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book of Exodus, we may presume that they were no mean proficients in deluding the senses; and probably had their metallic tractors, their tarantula dances, their animal magnetism and their touching for evil, in as much repute as the moderns.
Herodotus observes that each disease had its peculiar class of practitioners, as dentists,* aurists, chiropodists, doctors in gout, and doctors in calculous disease, and doctors in cutaneous eruptions ; the Scudamores, and Batemans, and Curtis's of the children of Cush; and that these separate occupations were transmitted from father to son, as they are in Persia, and in other parts of the East ; so that we may presume that any travelling gentleman who has accidently found himself in Persia, and thereby acquired a title to the Travellers' Club; and who has had the pleasure of being bled, bathed, kneaded, and trimmed by the professors at Ispahan or Tabriz, may form a not inaccurate notion of their learned predecessors under the dynasty of Osymandyas. Of their profound knowledge of anatomy we have an indisputable proof :
:-one of their observations is, that there is a particular nerve that goes from the heart to the little finger of the left hand : for which reason, the Egyptians always wore rings on that finger, and dipped it in perfumed ointment. The other is, that it is impossible a man can live more than a hundred years, because there is a constant increase and diminution of the hearts of all sound persons, whereby their age can be judged. The heart of an infant weighed ten drachms, this weight increased annually by two drachms a year, till they came to the age of fifty: from which time it gradually decreased till they came to an hundred; when for want of a heart, they necessarily died.
If however the Egyptians were not very skilful in assisting the living, we must own that they proved themselves to be beyond any hopes of rivalry, most cunning artists in the preservation of the dead. The beauty, delicacy, and duration of their embalming processes, still claims the admiration of all. In thus giving to death the semblance of life,+ and robbing him of half his prey, theology and surgery went hand in hand. the creed of the children of Misraim, that the body was not doomed to be destroyed or dissolved, or to lose its spiritual tenant, when this transitory dream of threescore years liad passed away : but that it was to be renewed in other states, and for immeasurable periods of remote existence. Thus every possible art was employed in preventing the elements of decay from reaching it ; in fighting against the rat, and the worm, and the beetle ; in preserving it from the humid breath of the Nile, in its cedar-cases and rock-hewn sepulchres; and in rendering it impassable to the attacks of
*. It is generally considered as a whimsical circumstance, that the Egyptians should have had particular physicians for different disorders, even for the tooth-ache, to which they were subject from chewing green-sugar-canes.'—Pauw on the Egyptians.
+ See a curious passage on this subject, quoted from Herodotus by that entertaining but rash writer De Pauw, in his history of the Egyptians and Chinese, i. p. 44. Alas ! the history of modern times (see different Memoirs of the French Revolution) has rendered little doubtful the enormities hinted at by the father of history. The time necessary for the process of embalming a body was seventy days.
I On the opinion of the Egyptians concerning the future state of the soul, much information will be found in Mosheim's notes to Cudworth's Intellectual System, cap. iv. That the former body, after death, should be resumed, was an undisputed tenet of belief. Suicides were assisted by the ceremony of oscillation in passing the Styx. Small figures were suspended with cords, and kept in swinging motion, to help them over a traject they had made more difficult.
time itself.* Thus beautifully re-adjusted to the appearance of life, rendered fragrant with all the gums and odorous spices of Arabia, frankincense, and balın and myrrh ; its form, its features preserved : dressed in costliest garments, and enthroned in chambers of regal magnificence, and more than rivalling its habitation upon earth ; a pious and credulous superstition fondly believed that it enjoyed the glories of its renewed existence; and that it would have been a cruelty too horrible to think of, that would have neglected to provide for the translated being all that piety could imagine of an angust abode.The Roman poet goes so far as to hint, that even in social life, and round the domestic hearth, no difference was acknowledged between the living and the dead :
Of the medical knowledge of the Israelites little is known. In the writings of Moses are various allusions to the practice of Medicine, chiefly as regards the treatment of that national disease, the leprosy. To promote cleanliness and prevent contagion, seem to have been the chief objects of the simple yet severe legislation on the subject. Dirt and filth may accumulate with impunity in the suburbs of Amsterdam, or the crowded lanes of Hamburgh and London; but under the burning sun of Arabia, or in the hot valleys of Judæa, contagious pestilence and frightful disease would be produced : hence perhaps the origin of the rite of circumcision, and of the abstinence from the flesh of particular animals that are heating and indigestible. Well and wisely did the great Lawgirer issue his code of prohibitions and indulgences, which, for the most part, the taste, and perhaps the prudence of after ages, has approved. These which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls, they shall not be eaton, they are an aboinination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, and the vulture, and the kite, and every raven after his kind,
and the owl, and the night-hawk, and the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl. And these shall be unclean among the creeping things that creep upon the earth ; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind, and the ferret, † and the chamelion, and the lizard, and the snail, and the mole ; these are unclean among all that creep.'
* The author of this note has in his possession some hair that belonged to a female who was taken from the most ancient catacombs of Thebes, and therefore might probably be more than three thousand years old. It is perfect in its preservation. The lily-root too of the same age, found in the hand of a mummy, is now growing in England.
† Manetho says that one of the kings of Egypt wrote a book on anatomy, or more probably the art of dissecting for the purpose of embalming. it is said that this art continued till the time of Theodosius. Dion Cassius relates, that Augustus disfigured the mummy of Alexander the Great, because he touched the nose precisely on the place where the cartilage had been taken away by the embalmers.
The Chinese are the greatest epicures, as regards unclean animals, of any civil. ized nation. Rats, bats, screech-owls, eagles, hawks, cats, badgers, and dogs, are seen boiled and stewed on the Celestial tables. Dogs are eaten in hot weather for their cooling quality; (see Brand's Reise nach China, and others) we suppose when the dogstar rages. Yet this culinary fare may be considered as one step to future improvement; for in the eighth century, if we may believe the Abbé Renaudot, the Chinese were Anthropophagi! and would certainly have eaten up Lord Napier, and brought to table our ambassadors, envoys, commissaries, and such small deer,' instead of keep
In the porch of the temple of Jerusalem, a complete formulary of remedies was exhibited, of which Solomon was said to be the author. The sect of the Essenes in particular cultivated medicine, as they were also celebrated for their pure and mild system of morality; they were called Depaneiral, or healers and physicians, and they had the reputation of being able to work miracles. Ainong the Assyrians and Chaldæans the favourite science of astronomy was called in to assist Medicine ; but that the stars were not strong enough to throw any light on the healing art, we may presume, from what Herodotus says, that the sick at Babylon were stationed in places of public resort, and remained exposed for the inspection of passengers, who were requested to furnish them with their advice, or rather every one was obliged to give some advice about each disease. The account of this practice seems to resemble much that of another great and ancient oriental nation. * The purple fever,' says an old traveller, ‘ is a disease very dangerous in Europe, but few die of it in Tonquin : for the Tonquinese treat it in the following manner. They take the pitch of a certain reed, dip it in oil, and apply it successively to all the spots on the body. The flesh then bursts with a report as loud as a pistol : and after the corrupted blood has been squeezed out, they finish the cure by rubbing the wounds with ginger.'
The ancient kings of Greece seem to have considered Medicine as an art not below the dignity of the monarch; and so kings became its nursingfathers, and queens its nursing mothers. Illustrious are the names that appear in the original College of Physicians ! Besides Æsculapius, who with his two sons, Machaon and Podalyrius, was a successful practitioner there was Chiron, whose visits (always on horseback) shewed the extent of his practice, Aristæus, Theseus, Telamon, Teucer, Patroclus, Ulysses, and other heroes, who were humanely employed in endeavouring to cure the wounds which they had previously inflicted. The poets also were employed in putting the best prescriptions into metre, for their better recollection. Linus, Orpheus, and Musæus sang of that beneficent art, which prolongs life, allays pain, and along with health restores happiness and pleasure. Hesiod, in his Works and Days, lays down soine diætetic rules ; and a most competent judge has pronounced that Homer's method of dressing wounds showed great science. What he says of the Nepenthe shows that the use of narcotics was known; of the virtues of that powerful plant the Moly we are ignorant; but Circe seems to have entertained as great an aversion to it, as the Italian ladies do to nosegays or perfumes. At the siege of Troy nothing appears to have been done without the assistance of Bacchus. Whether the warriors went to battle or returned, sick or well, wounded or whole, before council and after, at breakfast or at supper, wine was their invariable companion. Even their wounds were bathed with wine; and incision and scarification were also practiced. Pliny is surprised that Homer has not mentioned warm baths, and hence concludes that he was ignorant of the use of them: but Philostratus is of the contrary opinion : indeed, it is not probable, that where there were hot rivers there should not be tepid baths ; and he says the hot baths of Jonia, situated near Smyrna, were called the baths of Agamemnon. In Greece, Medicine was cultivated in the temples; and that of Æsculapius at length gained the ascendancy over
ing a table for them. The Mandarins are allowed a different diet, which a Darteneuf or a Curtis would not have despised; swallows' nests, tendons of deer, fins of sharks, feet of bears, Molucca mushrooms, and swalofs! Such are the privileges of nobility.
its rivals. In one important branch of the practice of their art, the priests seem to have excelled the practitioners of modern days. They always took their fee before they gave advice :-though indeed Æsculapius has always been a wise and provident god, and taken good care of his ministers. The patient laid his gifts on the altar ; and was then put to bed on a ram-skin rug, which had the power of inducing celestial visions! When he was supposed to be asleep, the priest, clothed like Æsculapius, with some young females, who passed for his daughters, but were in fact actresses and figurantes educated for the purpose, entered and informed the persons of their complaint, and the method of cure. The most celebrated of these temples were those of Epidaurus, Pergamus, Cos, and Cnidus. Cnidus gave birth to Euryphron, who published the Cnidian Sentences; and from Cos proceeded the true father of rational physic—the wise, the humane, the virtuous Hippocrates.
When the delusions of priestcraft were discovered, and the power of the Asclepiadæ destroyed, the philosophers, who began to flourish about the sixth century, took the vacant chair of Medicine, and certainly rescued it from sacerdotal ignorance and imposture ; but as each had his own favourite theory, to that the laws of the healing art were bound. Pythagoras referred the formation of diseases and the laws of nature to the power of numbers. He and his followers believed, that they had discovered in different operations of nature that order which numbers must follow, in order to produce their recurrence at stated intervals. Democritus referred them to the figure and position of the atoms of matter. Heraclitus shewed how they were modified by the creative fire of the universe. These hypotheses extended to the evolution of matter, the origin of diseases, and the changes achieved by death. Empedocles supposed the muscles were composed of the four elements in four equal parts, and that the nerves, when cooled by the external air, become the nails; that tears arose from a fusion of blood, and the bones from a mixture of earth and water. Eudoxus, Epicharnus, and others, adopted the opinions of the Italian School, founded by Pytha. goras. Among them all, no name stood so high as that of Acron of Agrigentum in Sicily? He has been called the father of empirics, as rejecting all theories and system ; he founded Medicine on experience alone ; and reduced all reasonings to the appreciation of different symptoms, and to the discovery of analogies. Such were the respective changes which Medicine underwent in the early periods of its history. Placed at first,' as an elegant and philosophical writer expresses himself, in the hands of the poets, it exhibited only an assemblage of beautiful images or refined sentiments; while in the hands of the priests, it adopted the vague language and mysterious tone of superstition; and in the hands of these primitive philosophers, its scattered, confused, and indigested materials were combined, and formed into more or less regular and more or less perfect systems. But it usurped the principles of many other sciences, which were themselves but in a crude state; it shared in their errors, which proved the more injurious to it, as these sciences, for the most part, had little connexion with it. We may even venture to assert, that it made the complete round of the false systems which prevailed in the different branches of human knowledge, and which succeeded each other by turns.' At length, in the eightieth olympia, and in the little island of Cos, Hippocrates * appeared.
* Dr. Bostock's account of the medical logic and practice of this great physician, is written with taste and judgment, p. 28, &c.
His father was a physician ; and indeed Medicine had been in the hands of his family for seventeen generations. Surrounded,' says Cabanis, 'from infancy with all the objects of his studies ; instructed in eloquence and philosophy by the most celebrated masters. having his mind enriched with the largest collection of observations which could at that time have existed ; and endowed, in fine, by nature with a genius which was at once penetrating and comprehensive, bold and prudent,-he commenced his career under the most favourable auspices, and pursued it during a period of more than eighty years, with that degree of renown which was equally due to bis talents and to the greatness of his virtuous character.'
The period in which a man of genius appears is of the utmost importance; as it may either give that genius room to expand, or stifle it in ignorance and superstition; it may become a splendid but useless gift, or it may be an invaluable possession, as time and circumstance allow. Many were the advantages which surrounded the pupil of Cos, when he first applied the powers of his genius to the purpose of diminishing the evils which afflict humanity. Euryphron had published his Cnidian Sentences; Herodicus had revived gymnastic Medicine ; the usual diseases were observed, and general remedies ascertained. Venesection, emetics, cathartics, bathing, operating with the knife, and cautery, were familiarly practised ; and although false theories, and the influence of superstition, retarded the progress of truth and the improvement of science, yet a marked advance in knowledge was visible, and the dawn of a clearer day began to brighten on the rising science, when Hippocrates appeared to raise the Coan School to a lasting and undeniable pre-eminence over all its rivals. His first advantage, besides being in the seventeenth degree the lineal descendant of Esculapius, he derived from having been born amid the future object of his studies, and being familiar from his cradle with materials that were to exercise his future judgment. From his parents he received the elementary notions of medical science ; by viewing diseases
; he learned to distinguish them, and the virtues and uses of Medicine became familiar to him.
Hippocrates was born one of the few favourites of Nature ; and his parent smiled when she bestowed on him some of her choicest gifts. He was endowed equally with soundness and temperance of judgment, and those inventive powers which mark the genius of the possessor, which anticipate the judgments, and appear almost to claim the discoveries of posterity. He brought the science back into the natural channel of rational experience; freed it from false systems, founded it upon a solid basis, and made it, as he says-philosophical. His true method of reasoning is developed in his History of Epidemics * and Book of Aphorisms. The former contains descriptions of the most severe diseases, and affords rules for judging and discriminating them. The latter has been regarded as a model of grandeur of conception, and precision of style. The true path of improvement and discovery was now found; observations were collected and preserved ; deductions were formed from facts into general rules ; and the true analytical philosophy was employed, by which new ideas were developed, and comprehensive views of science opened. In fact, a habit of
We wonder that no one who has mentioned the writings of Hippocrates has remarked how entertaining as well as instructive is the treatise of Emidnuwe. It throws light on the domestic habits of the Greeks; and in the names, situations, and residence of the patients it gives such spirit and liveliness to the descriptions, that the nonprofessional reader will peruse it with pleasure. Gent. Mag. Vol. IV.