« PreviousContinue »
By modifying and compounding these with spices, aromatics, and
syrups, it was sought less to offend the palate, than by the nauseous compounds of earlier date, whence they gained the designation of “ cuisiniers Arabesques.”
Chemistry had been known only in the Alexandrian school as the art of transmuting the baser metals. As early, however, as the eighth century, Geber, in his work on alchemy, passes in some measure to the more modern office of chemistry. In this work he speaks of mercurial preparations, such as corrosive sublimate and red precipitate ; of nitric and nitro-muriatic acids; of nitrate of silver, and many other true chemical combinations. They invented also the names of alcohol, julep, syrup, looch, and many others, which have continued to the present day; and it appears that they also first introduced the usage of forms for the preparation of medicines sanctioned by Government.
Sabor-Ebn-Sahel, director of the school of Dschondisabour, published the first dispensatory, in the latter part of the ninth century, which was soon followed by others, but especially by that of Abou'lHassan-Hebatollah-Ebno? Talmid, Bishop and physician to the Caliph of Bagdad, which latter had a high reputation, and became the text-book for apothecaries up to the twelfth century. * The Apothecaries were placed under the imme
* Sprengel, tom. ii, p. 264.
diate control of government, who exercised a strict scrutiny in order that medicines should not be adulterated or sold at too high a price. The General Afschin himself visited the “pharmacies” of his army, to assure himself that they contained all the medicines directed in the dispensatories. The duties of the apothecary were by these numerous additions much increased, and at the same time his office was clearly defined and distinct from that of the physician. Hitherto the testimony adduced, has been from acknowledged authorities on medicine and pharmacy in the respective times and countries alluded to, as the usages then and there existing.
At Salernum, however, in the twelfth century, we shall find that stringent enactments were introduced, as well to preserve this distinction, as to reunite chirurgics with the physician's office. The laws there promulgated in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, respecting the apothecary, have found an echo, not only in the schools of Bologna, Paris, Montpellier, and all other of the Revival schools, but, in all states and throughout all ages even to the present day, excepting only our own country in this the nineteenth century !
The situation of Salernum, being on the great route through which the Crusaders made their passage to and from the Holy Land, contributed to its early enlightenment from the Arabic schools. The diligent study of the Greek writers in their Syriac and Arabic translations, or rather versions, served to establish it as the fountain-head of all modern improvements in medicine.
The proclamation in the times of Herophilus and Erasistratus, that all legitimate medicine was comprised under the three heads into which it was then divided—viz., the cure of wounds, injuries, and diseases, by dietetics, pharmaceutics,and chirurgicswas in contra-distinction to the superstitious rites and ceremonies of the Asclepiades, from which the science had but recently been rescued. This fundamental test of all true medicine, was again set forth at Salernum, in opposition to the similar practices of the convents and monasteries of the dark ages.* The “Regimen Sanitatis Salerni”
Sanitatis Salerni” may be considered the basis of modern Dietetics, as were the laws of Frederick II of Chirurgics. So also, the “ Antidotaires ” of Nicolaus of Salernum with those of the Arabic schools, were the origin of our modern pharmacopæias and the consequent foundation of modern Pharmaceutics. The use of any or all of these means, it was
it was “the business of the physician to know" in the cure of injury and disease, or in the preservation of health; but the preparation of and the trading in—either food, drugs, or instruments, were alike foreign to his office. The laws of Frederick the Second as to the relation of physician and apothecary, in this the thirteenth century, were
* "Triplex hæc medendi ratio."-Vesalius. See Appendix 25g.
to the following effect.* The physician was to have no share of gains with the apothecary, nor himself to keep a shop. The apothecary—“confectionarius —was obliged to obtain a certificate from the faculty of medicine as to his fitness for the office, and to take an oath to prepare medicines only according to the "antidotaire ” of the school of Salernum, approved by government. The amount of profit on the sale of these medicines was fixed; and the apothecary could only establish himself by express permission in certain necessary localities. In large cities, two persons of reputation were appointed strictly to watch over, and enforce an observance of these laws, in whose presence the apothecary was compelled to prepare his electuaries, syrups, antidotes, &c. In case of an infringement of the law, the apothecary's goods were confiscated, and if it was discovered that these sworn officers—who at Salernum were generally chosen from amongst the “ magistri”—had taken part in the fraud, they were punished with death.
It is not necessary to follow these wise and stringent enactments to Montpellier, Bologna, Paris, Padua, and other well-governed states. Salernum is admitted to be the model on which their laws were founded, and are the same referred to in the charter given to the College of Physicians, 1518. “ Itaque partim bene institutarum civitatum in Italia,
Sprengel, tom. ii, p. 364.
et aliis multis nationibus, exemplum imitati,” &c.* As regards the partial observance of the practice enjoined by the above laws in our own country, we have ample proof of its existence from a time long anterior to the college charter, even from the commencement of the fourteenth century. The spices and aromatics of the east were early imported to the shores of Italy, and the south of France, where it became the province of the so-called “Speciarii” or “ Epiciers” of their respective countries to perform the office of apothecaries. The earliest record we have on the subject, not only assures us of the distinction contended for, but of the source from whence it was derived. Dr. Farrt says, “ A letter and bill for medicines, furnished for the use of the king, have been discovered in a roll of the wardrobe for the 34th Edward I, and throw considerable light upon English pharmacy at that period (1306-7). The writer requests payment; and his letter ends, Inasmuch as Richard of Montpellier, grocer to the king (especer le roy), is appointed in London to purvey (daler pour diverses pourveances faire) for the king's sickness, as is fully enjoined by the king's physicians (est pleinement enjoint par les fisiciens le Roy).” The account contains about thirty items : ointments, plasters, electuaries, syrups, &c.,
* Appendix, 16a.
† “ History of the Medical Profession,” by W. Farr. Med. Almanack,' 1839, p. 145.