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Esculapius. By the serpent, the Asclepiada are supposed to have symbolized circumspection and vigilance, and as Schulze supposes, the power of rejuvenescence; by the cock, their bird of sacrifice, they are thought also to have represented vigilance; and by the dog, fidelity and honesty. The Egyptian symbols of Serapis, or of Isis and Osiris, and the infant Harpocrates, were occasionally associated with the emblems more properly belonging to the Greeks-a custom adopted after the settlement of Alexandria. For it was a belief among the Ægyp tians, that infants had at times the power of divination; and in the sacred ceremonies of their temples, the sports and gambols of young children were often introduced.* But in the temples of Isis and Osiris the genius of medicine was sometimes also represented by the figure of Silence. "Et quoniam vero in omnibus templis ubi colebantur Isis et Serapis erat etiam simulacrum quod, digito labiis impresso, admovere videretur ut silentium fieret; hoc significere, ut homines illós fuisse taceretur."+
The Asclepions, however, were not the only temples to which the Greeks resorted for relief from sickness. The temples of Apollo, and of the other gods, were also open to them, but only as places for consulting the gods; not, as at the Asclepions, to be subjected to treatment.
4. It is supposed that the priests of Esculapius,
* Schulze (on the authority of Plutarch and others), p. 126.
+ Ibid (from St. Augustine), p. 126.
Herodotus, lib. i. c. 16 and 25; and Xenophon, Memoir of Socrates, book iii, chapter 13. N. Y. edition, p. 576.
in the exercise of their art, were originally restricted to these institutions. If such ever were the rule, it must have soon been set aside, or often disregarded.. Hippocrates and his disciples practiced as periodeutæ, or itinerants, in different parts of Greece. Apollonides of Cos, practiced at the court of the elder Artaxerxes. Euryphon, of Cnidos, in consultation with Hippocrates, attended Perdiccas, son of Alexander, king of Macedon.+ Euryximachus is introduced by Plato, among the friends of Socrates, as one of the wits and men of learning of his time; and at the banquet is made to descant upon the doctrines of his 'profession, to enforce the virtue of temperance in the use of wine, and, at table, to prescribe for the sudden illness of Aristophanes. Again, we learn from Xenophon,§. that by the laws of Lycurgus, the Lacedæmonian physicians were 'obliged to accompany the army, to associate with the officers, sooth-sayers, and musicians; and, to be at the immediate service of the king on the battlefield. Xenophon himself, in the memorable expedition into Persia, was accompanied by Ctesias of Cnidos, who, on the defeat of the younger Cyrus, was taken prisoner, and who subsequently rose to great distinction as physician to the court of Persia; and more so as the historian of that country. In fur
* Le Clerc, Histoire de la Medecine. Lib. ii. chap. 7, from Ctesias. Soranus, in his Life of Hippocrates. See Kuhn's Hippocrates, vol. iii.
See the Protagoras and Banquet of Plato, Bohn's edition, vol. ii. p. 244, and vol. iii. p. 482-500.
§ Lacedæmonian Republic, chapter xiii. See also, Memoir of Socrates, book i. chapter ii., N. Y. edition, p. 527-8.
ther evidence of the unrestricted freedom of the Asclepiade, we learn from the Laws of Plato,* that there are some persons physicians, and others the ministers of physicians, who are sometimes also called physicians. "Do you not perceive," he adds, "that when there are both slaves and freemen sick. in the cities, the slaves do for the most part go round and cure the slaves, or remain at home in the medical shops; and that not one of these slave-physicians either gives or receives any reason respecting the diseases of the slaves; but as if knowing accur ately from experience, he orders as if he were a self. willed tyrant, what seems good to him, and then goes away, bounding off from one sick domestic to another; and by this means, he affords a facility to his master to attend to other patients? But the free-born physician for the most part attends to, and reflects upon the diseases of the free-born; and by ' exploring these from the beginning, and according to nature, *** does at the same time learn something from, and, as far as he can, teach something to, the sick; and does not order any thing until persuaded of its propriety; and then, after rendering the patient gentle by persuasion, he endeavors to finish the business by bringing him back to health.”
It has also been stated that the Asclepiade were first induced to leave the temples by the success of the Pythagorean physicians after the breaking up of their school, and their expulsion from Crotona.
The story of Democedes, already related, has a direct bearing upon this point, and is sufficient, of
* Book iv., c. x.
itself, to show that prior to the dispersal of the Pythagoreans, the cities of Greece were supplied with practitioners who were visiting the sick at their own abodes.
Thus, then, long before the age of Pericles, even before the Persian war, the medical men of Greece were acquiring a knowledge of their art at the schools of philosophy, and at the exercises of the gymnasia, as well as at the temples; and were practicing as private individuals, as stipendaries at the royal courts, or as public functionaries with stated salaries, appointed by the people; sometimes in the army, sometimes in the fleet; liberally rewarded, and held in high repute. The custom in the cities of stipulating annually for the public services of medical. men, is a fact worthy of notice. Plato in the "Statesman," and elsewhere, alludes to it. And his commentator remarks, that from numerous passages in this author, as well as from others in the writings of Xenophon, Aristotle, Strabo, and the scholiasts, it is evident there were at Athens a body of medical men who were paid by the state, as well as others who were engaged in private practice.*
* Burgess, in Plato. Bohn's edition, vol. iii. p. 192.
THE Course of education among the Asclepiada, was in conformity with the national habits. The youth who were destined for the profession, if not the sons of the initiated, were probably not allowed to begin until after the completion of their preparatory education, from their seventeenth to the twentieth year. But the sons of physicians began earlier, and, with both, the course of training probably continued to the close of their twenty-fifth year.
The neophyte was, inducted into his art with all the secrecy and exclusiveness which, from the remotest ages, had prevailed among the handicraft as-. sociations, the religious orders, and, at a later period, in the political clubs, and even in the schools of philosophy. For, as at Athens, so in all the other states, these unions, mysteries, or secret associations, were innumerable. Some of them were for charitable purposes, some of them for traffic, some for the cultivation of knowledge; and some, as among our-.. selves, were secret organizations for controlling the affairs of the people. The ceremony of initiation into them, varied somewhat with the character and object of each; but from the few hints preserved respecting them, there is reason to believe that in all of them it was modeled, as nearly as possible, after that of the Eleusinian and Dionysian Mysteries.