Imatges de pÓgina

If at this period the number of dreaming patients had fallen off at Cos and Epidaurus, the deficiency was amply compensated by the growing popularity of Esculapius's shrines at Rome, Pergamus, Alæa, Mallos, and other places, where the ancient rituals were faithfully preserved. The highest magistrates in the Roman states not only countenanced, but patronised the superstition; Marcus Aurelius, by the friendship with which he honoured the Paphlagonian imposter Alexander, and Caracalla, by the journey he undertook to Pergamus, to obtain the cure of a disease which inflicted him. This Alexander, the Cagliostro of his age, whose memoirs have been handed down to us by Lucian, made shift to father a new species of juggling upon the ancient process of incubation: for he pretends that it was necessary for him to sleep for a night in the sealed scrips which contain the queries he was to have resolved for those who visited hiş oracle.* During this interval he dexterously opened the scrips, and sealed them up again; pretending that the responses which he delivered to the querists in the morning, had been revealed to him by the deity in a dream.

The priests of Æsculapius possessed a never failing source of information on the recipes or votive tablets with which these temples abounded. These were sometimes engraven on pillars, as at Epidaurus; of which Pausanias says there were six remaining in his time, and besides these, one in particular removed from the rest, on which it was recorded that Hip

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polytus had sacrificed twenty horses, in return for his having been restored to life by him. Five memorials only of this kind have reached the present age. One of them is to be found in the beginning of Galen's fifth book de Compos. medic. : it is taken from the temple of Phthas, near Memphis, and is the least interesting of the whole. Its subject is the use of the Diktamnus, borrowed from Heras of Cappadocia, a medical writer, frequently quoted by Galen. The remaining four are much more important: they were engraven on a marble slab,* of later date at Rome, and are thought, with much probability, to have belonged to the Esculapian temple in the Insula Tiberina. The present translation, in which some errors either of the artist or copyist are rectified, is extracted from the first volume of Gruter's Corp. Inscriptionum. The narrations are perspicuous and laconic.

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1. In these latter days, a certain blind man, by name Caius, had this oracle vouchsafed to himthat he should draw near to the altar after the manner of one who could see; then walk from right to left, lay the five fingers of his right hand on the altar, then raise up his hand and place it on his eyes.' And behold! the multitude saw the blind man open his eyes, and they rejoiced, such splendid miracles should signalize the reign of our Emperor Antoninus."

2. "To Lucius, who was so wasted away by pains in his side, that all doubted of his recovery,

It is often called by antiquaries Tabella Marmorea apud Maffueos, as it was first preserved in the collection,

the god gave this response: Approach thou the altar; take ashes from it, mix them up with wine and then lay thyself on thy sore side.' And the man recovered, and openly returned thanks to the god amidst the congratulations of the people."

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3. "To Julian who spitted blood, and was given over by every one, the god granted this response : Draw near, take pine apples from off the altar, and eat them with wine for three days. And the man got well, and came and gave thanks in the presence of the people."

4. A blind soldier, Valerius Asper by name, received this answer from the god: that he should mix the blood of a white cock with milk, make an eye ointment therewith, and rub his eyes with it for three days. And lo! the blind recovered his sight, and came, and publicly gave thanks to the god.".

The success with which the Priests of Esculapius carried on their impostures, and the popularity which their dexterous management, no less than the vulgar credulity obtained for them, will cease to surprise us on maturer consideration. It could not be a difficult task for them to give the minds of their patients whatever bias was best adapted to their purposes. These credulous beings passed several days and nights in the temple, and their imagination could not fail to be powerfully impressed with what was diligently told them of the prescriptions and cures of Æsculapius; nor to retain during their slumbers many lively impressions of their meditations by day; their priestly nurses too were neither so blind to their own interests, nor so careless of their reputations as to omit

the prescribing of such modes of diet and medical remedies as were calculated to appease their patients' sufferings. Besides which, however delusive and empirical their outward ceremonials and bold pretensions might have been, we should remember, that priests, having some acquaintance with the science of medicine, were generally selected to officiate on those spots where the incubitary process* was the order of the day. To this acquaintance were added the results of daily experience, and the frequent opportunities which the incessant demands of the infirm upon their skill afforded them of correcting previous errors and improving their practical knowledge : of gradually ascertaining the various kinds and appearances of human disorders; and of digesting such data as would enable them, with the least possible chance of failure, to prescribe the modes of cure and treatment suitable to the various stages and species of the applicant's maladies. With such means, it would have been not a little singular if the priests of Esculapius had failed in converting the popular veneration to his credit and their own emolument.

It is somewhat singular, that Cicero's treatise on divination, as well as the works of Hippocrates and Galen, should be so destitute of information on the subject of a mode of cure which was of such long standing, and so universally esteemed. From the two last, one should at least have expected something more satisfactory: Cos being the birthplace of the one, and Pergamus of the other.

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AMULETS are certain substances worn about the neck or other parts of the body, under the supersti tious impression of preventing diseases, of curing, or removing them.

The origin of amulets may be traced to the most remote ages of mankind. In our researches to discover and fix the period when remedies were first employed for the alleviation of bodily suffering, we are soon lost in conjecture or involved in fable. We are unable, indeed, to reach the period in any country, when the inhabitants were destitute of medical resources, and even among the most uncultivated tribes we find medicine cherished as a blessing and practised as an art. The feelings of the sufferer, and the anxiety of those about him, must, in the rudest state of society, have incited a spirit of industry and research to procure ease, the modification of heat and cold, of moisture and dryness; and the regulation and change of diet and habit, must

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