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fulness and unity—is distinct from, and incompatible with, the trading of the apothecary or the scientific labours of the pharmaceutical chemist.
This proposition will require a less lengthened consideration
among the ancients, than in the two successive periods which it is our purpose to examine.
The name of apothecary, in connection with the functions assigned to him in modern times, had then no existence; neither had the pharmacy and chemistry of the Arabic schools called forth an exclusive occupation for the cultivation of those scientific pursuits which have since become so valuable an assistance to medicine.
The aroonkn of the Greeks was a mere store-house or repository, having no exclusive reference to drugs, but may be well understood as giving origin to and identical with the modern and intelligible terms of
boteca” and “boutique.” Immediately after the establishment of medicine as a science by Hippocrates, the treatment of disease was principally effected by diet, and by the various hygienic adjuvants subsequently comprised under the name of “ dietetics ;" but besides the use of these, each physician furnished his intplov with the comparatively few “simples” then used in medicine, as well as the surgical instruments and other appliances needful to complete his triple equipments against wounds, injuries, and diseases, under all their varied aspects.
The basis of all scientific researches in pharma
ceutics may be assigned to the writings of Aristotle and Theophrastus on zoology and botany, in the fourth century before the Christian era. From these ample sources were gradually selected such portions of either kingdom, as experience proved worthy to be included among the “materia medica” subsequently comprised in the works of Pliny and Dioscorides.
Early in the second century after Christ, the latter writer enriched the world with his five volumes on this subject, containing the description of nearly a thousand articles, a work which continued a textbook even up to modern times, affording a wide field for the scientific physician to choose from. Shortly after, as might be expected, there appears in the works of ancient authors the description of a class of citizens who thenceforth became, under various appellations, the preparers and sellers of this
materia medica.” Such were the Pharmacopoles and Ropopoles of Galen; such a class of persons described by Oribasius as extending generally throughout the Roman empire, but especially in the east, who prepared the medicine prescribed by the physician. So also, combined, as was generally the case, with another calling, the Pimentarius, of whom Olympiodorus says,—“The physician orders, and the Pimentarius prepares and serves that which he requires."* To these may be added many other
* See Peyrilhe et Dujardin, ' Hist. de la Chir.,' tom. ii, p. 63.
names scattered throughout ancient writers, such as the migmatopolai and pantopolai, the pharmacopoeus and pharmacotriba* the duties of each clearly expressed by their respective etymology.
These were the analogues amongst the ancients to the apothecary of later date, and such is the true origin of that occupation, now only performed in its purity in this country by the “pharmaceutical chemist,” since and in consequence of its abandonment by the modern apothecary. It is not, at the same time, attempted to be concealed, that there were, in the times of Hippocrates, “ignorant and presumptuous men, who infested all Greece;" or that Erasistratus spoke of those who made antidotes, or royal compositions, such as were known by the name of the celebrated King of Pontus, Mithridates; and the Theriaca of Andromachus, physician to the Emperor Nero, containing fifty or sixty ingredients, so compounded as to counteract, by a portion taken every morning, the effect of the dreaded poison, which might in any way be administered through the coming day to those tyrants who had too well familiarised themselves with its effects on others.
Pliny strongly condemned a departure from the
simples” of more ancient date, or even the compounding of medicines in any shape; he assigned to those who leant to this practice a love of ostentation, by their multiplication of medicines, or a desire to favour the prejudices of princes.
* papuakov, remedium.
Tw.ew, vendo. Foiew, facio. rpißw, tero.
So also it must be admitted there were the ayupraı” of the Greeks, the “circumforanei” of the Latins, the travelling mountebank doctors of their respective countries, and the “medici sellularii” who sat in their shops, awaiting customers for their various antidotes, as numerous as the diseases to which they were nominally applied. They were but the representatives of a class existing throughout all countries, and in all ages—those who minister to the weakness of the multitude, and at the same time richly support themselves, and thereby the impositions they practise; men who were truly described by Guido in the fourteenth century, as possessing the necessary qualifications of such practitioners
Egregie mentiri, audacter interficere, et pecunias extorquere." Of such, no honest practitioner would claim to be the descendant, or wish to be the co-operator.
In support of our second proposition throughout the following period of time—the middle ages, it will be well, as in the former consideration respecting surgery, to glance at each of the three localities specified; viz., the schools where Priests and Monks had usurped indisputable sway; the Arabic; and, lastly, the Revival schools, beginning with Salernum.
In the former abodes of ignorance and superstition, convents and monasteries were the principal foci in which the relics of saints and martyrs accumulated from age to age. Here they were prepared, multiplied, compounded, and dispensed, according to the approved formulæ of the times, and their specific miraculous power,* or that of the priest-physician who used them. The trading in this “materia medica,” or its scientific preparation, may be adduced as an authority adverse to the proposition, but not one generally admitted at the present day as worthy of imitation.
Amongst the Arabs we trace a continuation of the more legitimate streams of medicine, and also the training of an especial class of persons for the “pharmacopolite's” functions, together with a strict surveillance of both. “ Pharmaceutics” are more indebted to the Arabs than any other branch of medicine, through their improvements in chemistry and pharmacy; it is by the aid of these, as well as by the various preparations of sugar, spices, gums, and aromatics, that the number and variety of the materia medica were widely extended. To the system hitherto pursued, of searching the whole realm of nature for remedies, was now added the torturing, as it were, of each component part, so as to extract its most powerful and essential element.
* Hallam’s ‘Middle Ages,' vol. ii, p. 362 ; and Froude’s ‘History of England, vol. ii, p. 91.