Billeder på siden
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

minus credunt, quæ ad salutem suam pertinent, si intelligunt.*

But, notwithstanding the waning of the Asclepiadæ, the teaching of medicine continued to flourish. As early as the time of Aristotle, the profession had not only lost much of its ancient association with the priesthood, but had already become divided into classes, -the apothecaries, whose only business consisted in preparing and dispensing medicines ; the physicians, engaged in general practice; and the medical philosophers, who pursued the study as a liberal science only, without devoting their attention to it as an industrial occupation.t From this latter class were probably drawn the first teachers of the Alexandrian school; the opening of which, about three-fourths of a century: after the death of Hippocrates, marks the second great epoch in the progress of medical knowledge.

* Pliny, Hist. Nate, lib. xxix, c. viii.

+ Aristotle, Politics, book iii. c. xi. and book iii. c. xvi. Aristotle himself, if we may believe Athenæus (Deipnosophists, book .viii. c. 50), was inearly life, after wasting his patrimony, the keeper of an apothecary shop in Athens,




[ocr errors]

The rapid extension of Grecian arms under Alexander the Great, led to the diffusion of taste and learning among the surrounding nations. Pergamus' and the new capital of Egypt, became points of scientific attraction second only to Athens; and with the spread of general knowledge, the study of medicine extended to these cities.

At Pergamus, a library of immense extent 'had been accumulated by the predecessors of the first Attalus.* The Asclepion of this city was among the earliest off-shoots from that of Epidaurus.t The peristyle of the temple, and the avenues leading to it, were occupied as places of public instruction and scientific intercourse. Here the orators, sophists, and philosophers of the city, held their daily conferences, and sometimes, amused themselves in expounding to the sick the vaticinations of the priests. As a school of medicine, the Asclepion of Pergamus enjoyed a long-continued celebrity; but its brightest era was after the first decadence of the Alexandrian school. of Alexandria, from which issued much

Vitruvius, lib. vii., præfatio, & 4.
† Le Clerc, lib. i. chap. xx., after Pausanias.

of the later learning of antiquity, was projected by the architect, Dinocrates, * commenced during the lifetime of Alexander, and carried nearly to completion by Ptolemy Soter; but many of 'its public works remained to be finished under his son and successor, Philadelphus.t By means of an artificial causeway, jutting three-fourths of a mile into the sea, the long and narrow island called Pharos, in front of the city, was connected to the main land, and thus converted into a breakwater for the protection of the spacious harbor; in front of which stood most of the public edifices. From the temple of Pan, which rose like a sugar-loaf in the center, the whole of this, remarkable capital could be surveyed at & glance. Its two 'main streets crossing at right angles, were flanked with rows of columns; the one extended lengthwise thirty stadia,' or about three miles; and the other transversly about one-fourth of this distance. Fronting the harbor in the middle of the principal avenue, stood the Soma, or mausoleum of the Greek kings, taking its name from the body, meaning the body of Alexander, which was the first therein deposited. Ranging in a line with this along the shore, stood the temple of Neptune, the Emporium or Exchange, the royal docks, the hall of justice, the Serapium, and the Museum of College of Philosophy. Beyond the Heptastadion, as the stone causeway, from its length, was called, were seen other docks; and beyond the walls, the theater, the amphitheater, and the beautiful Gymna

[ocr errors]


* Vitruvius, lib. ii., præfat. § 4. + See Sharpe's Egypt, passim.

sium for athletic exercises, with its stoa or portico of a stadium in length, where the pentennial games were celebrated. On one side of the city could be seen the Hippodrome for chariot races, on the other, the publio groves and gardens; still further, off, the Necropolis, with its tombs and sepulchral monuments ornamenting the roadside for miles along the shore; and beyond the western wall, the ship.canal connecting the harbor of Eunostus with lake Mareotis, which lay beyond the suburbs; and to which, when the city contained its three hundred thousand souls, these suburbs reached.

The Serapium, or temple of Serapis, on the promontory of Lochias, at the western extremity of the great harbor, was an object as striking to the observer as the lighthouse at the other. Standing within the western gate, this temple, the most magnificent of all the buildings, was approached on one side by a slope for carriages; on the other, by a flight of a hundred steps, widening as they ascended from the street. At the top of these was the portico, with its circular roof and its supporting columns, which gave entrance to the great court-yard; in the middle of which stood the roofless ball of the temple, encircled with columns and porticos inside and out. Enclosed within these porticos were chạmbers dedicated to the rites of the ancient religion of the country. In one of these stood, glittering with gold and silver, the colossal statue of Serapis, the god whose worship became so popular in the latter ages of the Roman empire; and, as if to impress the multitude with superstitious' awe, the light here was so ar


ranged as to allow the sun's rays, at appointed times, to illuminate the statue's lips. But among the inner porticos at a later period, were deposited portions of that library which rendered Alexandria the great repository of the science and wisdom of the ancients. In the middle of the inner area of the temple stood a lofty column, visible from all the country round, and from ships far off at sea. And when the temple itself, with its fountain, its two obelisks, its gilded roofs, its painted chambers and glittering architectural ornaments, had perished, this column, under the name of Pompey’s Pillar, still stood, to vie, in magnitude and durability, with the yet remaining, monuments of the earlier Egyptians.

But, among the public buildings of the rising capital, that which has the greatest claim upon our attention, and to which the city ultimately owed its fairest fame, was the Museum. This stood in the quarter of the Bruchium, fronting the harbor. Its chief apartment was a great hall, which served as a' lecture-room and place of general concourse. Around the main building; on the outside, was a covered walk or portico; and connected with it, was an Exhedra, in which the philosophers, sometimes sat in the open air.

This noble institution was originally designed to serve in part as a school for the training of youth in the higher walks of learning, and in part as a retreat within which men of genius and acquirements, free from the necessity of providing for their daily wants, might have leisure and opportunity, each in his own way, for extending the domain of

« ForrigeFortsæt »