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I find it generally admitted that these two great anatomists held no very high rank as physicians. Herophilus blindly followed the precepts and the erroneous pathology of Praxagoras; and Erasi stratus showed himself but a timid disciple of the school of Cos.
Is it not then rather surprising, that two physicians not very eminently skilled in their profession, should have begun at a very advanced period of life, to dissect human bodies at Alexandria, and should have finished by publishing such anatomical discoveries as have excited the admiration of all succeeding ages? Is it not likewise remarkable, that the anatomical researches of the Alexandrian Greeks commenced and ceased with them? Of the followers of Herophilus Galen speaks with contempt. They were occupied with trifles; and, like their master, (Plin. L. xix.) wasted much precious time in talking of the modulations, the rhythmical cadences, and the metrical laws of pulsations. It is a more serious charge against the Herophilean sect, that some of its members, while they adopted the faulty pathology of their leader, affected to treat with contempt the opinions of Hippocrates. Who can regret the loss of their works, which had deservedly become rare even in the time of Galen ? The science of medicine soon fell into utter decay among them.' Callimachus wrote a book about the bad effects produced upon the nerves by the scent of flowers. The patients of Apollonius Mys were directed by that empiric, as Plutarch tells us, to eat salt-beef to increase their appetite. Of Andreas it is enough to know, that he wrote a little pamphlet called Narther, or the box of unguents, and had the impudence to libel Hippocrates.
The Erasistrateans seem to have been not more skilful than their rivals. Strato of Berytus wrote a volume to prove the danger of having recourse to venesection in any case whatever; and assigned as a reason for his opinion, that it is very difficult to distinguish the difference between a vein and an artery.
Of the surgeons of the Alexandrian school we know little, except that they killed Antiochus the V Ith in cutting him for the stone; that Sostratus employed much time in making bandages, to which he gave whimsical names ; and that Amyntas, who settled at Rhodes, invented a curious ligature for keeping together the bones of a broken nose.
The knowledge of anatomy suddenly displayed by Herophilus and Erasistratus, their great age when they began to dissect human bodies, and the rapid decline of the science among their countrymen who succeeded them, induce me to suspect, that they borrowed more from the Egyptians, than has been generally supposed. The keys to the hieroglyphics had probably been destroyed, together with the genuine writings of Thoth, during the persecution of 40 years. But many traditions and fragments must have remained among the priests, not only of historical details, but of scientific systems. Most certainly if we can once admit it as probable, that Herophilus and Erasistratus were guided in their anatomical researches, by the scattered traditions of the Egyptians, we shall be better able to account both for their discoveries, and for some of the mistakes which they made, than we are at present. Let us suppose, for instance, that among the traditions which the priests still preserved of the physiological systems of their ancestors, there was one which bore that the nerves are the vehicles of sensation, and take their origin in the brain and the medulla. We can then easily conceive, that Herophilus, having heard of this tradition, ascertained the fact by dissection. But if this physician made the discovery by his own observations, and without any clue to guide him, how can we account for his astonishing ignorance of some other branches of anatomy more obvious and equally important? How can we suppose, that a man, who by unremitting attention to the internal structure of the human frame had traced the nerves to their roots in the cerebral and medullary substances, should admit it as possible that the veins have their origin in the liver? It really seems as if some tradition had guided him to the investigation of the first subject; and that not having happened to hear any thing of the second, he had left it where he found it.
Erasistratus knew more of the vascular system than Herophilus; but he taught that the arteries are void of blood, and are inflated by a vital air, or spirit (mveŪjece Cutixóv). This spirit he supposed to be separated in the lungs from the air respired, and to be conveyed by the arteries to every part of the body. Now this whimsical doctrine could not have been founded on observation. It must have been a physiological dream composed of ideas, which by want of their proper links no longer followed each other in a
VOL. XVIII. Cl. JI. NO. XXXV. B
just association. Erasistratus could scarcely have adopted so wild a theory, unless it had been in trying to put together the fragments of a broken system, of which he was unable to collect the whole materials. Perhaps then he had heard from the priests of Egypt some tradition upon this subject, which he imperfectly understood. This tradition might have been, that the vital air is separated in the lungs from the air respired, and that it produces sensible changes upon the blood, when that Auid is pushed forwards into the arteries.
The impartial reader will now judge, whether it be not probable, that the physicians of Greece owed much to those of Egypt. He must have observed the admiration, bordering on the limits of exaggeration, with which Homer speaks of the medical knowledge of the Egyptians. He can have scarcely questioned either the ignorance of the Asclepiades, or the frauds which they practised. He must have seen, that the Greeks really knew nothing of the art of healing, until Pythagoras returned from Egypt and the East, where he had obtained all his learning. Then indeed the light of science began to dawn upon Europe. Medicine was taught upon rational principles; and the disciples of the school of Crotona, such as Empedocles the Sicilian, Epicharmus and Metrodorus of Cos, Timæus the Locrian, and Democides, were celebrated as physicians in Greece, in Italy, and in Asia. About half a century after the death of Pythagoras, Democritus, who had passed many years in Chaldea and Egypt, revisited his native country. He found leisure amidst his philosophical labors, to give lessons in medicine to Hippocrates. Another food of light poured in upon Greece. The pupil of Democritus became the medical preceptor of mankind. Finally, the reader must have observed, that immediately after the establishment of the Greeks at Alexandria, the science of anatomy suddenly florished, and suddenly decayed. It seems as if the first comers had profited by the traditions of the Egyptian priests, had appropriated to themselves all that remained yet untouched of the wreck of ancient learning, and had left their successors to the efforts of their own ingenuity. Thus in following the progress of medical knowledge among the Greeks, we find that it was always connected with their mtercourse with the Egyptians, and that every new accession of information among them was preceded by some communication with that people, Who indeed can contemplate with impartiality the history of medicine in Greece, without seeing that the art could not have so suddenly advanced towards perfection, unless there had been some foreign source, from which such men as Pythagoras and Democritus drew their knowledge? Science is not of mushroom growth. It is born of experience. It becomes strong when it rests upon the accumulated testimonies of the wise. Like the oak, it comes slowly to maturity; nor shows itself clad in the fulness of its honors to the generation that saw it planted in the soil. February, 1818.
W. DRUMMOND. P.S. No. XXXII. p. 267. for“ 14,850 will give as precisely 118,800,000 feet,' read • 14,850, multiplied by 8000, will give as precisely 118,800,000 feet.' A few lines below, for 19,840,' read • 19,340.'
NOTÆ ET CURÆ SEQUENTES IN ARATI
No. 111.—[Continued from No. XXXIII. p. 51.]
Ου γαρ ότ' αμφοτέρωθεν ομού περί μέσσον έχωσιν
148–156. Observa, vel orientis vel tum expecta; si ex Austro ventum ex occidentis solis, si illa nubium phæno- ea parte. mena, quæ parhelia vocant, aut ab Au- Per παρήλιον intelligenda est falsa stro aut a Borea rubescunt, aut utrim- solis species juxta solem apparens; non que; nec frivole custodi hanc observa. simpliciter nubes rubens aut splendida tionem, Non enim, cum utrimque juxta solem. Nonnulli transtulere simul eæ nubes solem in medio conti- “ pubes quas parhelia vocant.” Sed nent, cum prope oceanum sit, pluviæ quoniam de nubibus lucidis juxta solem venientis dilatio e cælo fit. Si yero e apparentibus, aliis locis agitur, sine ullo Borea una sola rubescat, e Borea fila. nominis hujus (taphacor), usn, placet
'Εκ βορέα πνομάς κε φέροι, νοτίη δε, νότοιο.
nobis vepów tà reddere (ut supra) nu. plane non ignorabant veteres : ita Arisbium effectus seu phænomena, quæ toteles, Tò de atrioV TOÚTwv åndter parhelia vocant; cum qua interpreta- ταντο, πάντα γάρ ανάκλασις ταυτά έστι: tione non male congruit Aristotelis par- διαφέρουσι δε τους τρόπους, και αφ' ών και heliorum descriptio, Παρήλιοι δε και ως συμβαίνει την ανάκλασιν γίγνεσθαι προς ράβδοι γίνονται εκ πλαγίας αεί· και ούτ' τον ήλιον και προς άλλο τι των λαμπρών. avwev, ošte tpos tñ yộoớr' È évavrlas, [Aristot. Meteor. iii. 2.) Per saßsous ουδε δή νύκτωρ, αλλ' αεί περί τον ήλιον έτι intellige apparentes solis radios, quos δ' ή αίρομένου και καταφερομέ.ι τα πλείστα Romani virgas appellavere. Seneca δε προς δύσμας μεσουρανού τις δε σπάνιόν de parheliis scribit, « Quid eas vocem τι γέγονεν οίον εν Βοσπόρο τοτε συνέπεσε" imagines solis? Historici soles vocant δι' όλης γαρ της ημέρας συνάσχοντες δύο et binos ternosque apparuisse memotaphilol dietédetal uexpi duojuôv. (Arist. riæ tradunt. Græci Parhelia appellant, Meteor, iii. 2.] Plinius illustrat hanc quia in propinquo fere a sole visuntur descriptionem in Historiæ Naturalis aut quia adcedunt ad aliquam similitulibro de parbeliis ita locutus : “ Et dipem solis.” In capite xiii. ita est, rursus plures soles simul cernuntur, nec “ Solent et bina parhelia fieri, eadem supra ipsum nec infra sed ex obliquo, ratione." Et paullo infra,“ Pluviarum numquam juxta nec contra terram, nec autem et hi soles (utar enim historica noctu ; sed aut oriente aut occidente. lingua) indicia sunt; præcipue si a Semel ex meridie conspecti in Bosphoro parte Austri constiterunt, unde maproduntur; qui a matutino tempore xime nubes ingravescunt : cum utrimduravere in occasum. Trinos soles an- que solem cinxit talis effigies (si Arato tiqui sæpius videre; sicut Sp. Pos- credimus) tempestas surgit.” [Senec. tumio, Q. Mutio, et Q. Martio, M. Por. Nat. Quæst. i. 13.] tio, et M. Antonio, P. Dolabella, et M. De rubescentibus nubibus ita ApolLepido, L. Planco coss. Et nostra lonius in Argonauticis, ætas vidit divo Claudio principe, con- Τώ δε δι' ατραπιτοίο μεθ' ιερόν άλσος κονsulatu ejus Cornelio Orfito collega. Plares simul quam tres visi, ad hoc evi Φηγόν άπειρεσίην διημένω, και επί κώας numquam produntur.” [Plin. Hist. Bepanto vepéan varlyklov sha' å vlovtos Nat. ii. 31.] Sepeca accuratius scri- 'Hellov Proyepoiou epeuletai åktiveool. bit,“ Sunt antem imagines solis in nube (Apollon. Rhod. Argon. iii. 126.] spissa et vicina in modum speculi. Valerius Flaccus imitabatur : Quidam parhelion ita definiunt: Nubes “ Cujus adhuc rutilam servabant bra. rotunda et splendida similisque soli.” chia pellem (Senec. Nat. Quæst. i. 2.]
Nubibus accensis similem ; aut cum v. 155. pouviooolto proprie ad purpu- veste recincta reum seu phænicéum colorem refert; Labitur ardenti Thaumantias obvia Scapula derivat a verbo phậnix: du- Phæbo." bito an hoc in loco rubere pro purpu- (Val. Flacc. Argon, viii. 114.] rescere ponitur; vel simpliciter splen- 157-159. Pergit poeta narrare, aut descere intelligi debet. Parhelia sem- sicubi guttæ decidunt pluviæ. Occiper splendent ; aliquando color addi. dentalibus enim certiora deprehendetur, per refractionem. Sed vetat Se- res. Namque ab occidente invariabilia beca, (de parheliis) “ Ceterum nihil signa semper sumuntur. De quibus habent ardoris hebetes ac languidi.” jam satis dictum est. (Senec. Nat. Quæst. i. 2.)
160-166. Descriptio constellationis Horum omnium phantasmatum com- páruns seu Prirsepis— Intuere quoque munis causa refractio est : ipsa tamen Præsepe; quod tenni nubeculæ simile differunt inter se secundum diversas sub Cancro boreali versatur. At circa interposita nubis qualitates; quod ipsum duæ stellæ parum lucentes fe