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the written history of the nation, were prepared for public recitation. Plato,* aware of the influence of such exercises, would have had a censorship upon the poets, that they might not be permitted to recite their compositions in public before submitting them to the judges and guardians of the law, and obtaining their approbation. The business of lecturing, therefore, was at Alexandria, as in the other cities, of more importance than that of composing for the private reader. The custom of appointing readers for familiarizing the people with Homer and other standard authors, had already been introduced here. And Hegesias, after the loss of his professorial chair, was occupied as the official reader of Herod
Before the settlement of Egypt by the Greeks, papyrus was only in limited use among them. Their adoption of this material in the making of books, was an improvement almost equal to the modern invention of printing. To many of the people books were now known for the first time; and the new substance upon which they were written, replacing the wax tablets, the rolls of bark, the cloth, and other articles formerly employed, continued in general use until it was in turn superseded by the comparatively recent invention of writing paper. The Charta Pergamenta, or parchment, introduced two hundred years later than papyrus, was always too expensive for general use, and was, indeed, an invention of necessity by the scholars of Pergamus, when
* In the Laws, book vii. c. 9.
Ptolemy Euergetes, jealous of the rising reputation of the great library of that city, undertook to arrest its increase by prohibiting the export of papyrus from Egypt. Thus, two of our own words, parchment from Pergamus, and paper from papyrus, stand as monuments of the rivalry in the collecting of books, which once existed between Eumenes of Pergamus, and Euergetes of Egypt.
This rivalry continued until the kingdom of Pergamus was bequeathed to the Romans. And not. long after this event, when Julius Cæsar set fire to his own fleet in the harbor of Alexandria, the flames accidentally extending to the Museum, which stood in the immediate vicinity of the docks, the building was consumed; and with it perished in the flames that library which had been the growth of ages, and which, at this time, contained not fewer than 700,000 volumes. The Museum was soon afterwards rebuilt. And to supply, as far as possible, the loss of the library, Mark Anthony, when in power, presented to Cleopatra the 200,000 volumes which had hitherto been the greatest boast of Pergamus. This literary treasure was afterwards deposited in the Serapium, and Alexandria once more contained the largest library in the world.
In connection with the libraries of Alexandria and Pergamus, it may be here observed that among the celebrated collections of earlier date, were those of Polycrates, king of Samos; of Pisistratus, the tyrant of Athens; of Euclides, the Athenian of Nicorrates, the Samian; and of Aristotle and his librarian, Nelius. This latter collection, or at least
the greater part of it, was purchased by Ptolemy Philadelphus, and, with other collections from Rhodes, constituted the nucleus of the first library of Alexandria.*
THE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE AT ALEXANDRIA.
AMONG the earliest members of the Museum who devoted their attention to medicine, by far the most conspicuous were Herophilus and Erasistratus."
Herophilus was a native of Chalcedon, and pupil of Praxagoras of Cos. He was an original investigator; and, after Diocles of Carytus, the first of the Hippocratic school to distinguish himself as an anatomist. To him we owe many of the anatomical terms still in use. He was the first to direct attention to the pulse as an index of the varying conditions of health and disease; properly attributing the pulsation of the arteries to the action of the heart. He was familiar with the course of the lacteal vessels, and with their relation to the mesenteric glands. He experimented on living animals, and even on condemned criminals placed at his disposal in the prisons. He dissected human bodies. His
* Athenæus.-The Deipnosophists, book i. chapter iv.
See Galen, in numerous places; also Celsus, in his preface and elsewhere.
physiological researches excited the indignation of the populace to such an extent as to require the strong arm of arbitrary power for his protection. He traced most diseases to the humors. In practice he resorted to active treatment, after the manner on Hippocrates. He was a voluminous. writer in various departments of medicine, treating, among other subjects, on the obstetric art. He was the first to write commentaries on Hippocrates. Professor Marx, who has attempted to collect from Galen and others, all that remains of his produc-tions, ascribes to him works bearing the following titles: De Causis, Anatomia, Disquisitiones de Pulsu, Curationes, Commentarius in Hippocratis
Prognostica," Commentarius in Hippocratis "Aphorismos," Explicationes Dictionum Exoletarium Hippocratis, De Oculis, Dietetica. To which may be added, on the authority of Soranus, the two following:-Contra Opiniones Vulgares, and De Arte Obstetricia.*
Erasistratust was a native of the Isle of Chios, He had pursued philosophy under Theophrastus, and medicine under Chrysippus; and before coming to Alexandria, had distinguished himself by discovering the secret ailment of young Antiochus, son of Seleucus, from observing the acceleration of the patient's pulse during the presence of Stratinice, of whom he was enamored. Like his associate,
* De Herophili Celeberrimi Medici Vita, Scriptis atque in Medicina Meritis By Professor Marx. See British and Foreign Medical Review, vol. xv. p. 110.
† Galen and Celsus, as above.
Erasistratus wrote extensively, and made discoveries in anatomy and physiology. He was familiar with the general distribution of the blood-vessels. He described the anatomical structure of the heart, and like Aristotle, made this organ the source both of the veins and arteries. He held also, in common with Aristotle, that the arteries in health are filled with pneuma, or air, which they receive from the atmosphere in the process of respiration, and that the passage of blood into them from the veins, is the usual cause of disease. He was familiar with the functions of the nerves; and as we are told by Ruffus, he divided them into nerves of motion and nerves of sensation. He was acquainted with the use of the catheter, and was probably the inventor of that instrument. He paid no regard to the Hippocratic doctrine of the humors, or of the four elements. He attributed all fevers to inflammation. The inflammation leading to dropsy, he placed in the liver and spleen. The animal spirits he seated in the brain; the vital, in the heart. He rejected venesection, the use of drastic purgatives, and most other active medicines; he treated diseases almost exclusively by diet and regimen, and was among the first to systematize gymnastics, or what would now be called hygiene, as a department of the healing art. Galen speaks of him as an accomplished anatomist, but charges him with want of skill as a a physician. After commencing his anatomical and physiological researches, he may have been too much involved in these to attend to the minute details of practice.. He held medicine to be a conjec