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been attained by a variety of means.
Not only writers on medicine prove the name of physician to have attached to him who rightly “exercised the science of physic in all and every its members and parts ;" but the records of philosophers, historians, and legislators equally proclaim the fact.*
Thus, we find throughout every successive age, the opinion of Celsus has been confirmed as regards the authorities in ancient medicine. The highest honours have been universally accorded to him whose skill was the most extensive—“qui quamplurimum percipit,”—who, having selected from the widest field the means best suited to the end in view"sanitatem ægris medicina promittit,”—could wield either alone, each in succession or all conjointly, so as best to attain that end. Yet was not the name of physician denied to him of a more limited range;f it was assigned to all who were well qualified to treat
* See Peyrilhe and Dujardin, Hist. de la Chirurgie.
† “ Etenim quasi per gradus quosdam medicina laborantibus sucurrit nam primum cibis, ratione, aptoque tempore datis, tentat prodesse languentibus. Deinde, si ad hos non responderit curatio, ad medicamentorum decurrit vim. Potentiora enim hæc et efficaciora, quam cibi. Post ubi ne ad hæc quidem cedunt difficultates adversæ valetudinis, tunc coacta ad sectionem, vel ultimo ad ustionem devenit.
Quosdam enim a perverso proposito nemo potest movere, et sane omnibus permisit liberum arbitrium magnitudo professionis. Multos itaque animadvertimus, unius partis sanandi scientia, medici plenum nomen consecutos.” -- SCRIBONIUS LARGUS, De Compos. Med., Præf.
disease or injury, by any of the acknowledged means of cure, whether in the body or its members, whether internally or externally, an inch above or below Poupart's ligament, the inside or the outside of the abdomen, the lining or the covering of the ribs, the cranium, or the brain that it contained, the circulating organ in its fountain or its streams, the end, the middle, or the beginning of the alimentary canal, whose function to excrete the noxious or the worthless, as also to absorb the good, may well afford a useful hint how to improve the strength and purity of bodies corporate as well as human.*
In entering on the second epoch, and considering THE PHYSICIAN'S OFFICE DURING THE MIDDLE AGES, we for the first time discern the commencement of that system which assigned either, but not both, of the above closely connected parts to distinct and separate individuals; for the one claiming the highest honours and emolument, to the other attaching the grossest degradation and disgrace, and thereby effecting the first invidious and compulsory division in the physician's office.
It is not our purpose to enter on the multiplied causes of internal corruption and external violence
*“I have often heard my truly noble and most dear nephew, Sir Edmund Bacon, say, out of his exquisite contemplations and philosophical practice, that nature surely, if she be well studied, is the best moralist and hath much good counsel hidden in her bosom.” -WOTTON on Education.
that contributed to the gradual extinction of learning throughout that portion of the world which had hitherto been its favoured abode. The period of its occurrence, however, if not much of its cause, may be associated with the canon of the council held at Carthage in the year 398, forbidding the study of secular books to Bishops; followed by the celebrated edict of Justinian, A.D. 529, which closed the schools of Athens; and completed by the invasion of Egypt under Amrou, the fall of Alexandria, and destruction of its famous library, in the year 640; so that it has been truly said—“in somewhat more than a century after the expulsion of philosophy from Europe by a Christian legislator, the schools of Africa were closed in their turn by the arms of an unlettered Mahometan.”
What then was the office of a physician in the middle ages, or during the succeeding eight or nine centuries, when light and learning gave place to darkness and superstition, when truth and honesty were superseded by falsehood and imposture, when reason and experience succumbed to barbarism and bigotry ?
In the midst of conflicts such as these, we can thankfully reflect, that the streams of light and truth, which were gradually driven from their former resting-place, found shelter and even cultivation among the resistless Saracenic hordes, who at this period swept the shores of the Mediterranean on its southern coast from east to west, and afterwards, locating themselves in Spain, partially surrounded that portion of Europe which had been for so many ages
the cradle of science and literature, but now, alas! relapsed into its pristine state of ignorance and superstition. One spot alone within these limits, where darkness had for a while reigned, early emitted some rays of light. It was at Salernum, in the eighth and ninth centuries, we discern the first symptoms of reaction.
It will, therefore, be well to glance at the physician's office during this period in the three several situations alluded to; viz.
1st. In the Arabic or Saracenic schools.
2nd. In the Revival or Arabist schools, commencing with Salernum.
3rd. In those dark and benighted regions where Romish Priests and Monks had usurped the office of physician.*
In the former locality, we perceive that as ignorance and bigotry within had combined with barbaric irruptions from without, to extinguish all previous sources of light and truth, so, at the same time, opposite causes were contributing to foster in these regions those records of the past which might otherwise have perished.
The early establishment of schools of medicine by the Nestorians* at Dschondisabour, † the asylum here given to those savans who were driven from the different schools of Europe, and at a later period the free intercourse of nations, that mighty source of advancement to science and literature promoted by the crusades, served, with other causes, to feed the instinctive love of health and life which all nations and all ages have exhibited, and which had induced the Arabs, at the destruction of the Alexandrian library, as well as the monks in the recesses of their cloisters, to preserve some relics of the ancient authors on medicine. With such materials for a foundation, we shall find that medicine, throughout this period, even with all its defects and hindrances, preserved its unity amongst the Arabs.
* See Chart.
Their numerous schools and extensive libraries at Bagdad, Cordova, Toledo, and elsewhere, their early Syriac and Arabic translations or rather versions of the ancients, though often imperfect, and incorrect and marred by various prejudices,f produced names
* The Nestorians and the Jews were the first to familiarise the Arabs with the Greek authors, by their Syriac translations, and were also the first physicians to the Saracens. They continued to be their chief authorities to the time of Avicenna, who studied medicine under the Nestorian Abou-Sahel-Masichi.-See Sprengel, vol. ii, p. 267 and 306.
+ The capital of Chorassan, founded by Sapor, King of Persia.
* The prohibition of dissections, and the seclusion of females, were two chief impediments to the cultivation of anatomy and surgery, and continue to be so, even at the present day, throughout the Mahometan States.--See Oppenheim on “Medicine in Turkey,” Pharm. Journal,' vol. iv, p. 328.