there before the arriyal of the fleet, became infected by the newly arrived t roops, though previously they had been in good health.
"Oņ the following winter,” adds Thucydides in
another place, * “ the plague a second time attacked the Athenians, having, indeed, never entirely left them, though there had been some abatement of it. It lasted, the second time, not less than a year, the former attack having lasted two; so that nothing reduced the
of the Athenians more than this, for not less than four thousand four hundred heavyarmed in the ranks, died of it; and three hundred of the equestrian order, with a number of the multitude that was never ascertained. It was at this time also; that the numerous earthquakes happened at Athens, Eubæa, and Beotia, particularly at Orchomenos in the last-named country.”.
One circumstance mentioned in the foregoing passages from Thucydides, is worthy of particular notice, his direct allusion' to the spread of this disease by infection, a subject rarely if ever referred to by the medical authorities of antiquity, and upon which I shall again have occasion to speak in connection with Pliny's account of the Mentagra of the Romans.
Before closing our notice of medicine among the early Grecians, having already ventured beyond the strictly professional authorities, it is but proper to give some attention to an author whose writings, more than those of most other men, have been instrumental in exciting to discussion and inquiry in every branch of science. I allude to Aristotle. I need not in this connection refer to his influence as a' teacher of philosophy. In this department he
* III. 87.