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“ The trochisk from Egyptian thorn, that of Philip, that from hartshorn, that from
and the trigonis." The pills from Macer are excellent remedies. The following is an admirable one :
“ Of opium, of saffron, of Indian lycum, of acacia, of shumach, of frankincense, of galls, of hypocystis, of pomegranate-rind, of myrrh, of aloes, equal parts, give in water to the amount of three oboli.” 1
So we enter the region of polypharmacy, which, although begun by Galen, did not reach its full extravagance till a
i Paulus Ægineta. Vol. I. p. 526.
Church Miracles-Charms and Amulets-Monks and Medicine—The Hospital
Roman Influence—The Decline of the Empire-Julian the Apostate-Saracen Conquests— Rhazes taken at his word—Michael Scott-Joseph Wolff-Modern Persian Physicians—Selling Price of Lawyers and Physicians—Clovis, his Idea of Christian Duty-Punishment Physicians were liable to-Theriacum-Orthodox Medicine.
THE History of the Art of Medicine has hitherto flowed along a single channel. We have traced it from its source in cloud-capped Olympus, the habitation of the gods of Greece ; we have watched it loitering in primitive purity about the temples of Æsculapius, till it found its westward way to Rome; where, polluted by the filth of that vicious metropolis, we have seen it converted into a stagnant pool. Here it loses its simple character; like the rest of human
; history, it becomes broken up; it is no longer a continuity, but a succession of complications for it enters the revolution of a thousand years' duration, a millennium of troubles and sorrows such as the world never before endured. The whole period was one of gestation, with premature efforts at production ; until, after incredible throes and pangs, it ended in the birth of modern Europe—the Hercules of these days, or rather the Vulcan, who, with his incessant steam-hammer, goes on his irresistible path of conquest, subduing the whole earth and binding it in iron fetters.
Of the multitude of complex forces which resulted in modern art and science, there were four which especially affected medicine :
1st. The Church.
I. By the word Church, we understand not only a new form of thought and emotion, but a political organization of enormous power. It presents itself to us in several aspects, in some of which it aided, while in others it impeded, the legitimate and healthy development of medicine. We have already adverted, in the preceding chapter, to the inconveniences which a physician must have experienced when living and practising in an age of miracles. So far from abating after the times of the original apostles, this evil increased with the diffusion of Christianity to an enormous extent. We cannot see that it is such an easy thing as some would make it, to decide, at this distance, between true and false miracles.
For example, what shall we make of the following ? "About this time two great miracles were wrought at Hippo, in the presence of St. Augustin, in the persons of a brother and sister, named Paula and Pallida, natives of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, who were afflicted with excessive trembling in all their limbs. After long wanderings, which had spread the report of their misery in various places, they came at last to Hippo, about fifteen days before Easter, and as is supposed in the year 425. They daily visited the church, and in the place where St. Stephen's relics (some blood and bones) had been deposited, which had been brought there about a year
The unavoidable result of once admitting the unknown and unknowable power of preternatural forces into the practice of medicine is irrationality and extravagance; and, even in the present day, a special reference to the inevitable evil of such a proceeding is not altogether out of place.
The Church, considered as an embodiment of belief in the preternatural, was in its operation purely antagonistic to the development of the science as well as the art of medicine. It made the accumulation of data for scientific purposes difficult, if not impossible, and it superseded the necessity of the practice of the art. We must use other words when we regard the Church as a great organization. In this aspect it afforded essential aid, both to medical art and science. The monk is so out of place in the present day, that it is difficult for us to realize a state of matters in which he could be anything else. But when we reflect upon the condition of Europe during the first ten centuries of the Christian era; when we read its history and find a battle in every page and such battles !_not fought for victory and the restoration of the balance of power, but in which nation encounters nation for the purpose of mutual extermination, the frequent issue being the extinction of the vanquished, which disappears like a ship sunk at sea, never to be seen again ; when we contemplate this succession of sanguinary conflicts, literally occupying the whole theatre of history, we cannot be surprised that it should have occurred to men of sane mind that there was no chance of living a holy life in such a world; and that to do so they must withdraw from the tumult into strict seclusion, and dedicate their time to meditation, prayer, and acts of charity and benevolence. For, at this period, mercy in the battle-field was almost unknown. Slaughter or slavery were the only alternatives left to the conquered. Here the office of the holy man, who was known not to