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division, there is a specification of its “qualities," as hot or cold, and its appropriateness, accordingly, for cold or hot disorders. For example, the article Iris consists of a list of synonyms, next a description of the sword-like leaf, the variegated flower from which it derives its name, the root and other parts of the plant; then follow directions for its use, derived from its being of a warming character, and therefore fitted to relieve coughs and to attenuate humours difficult to get rid of."

The characteristic features of the Therapeutics of these fifteen centuries were these: medicines were selected in accordance with purely arbitrary assumptions of their being in their nature either hot or cold, or moist or dry, and the confidence in a composition was, for the most part, in direct ratio to the number, variety, and what we may call, the out-of-the-wayness of its ingredients. The more difficult any substance was to get, the more good it was sure to do. Like barbaric kings, the trust of physicians was in the multitude of their forces, however motley, confused, and unknown. One of the most favourite of their preparations, which went by the name of Theriacum, was composed of the following substances :-Squills, hedychroum, cinnamon, common pepper, juice of poppies, dried roses, water-germander, rape seed, Illyrian iris, agaric, liquorice, opobalsam, myrrh, saffron, ginger, rhaponticum, cinquefoil, calamint, horehound, stone-parsley, cassidony costus, white and long pepper, dittany, flowers of sweet rush, male frankincense, turpentine, mastich, black cassia, spikenard, flowers of poley, storax, parsley seed, seseli, shepherd's pouch, bishop's weed, germander, ground pine, juice of hypocistis, Indian leaf, Celtic nard, spignel, gentian, anise, fennel-seed, Lemnian earth, roasted chalcitis, amomum, sweet flag, balsamum, Pontic valeriam, St. John's wort, acacia, gum, cardamom, carrot seed, galbanum, saga

1 Pedaccii Dioscoridæ Anazarbei de Materia Medica, Lib. V. Colon. 1529.

A.D. 200-1200.)



pen bitumen, oposonax, castor, centaury, clematis, Attic honey, and Falernian wine. Sixty-six ingredients composed this mixture, and with the exception of the last, we may safely affirm that the physicians who prescribed it, were entirely ignorant of the effects of any one of them, either taken by those in health, or given to the sick. The reputed virtues of this compound were commensurate with its multifariousness.

1st. It was to be taken twice a-day for seven years, by those bitten by venomous animals, or who had taken poison.

2nd. It was to be taken by people in a dangerous state from some obscure cause resembling poisoning.

3rd. For coughs and pains in the chest. 4th. In Hæmoptysis. 5th. For flatulence, tormina, and celiac affections. 6th. It removes rigors, coldness, and vomiting of bile. 7th. It promotes menstruation. 8th. For loss of voice. 9th. For diseases of the liver. 10th. For diseases of the spleen. 11th. For cancerous affections of these organs. 12th. For nephritic complaints. 13th. For dysenteric attacks. 14th. For dimness of vision.

15th. It is also used as a dentifrice, and many take it at new moon after digestion, for the sake of prophylaxis.'

This is a fair specimen of the compound remedies in ordinary use at the time of which we speak; and in proportion as physicians confided in these, did they distrust the simple powerful substances which may be said to form the staple of the medicine of to-day. Of mercury, a substance as important in the practice of modern medicine as gunpowder in modern warfare, and as destructive, Paulus

| Paul. Ægin. Vol. III., p. 511.

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Ægineta says, that “when swallowed, it brings on the same symptoms as litharge, and the same remedies are to be used in this case. Avicenna says, that “Mercury which has been killed (that is, oxidated) or sublimated, (that is to say, attenuated,) produces grave symptoms, such as pain of

, the bowels, bloody flux, and so forth.” 2

We may sum up the history of this period in a few words : it took its Psychology, Physiology, and Anatomy, from Aristotle as represented by Galen and Avicenna, its theories of the practice of physic from Galen, and its Materia Medica from Dioscorides.

Let us remember that this is orthodox medicine. This is the only system which can put forward a claim to be tried by the great rule of Catholic faith, “Quod semper, quod ubique, et quod ab omnibus traditum est."

It was semper, that is, it endured for fifteen hundred years ; it was ubique, it extended from the wall of China to the western shores of Spain; it was ab omnibus traditum, in so far, that where the greatest of Galen's successors ventures in the mildest way to differ on the most insignificant point from the sovereigns of medicine, this difference is picked out by modern historians as a feat of heroic independence; was, besides, the system of legal authority in the Roman provinces, any controversion of it entailing most serious penalties. The systems which have sprung up since are of mushroom growth. Not one of them has had the slightest pretension to any one of the three requisites of Catholic orthodoxy. So far from having been always believed in, a new one has displaced its predecessor before the latter had obtained the prescriptive right of a generation of believers, and this new one has had to give way to its successor, after even a shorter reign. As for the ubique, that generally meant one school, or at the most, one country,-- never the whole civilized world ; and the term omnibus is more

| Paulus Ægineta, Vol. II., p. 238. ? Ibid., Lib. IV., p. 112.

A.D. 200-1200.]



appropriate to the vehicle that goes by that name, than to any recent system of medicine. If we adhere to orthodoxy, we must accept Galen and his temperaments, Dioscorides and his Theriacs; these are irreconcilable with modern ideas: if, on the other hand, we accept progress, then we must say farewell to Orthodoxy.

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