Billeder på siden

following: "Huat hanat huat ista pista sista dominabo damnaustra," or after this manner: "Huat haut haut ista sis tar sis ardannabon dunnaustra.”*

We have already alluded to the earliest temple, of Esculapius among the Romans, that upon the Island of the Tiber. Others were afterwards erected in the city; one of these, according to Serenus Sammonicus,† was situated on the Tarpeian rock.

But indications of a more enlightened spirit, are apparent. towards the decline of the republic. As early as the time of Caius Marius, the city was well supplied with hardy and enterprising practitioners. This veteran warrior, who had been six times consul, underwent at the hands of one of these, an operation for the cure of varices; and after the diseased veins had been forcibly wrenched from beneath the skin of one leg, he refused to present the other limb, judging from what he had already experienced, that the proposed relief could hardly compensate for the suffering.

[ocr errors]

Still nearer the close of the republic, the Greek physicians of the city had risen to the confidence and friendship of the Patricians. Cæsar on his voyage to Rhodes, when taken prisoner by the pirates near the island of Pharmaceusa, was accompanied,; among other friends, by his physician.§ Cicero declares it to be the duty of all men a duty particularly incumbent on himself to support the dignity of the healing art. Licet enim omnibus, licet enim

* M. Porcius Cato de Re Rustica, cap. clx. Pliny, lib. xi. cap. 104.

+ Verse 10th.

§ Suetonius, cap. iv.


mihi, dignitatem medico artis tueri." And to Asclepiades, then the most popular physician of the city, he alludes as his personal friend, celebrated as much for his refined eloquence as for his skill in physic.*.

In the time of Cicero, the study of philosophy had already become essential to what was considered an accomplished education. This study implied an acquaintance with the Greek language, and was imperceptibly attracting attention to medicine, from which the teachers of philosophy were in the habit of deriving their aptest illustrations, and with which their own doctrines were inseparably united. The statesmen and orators of the nation, becoming in youth familiar with medicine as a department of philosophy, began at length to respect it as an art, and to give to its professors their protection and encouragement. Hence the various laws introduced soon after the organization of the empire, for the benefit of the profession.

Cæsar, after reaching the summit of his power, in order to attract men of science to the capital, and to improve the condition of those already there, decreed that all who practiced physic at Rome, and all the masters of the liberal arts therein residing, 'should enjoy the privilege of citizenship. And Augustus, after having been relieved of a dangerous illness by his freed-man, Antonius Musa, loaded this physician with wealth; raised him, by consent of the Senate, to the equestrian rank; erected a bronze statue to his honor near that of Esculapius;

[ocr errors]

*De Oratore.

Suetonius, Julius Cæsar, cap. xlii.

[ocr errors]

and, at his instigation, conferred important privileges on the whole body of the profession then residing in the city.*. These privileges were afterwards confirmed and extended by Vespasian, Adrian, Antoninus Pius, Domitian, Alexander Severus, and other later emperors.

[ocr errors]

Asclepiades, the friend of Cicero already mentioned, was a native of Prussa in Bithynia. To him, more than to any other individual, belongs the credit of having first raised the medical profession in Rome to the confidence and respect of the people. Educated under Cleophantus at Alexandria, he had practiced medicine, and been employed as a teacher of elocution at Athens, and other parts of Greece, before taking up his abode, in Rome. Ŏf an acute and discerning mind, he soon discovered that the principal source of mistrust towards those who who had preceded him, lay in their crude and unfeeling practice. And though at this time perhaps not deeply versed in the principles of his art, he saw the advantage of instituting an entirely different course. Accordingly, rejecting most internal medicines as liable to offend the stomach, he confined himself principally to hygienic measures, and to regulating the diet. To enforce his own views, he turned his eloquence to good account as a public teacher, and originated the first school of medicine in the city. He was the author of a treatise on General Remedies, in which he dwelt mainly on friction of the skin, and beyond this, only on pas

[ocr errors]

*Seutonius, Octav. August., cap. lix,

+ See Cassius, Celsus, Calius Aurelianus, Pliny, Apuleius Madaurensis.

[ocr errors]

sive exercise, and the use of wine. The novelty and attractive character of his practice rendered him popular, and secured to him lucrative occupation, from which he accumulated a princely fortune. Adopting the atomic philosophy of Epicurus, he attributed all diseases to obstruction of the primary atoms in their passage through the invisible pores; and the restoration of these atoms to their equable relation to the pores, so as to move without embarrassment, he made the principal indication in his. treatment. This theory was afterwards more fully · elaborated by his successors, in whose hands it was expanded into the distinctive doctrine of the Methodic sect.

[ocr errors]


The merits of Asclepiades as a reformer, have been differently estimated by different writers, some looking upon him as little more than a successful charlatan, others as a philosophical physician. Apuleius Madaurensis declares him superior to all other physicians, Hippocrates only excepted.* len charges him with many absurdities,† and with having but little knowledge of the great fathers of the profession, whom he affected to ridicule; for he had characterized even the writings of Hippocrates as a meditation upon the dead. But Celsus, his more moderate defender, declares he was the first after Heraclides of Tarentum, to effect important improvements in the healing art; and yet admits that he assumed as his own, the use of friction as a

*Florida, cap. xix.

[ocr errors]

† Vol. ii. p. 165, and elsewhere in numerous places.
Preface to first book.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

therapeutic agent, to which he had no claim, inasmuch as it had been in use since the time of Hippocrates; adding, however, that Asclepiades had treated of this more fully and clearly than any former writer. To him we owe the aphoristic phrase, “Tuto, cito, ut jucunde," or, as given by Celsus, "Asclepiades officium esse medici dicit, ut tuto, ut celeriter, ut jucunde curet." He was the first to announce the doctrine of the self-limitation of disease, asserting that the principal cure for a fever was the disease itself. He wrote on ulcers, and on acute and chronic diseases. He recommended tracheotomy in threatened suffocation. His claim to

our respect appears to lie in his rejection of the complex, violent, and perturbing remedies in use before his day, and substituting for them such as were simple and grateful to the sick; and in looking upon his art as useful only so far as it served to alleviate actual suffering, or to administer consolation to his patients. Remarkable for independence of judgment, and for a certain elevation of character, he would have the presence of the physician a source of pleasure and encouragement to the patient rather than of foreboding and mistrust, and the physician himself to perform the double function of curing disease as became a skillful and compassionate practitioner, and of cheering and amusing the sick as became a friend. He settled at Rome in the time of Pompey, about 63 years before the birth of Christ; and he is said to have been killed by a fall from a ladder in his extreme old age.

* Cassius, Cælius Aurelianus, and Galen, vol. xiv. p. 274, Kuhn's edition.

« ForrigeFortsæt »