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rienced physician. Having conformed to this curriculum, and being provided with certificates as to birth, age, &c., he was permitted to present himself for examination at the Medical College of Salernum.
This examination was conducted publicly in selections from the works of Hippocrates, Galen, and Avicenna; and, if passed satisfactorily, conferred on the candidate the title of Master—" Magister." He might also proceed to a further examination in selections from the works of Aristotle; and, if successful in this, he took the title of “ Magister Artium et Physices.” Thus, having obtained his diploma, his status was confirmed by Royal authority, and he was proclaimed a legally constituted physician, in which character he was obliged to swear to obey the rules of the society, to apprise the authorities if the apothecary adulterated medicines, and to treat the poor gratuitously. Then a book was put in his hand, a ring on his finger, his head was crowned with laurel, and he was dismissed with a kiss.
There were, besides the above, many wise regulations and statutes further defining the physician's office; and a tariff was fixed, whereby the great temptation to follow the monkish practices of extortion was opposed. Every physician was obliged to visit his patient twice in the day, and once in the night, if necessary; for which no more than a certain prescribed fee could be demanded. *
* Sprengel, tom. ii, p. 364.
The regulations respecting the apothecary were equally stringent, as will be seen in considering the second proposition.
Such was the commencement of legislation in medicine, at the dawn of our emergence from the dark ages, which laws were confirmed as late as 1365, by the Queen Joanna of Naples. The school of Salernum, having thus set the example, was, in the course of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, by the revolutions of states, and by the establishment of other schools, as that of Montpellier, Paris, Bologna, and Padua, gradually eclipsed, so that Petrarch declares it in his time to have lost its former celebrity.* It was in these revival schools, extending from Salernum in the eleventh to Padua in the sixteenth century, that the truths of the Grecian, Roman, and Arabic schools were preserved, and even conveyed to the College of Physicians of England, by Harvey, in the seventeenth century.t
It remains only to consider the last authority concerning medicine, or rather its corruptions, during the dark ages ; viz., that of THE PRIESTS AND MONKS, who were almost exclusively the physicians of Europe. It is well known, that during this period the Jews practised medicine, by the aid of copies of the ancient authors, which they are said to have preserved and studied. They no doubt merited the patronage bestowed on them by some crowned heads, and other men of rank and influence who were bold enough to seek their aid, in spite of the Church's commands. Yet, were they for the most part subjected to persecutions-alas ! too common
* “Fuisse Salerni medicinæ fontem fama est : sed nihil est quod non senio exarescat.” Ibid., p. 366.
+ See Chart.
- from these so-called Christians. By intriguing with Popes and Councils, it was enacted in the canon law that no Jew could be a physician, and formal excommunication was obtainable against those who sought their aid. These laws were stringently enforced against offenders, unless they were strong enough by their position to resist such anathemas and prohibitions. It may be gleaned, from various sources, that their principles and practice were of a far higher order than that of their rivals and persecutors; but, in common with all other sources of light and truth, the records of their practice were trampled under foot and destroyed, in order more surely to build up the authority of bigotry and superstition.
From about the seventh to the twelfth century, the priests and monks may be said to have held an undivided sway as physicians throughout Europe ; and what is the testimony they afford concerning any division of the physician's office during this time? With them, as with all previous nations and ages, the “ars medendi ” was one, and medicine preserved its unity even here as elsewhere.
Volumes might easily be filled with the recorded
miracles performed WITAIN their monasteries and convents on those cases of external wounds, injuries, and diseases which were so soon to be separated from the physician's care.
“In the eighth century the Romans cut out the tongue of Pope Leo the Third, and put out his eyes, and drove him from his see, and soon afterwards, God helping, he was able to see and speak, and again was Pope as he before was."* In the eleventh century Pope Victor the Third, celebrated for his skill in music and medicine, wrote four books on the miraculous cures effected by St. Benedict alone, whose operations were thus performed. At the commencement of this century, the Emperor Henry the Second resorted to Monte-Casino to be cured of stone. During his sleept St. Benedict appeared to him, performed the operation, placed the stone in his hand, and cicatrized the wound. I Such was, indeed, a most convenient mode of practice, as long as men's credulity was sufficient to believe themselves or others thus afflicted, and thus relieved ; but hitherto their senses, as well as their reason, had been in servile subjection to authority. Men believed not the one more than they exercised the other.
* · Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Bohn's edition, p. 344.
of How similar such a mode of practice to that of the priests of Æsculapius of old, or to the more modern schools of mesmerists, with whom sleep, akin to dementia, is the only road to recovery.
† Sprengel, tom, ii, p. 355. § The doctrine of transubstantiation, established about this period, is a relic of that blind submission of the senses as well as the reason to an infallible church.
Pettigrew records, in his · Medical Superstitions,'* how completely priests and monks took possession of every portion of the human frame, external and internal; and how determined they were to refuse even the smallest part to any other's care. As long as men's eyes were blinded to their imposture, they could without danger of detection, confine the whole practice of medicine to themselves. Melton says, “ The saints of the Romanists have usurped the place of the zodiacal constellations in their governance of the parts of man's body; and that for every limbe they have a saint. Thus, St. Otilia keepes the head instead of Aries. St. Blasius is appointed to governe the necke instead of Taurus. St. Lawrence keepes the backe and shoulders instead of Gemini, Cancer, and Leo. St. Erasmus rules the belly with the entrayles, in the place of Libra and Scorpius. In the stead of Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, and Pisces, the holy church of Rome hath elected St. Burgarde, St. Rochus, St. Quirinus, St. John, and many others, which governe the thighes, feet, shinnes, and knees.”
“ This supposed influence of the Romish saints is more minutely exhibited,” according to Hone, “in two very old prints, from engravings on wood, in the collection of the British Museum. Right hand : the
* Page 36 et seq.