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still extant a work long popular as a text-book in the schools, and written after the manner of Galen's treatise, "De Usu Partium." In this work, medicine,, philosophy, and morality are intermingled. In its chapter on the pulse, some critics have imagined they could discern the first intimation of Harvey's great discovery, the circulation of the blood. The worth of their opinion may be readily inferred from the following passage; which it must be admitted is a clearer exposition of the subject, and nearer the truth, than any similar passage that can be cited from Galen or Aristotle: "The movement of the pulse, which is a vital function, has its origin in the heart, especially in the left ventricle, which is called Spirabilis, and which imparts the innate vital heat through the arteries to every part of the body, in the same manner as the liver through the veins imparts nourishment." The pathology of fever advanced by Nemesius is deduced from his theory of innate heat, and is evidently borrowed from Galen.
The assumption of the duties of the medical profession by the clergy, was effected at a comparatively early period in the western portion of the empire, and was nearly complete, excepting in some of the larger cities, especially of Italy. But though it began also early in the East, it does not appear ever to have been so thorough there. The Perabolani of Alexandria, who seem to have ranked between the uneducated nurse and the clerical physician, became so troublesome by their numbers and their turbulent habits, that they were disbanded by their
superiors. The regular teaching of medicine in that city, as well as the business of general instruc tion there, passed, after the reign of Theodosius, directly into the hands of lay professors of the Christian faith, The school of medicine at Alexandria, continued to flourish, though with waning luster; and from it issued most of the medical writers whose works remain to be noticed among the later of the ancient classics.
The first practitioner worthy of notice, after Oribasius, was Jacob Psychrestus, who flourished at Constantinople during the reign of Leo the Great, which extended from A. D. 457 to 474. He is not known as a writer, but he is mentioned by Alexander Trallianus* as a practitioner of consummate ability. He was educated under his father, Hesychius, at Alexandria., He officiated as Archiater under Leo, and was held in high estimation by the Senate, who decreed him a statue, which was raised to his honor in the Baths of Zeuxippus; and another was still existing at Athens as late as the reign of Justinian.+
The Last of the Ancient Latins.
Before again returning to the classical medical writers of the Eastern empire, not knowing where else to speak of the only remaining Latin pagan writer of the profession after the time of Oribasius, I must here briefly notice the hexameter poem "De Viribus Herbarum," by Macer Floridus. M. Bau
* Lib. v. cap. iv.
Freind, vol. i.
Par M. Louis Baudet (professeur). Paris, 8vo. 1845.
det, I am aware, is disposed to class this work among the literary performances of the ninth century. But the name of Strabus, which he finds in it, and upon which he founds this opinion under the presumption that it refers to Walafride Strabo, a German ecclesiastical writer of that age, is no proof that the author of this poem flourished at so recent a period; since the name Strabo, as given in the poem, is quite as applicable to the ancient geog rapher, or to any other ancient author who, like him, may have received this appellation from the accidental disfigurement of a strabismus. Emilius Macer, a contemporary of Ovid, was also the author of a medical poem on birds, serpents, and plants. And according to the theory of M. Baudet, the author of the work "De Viribus Herbarum," whose real name is said to have been Odobonus, adopted the name of this ancient writer in order to give greater repute to his own performance.* But the first lines of the poem in question introduce the ancient mythology, and could hardly have been written by any of the Christian monks of the ninth century, when literature was at its lowest ebb among the Latins, and when the name of Emilius Macer was perhaps as little known to the medical profession of western Europe as if he had never existed.
The style, versification, and language of this poem are above mediocrity, and are in imitation of Serenus Sammonicus.
It begins by recogniz ing Diana, the Artemis of the Greeks, among the divinities of medicine. It is divided into seventy
*See, also, Le Clerc, p. 560.
seven sections, each of which is devoted to the medical virtues of some particular plant. The interest, however, assigned to this' performance at the present day, is in its display of learning. Macer Floridus, says M. Baudet, introduced among us the knowledge of the Greeks and Romans in natural history and practical medicine; and he supplies us with many curious and useful documents, not only on his own art, but also on the manners and domestic usages of the ancients. To this commendation may here be added, that he is the earliest of the Latin writers to speak of Galen, or as he calls him, Galienus. He cites Hippocrates, Diocles, Chrysippus, Dioscorides, Themison, Strabo, Apollodorus, Menemachus, Oribasius, the elder Cato,. Sextus Niger, Pliny, and the obscurer names of Anaxilaus and Melicius. He alludes occasionally to the efficacy of charms, but he is free from the grosser superstitions of the monks of the middle ages; and with the exception of the word "frater," which he once employs as a term of address, we could hardly suspect him to have been acquainted with the institutions of. Christianity.
Aëtius of Amida in Mesopotamia, a learned physician of the Christian faith, is supposed to have flourished about the middle of the sixth century. After completing his education, he settled in Constantinople, where he rose to the dignity of archiater at the imperial court, with the honorary title of
colonel of the imperial guard. We are indebted to him for a voluminous compilation on the art of medicine, mostly copied from the writings of his predecessors, but interspersed with original observations, and often presenting the opinions of earlier authors so condensed and well expressed as to be clearer than the originals. This work was at first prepared in sixteen distinet discourses, which have since been arranged into four books of four discourses each. Of these discourses, the first treats of medicinal plants and their pharmaceutical preparation; the second, of such medicines as are not of vegetable origin; the third, a somewhat confused medley of miscellaneous subjects, treats mostly of the influence of air, exercise, climate, locality, waters. The fourth treats of the management of children, of the humors and temperaments, and their signs. The fifth discourse, or the first of the second book, treats of the signs of disease, prognostic and diagnostic; of fevers and their management; and of other constitutional affections. The sixth discourse, and the others to the end of the twelfth, are devoted to the consideration of local diseases from head to foot; the thirteenth treats of the bites and stings of animals, including poisoned wounds.. Here also, lepra and certain other diseases affecting the skin, are introduced. The fourteenth discourse is occupied with diseases merely of a surgical character, affecting the groin, perineum, and organs of gen
*Etii Medici Græci Contractæ ex Veteribus Medicine Tetrabiblos; id est, libri universales quatuor, singuli quatuor sermones complectentes. Per Janum Cornarium Latine conscripti. In the collection of Stephanus. Venice, 1567.