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Gymnasium, it was doubtless an excellent training for the young Hippocrates, as his master insisted upon rigid abstinence from all deleterious food and habits.

After leaving Herodicus, he went to Gorgias, a celebrated orator and philosopher in Sicily, and to Democritus of Abdera, who seems to have been quite an encyclopædia of learning. His knowledge "embraced, not only the natural sciences, mathematics, mechanics, grammar, music, and philosophy, but various other useful arts ;" and he was, besides, a founder of an atomic theory, which we shall have to consider more in detail in the sequel.

Having finished his university education-taken his degree, as we should now term it, Hippocrates returned to the study of medicine at the schools of Cnidos and his native Cos; and in time-how long it took we can form not even a conjecture—he acquired a reputation as a physician, which gradually increased till it ripened into a splendid renown, and bore his name over Greece to foreign courts. Perdikkas, the young king of Macedonia, was supposed to be dying of consumption, and Hippocrates was sent for. After carefully observing the patient, the physician noticed an aggravation of the febrile accession every time a certain lady, of the name of Phila, in the employment of the youth's father, approached. Hippocrates pronounced the consumption to be love, and that Phila alone could cure him. The issue justified the prediction.2

It is strange that several of the most celebrated cures in history should be of a similar complexion. Erasistratus detected the love of Antiochus for Stratonike by the following device. The young man was wasting away, and no one could divine the cause. Erasistratus put his hand upon the chest of the invalid, and arranged that the attractive attendants of the court should file past him. When Strato

1 Smith's Class. Dict., Art. "Democritus."

2 Apologie des Hippocrates, von. K. Sprengel, p. 58.

nike appeared, the heart of Antiochus throbbed so violently as to reveal the cause of all his illness.1

Avicenna, the Arabian, is reported to have gained great repute, when he himself was quite a youth, by making just such a hit.2

If it require such men as Hippocrates and Avicenna to make the discovery, there must now be many sufferers from this complaint undergoing daily examination with stethoscopes, and all the ingenious modern substitutes for the discerning eye which sees at a glance what no science will ever reveal.

No wonder that, with such a reputation, his advice should be sought by the Athenians at the time the plague committed such deadly havoc in their city. Although the fact is not mentioned by the great historian of the event, Thucydides, there are good grounds for the general belief that Hippocrates was consulted, and recommended the lighting of large fires all about the city to stay the progress of the infection.


By this we learn what a vast step had been made in recognizing disease as a natural result of certain physical causes, not the baneful act of some incensed god or goddess. Indeed, in this respect, Hippocrates was far in advance, not only of his own age, but of much later periods. Nothing can be more emphatic than his rejection of supernatural influences as causes of any disease whatever.

We may take, as proof, what he says of Epilepsy, which, from its mysterious character, was called par excellence" the sacred disease.' "It is thus with regard to the disease


1 Plutarch, quoted by Sprengel, Vol. I., p. 240.

2 Sprengel, Vol. II., p. 420.

3 Galen says, the wood used for the fires was of an aromatic kind, probably some species of pine.

Aretæus gives the following explanation of the epithet in his Chapter on Epilepsy:-"There is a sort of ignominy, too, in its character, for it seems to attack those who offend the moon, and hence the disease is termed

'sacred,' as it may be from other sources, either from its magnitude (for what is great is sacred), or from the cure not being in the power of man, but of God, or from the notion that a demon had entered into the patient, or from all put together, that it has been so called." Aretæus on the Causes and Signs of Acute or Chronic Disease. Translated from the Greek, by T. F. Reynolds, M.B., 1837, p. 62.

called sacred; it appears to me to be in nowise more divine or more sacred than other diseases, but has a natural cause from which it originates, like other affections. Men regard its nature and cause as divine from ignorance, and wonder because it is not at all like other diseases. But if it is to be reckoned divine because it is wonderful, instead of one there are many diseases which would be sacred... And they who first referred this disease to the gods appeared to me to be just such persons as the conjurors, mountebanks, and charlatans now are, who give themselves out for being excessively religious, and as knowing more than other people. Such persons, then, using the Divinity as a pretext and screen of their own inability to afford any assistance, have given out that this disease is sacred."

In another place, speaking of an affection peculiar to the Scythians, and which they attributed to a god, he observes : 2 "To me it appears that such affections are just as much divine as all others are, and that no one disease is either more divine or more human than another; but all are alike divine, for each has its own nature, and no one arises without a natural cause.



What a sad contrast to this true and admirable exposition of the causes of disease do we find in the writings of some of the most justly venerated Fathers of the Church who lived five hundred years later than Hippocrates. is demons," says Origen, "which produce famine, unfruitfulness, corruptions of the air, and pestilence. They hover, concealed in clouds, in the lower atmosphere, and are attarcted by the blood and incense which the heathen offer to them as gods.' "All diseases of Christians," says Augustin, "are to be ascribed to these demons: chiefly do they torment fresh-baptized Christians, yea! even the guiltless new-born infants."

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Adams' Hippoc., Vol. II. p. 843. 2 Op. cit., Vol. I. p. 216.

3 Origen, contra Celsum, Lib. VII.

c. 31, p. 765.

Augustin, de Divinit. Demon., c. 3, p. 371. Sprengel, Vol. II., p. 209.

Besides being sought for by the republic of Athens, to which he doubtless was proud to render any aid he could, Hippocrates was invited by the great King of Persia, but refused to go. There seems no reason for disbelieving this; it rests upon respectable testimony, and is quite in accordance with the practice of the Persian monarch and the sentiments of Greek physicians. For example, there exists a very curious correspondence between King Darius and Heraclitus of Ephesus. The royal missive runs thus, after a flourish:-"King Darius, the son of Hystaspes, wishes to enjoy the benefit of hearing you discourse, and of receiving some Grecian instruction. Come, therefore, quickly to my sight and to my royal palace," &c. To which the respondent, without a word of thanks, replies, "I will never come to Persia, since I am quite contented with alittle, and live as best suits my own inclination."

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That Hippocrates was of the same mind may be gathered from various passages of his works. For example, when speaking of the difference between the Asiatics and the Greeks, he says: "For these reasons it appears to me the Asiatic race is feeble, and, further, owing to their laws; for monarchy prevails in the greater part of Asia; and when men are not their own masters, nor independent, but are the slaves of others, it is not a matter of consideration with them how they may acquire military discipline, but how they may seem not to be warlike; for the dangers are not equally shared, since they must serve as soldiers, perhaps endure fatigue, and die for their masters, far from their children, their wives, and other friends; and whatever noble and manly actions they may perform lead only to the aggrandisement of their masters, whilst the fruits which they reap are dangers and death."" What a noble picture of a free over a slave State ! No

1 Diogen. Laert., p. 380.

2 Adams' Hippoc., p. 210.

wonder that the mind which conceived it should revolt from the idea of serving a tyrant !1

It was probably a profound respect for mental and moral as well as political liberty that kept Hippocrates free from the slightest taint of priestly assumption in circumstances which would have made it almost pardonable. Although he was of the order of priests, born and bred in the temple of the god from whom he was believed to be descended, and himself reverenced as a divinity, yet, strange to say! all his writings are characterized by wonderful modesty, and his claims to credit invariably rest upon appeals to the reason, and never either to the passions, or to respect for blind authority Indeed, the most striking feature of this great man's mind was common-sense.2 We may hesitate to award him the attribute of genius-certainly he is not pre-eminent among men of genius; and if we compare his writings with those of Bacon, for example, we feel disappointed at the absence of this quality; but for sense, at least, he equals Bacon, or perhaps any man that ever lived. Hippocrates had the sense to see through the superstition of his age, and the more uncommon sense to let it alone, testifying, by his speech and life, to the truth he believed in, and leaving to others the exposure of errors. It was his common-sense that led him to give such minute details of how the physician should conduct himself, even to the arrangement of his dress. "The robe," he says, when describing an operation, "is to be thrown in a neat and orderly manner over the elbows and shoulders, equally and

In our own days we have had an example of a celebrated geologist refusing to return from America, his adopted, to France, his native country, although tempted by a personal and flattering appeal from the Emperor Napoleon III.

2 The term common-sense is often understood as being equivalent to "the

average amount of intelligence," in-
stead of representing, as it does, the
sensus communis, or universal faculty
of apprehending truth, by an intuitive
process, and pronouncing an infallible
judgment upon every proposition that
comes legitimately within the sphere of
its jurisdiction.-See Sir W. Hamil-

ton's edition of Reid.

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