At three centres more particularly, Rhodes, Cnidos, and Cos, were the medical schools of the Asklepiads. If one may judge from an inscription at Athens, priests of Asklepios attended the poor gratuitously. And years afterwards, in the 11th century, when there was a revival of medicine, we find at Salerno the Christian priest as doctor, a simple and less palatable pharmacy for the poor, and gratuitous medical relief. Besides the temple schools and hospitals there was a secular organization of medical aid and relief. States appointed trained medical men as physicians, and provided for them medical establishments (iatreia, “large houses with large doors full of light ”) for the reception of the sick, and for operations there were provided beds, instruments, medicines, &c. At these places also pupils were taught. A lower degree of medical establishment was to be found at the barbers’ shops. Out-patients were seen at the iatreia. They were also visited at home. There were doctors’ assistants and slave doctors. The latter, apparently, attended only slaves (Plato, Leg. iv. 720); they do “a great service to the master of the house, who in this manner is relieved of the care of his slaves.” It was a precept of Hippocrates, that if a physician came to a town where there were sick poor, he should make it his first duty to attend to them ; and the state physician attended gratuitously any one who applied to him. There were also travelling physicians going rounds to heal children and the poor. These methods continued, probably all of them, to Christian times. In Rome there were consulting-rooms and dispensaries, and houses in which the sick were received. Hospitals are mentioned by Roman writers in the 1st century a.d. There were infirmaries—detached buildings—for sick slaves; and in Rome, as at Athens, there were slaves skilled in medicine. In Rome also for each regio there was a chief physician who attended to the poorer people. Slavery was so large a factor in pre-Christian and early Christian society that a word should be said on its relation to charit s/ave y- Indirectly it was a cause of poverty and social degradation. Thus in the case of Athens, with the achievement of maritime supremacy the number of slaves increased greatly. Manual arts were despised as unbecoming to a citizen, and the slaves carried on the larger part of the agricultural and industrial work of the community; and for a time — until after the Peloponnesian war (404 b.c.) — slavery was an economic success. But by degrees the slave, it would seem, dispossessed the citizen and rendered him unfit for competition. The position of the free artisan thus became akin to that of the slave (Arist. Pol. 1260a, &c.), and slavery became the industrial method of the country. Though Greeks, Romans, Jews, and Christians spent money in ransoming individual slaves and also enfranchised many, no general abolition of slavery was possible. At last through economic changes the new status of coloni, who paid as rent part of the produce of the land they tilled, superseded the status of slavery. But this result was only achieved much later, when a new society was being created, when the slaves from the slave prisons (ergastula) of Italy joined its invaders, and the slave-owner or master, as one may suppose, unable any longer to work the gangs, let them become coloni. In Greece the feeling towards the slave became constantly more humane. Real slavery, Aristotle said, was a cast of mind, not a condition of life. The slave was not to be ordered about, but to be commanded and persuaded like a child. The master was under the strongest obligation to promote his welfare. In Rome, on the other hand, slavery continued to the end a massive, brutal, industrial force—a standing danger to the state.
But alike in Greece and Rome the influence of slavery on the family was pernicious. The pompous array of domestic slaves, the transfer of motherly duties to slave nurses, the loss of that homely education which for most people comes only from the practical details of life—all this in later Greece and Italy, and far into Christian times, prevented that permanent invigoration and reform of family life which Jewish and Christian influences might otherwise have produced. Part III.—Charity in Roman Times. As from the point of view of charity the well-being of the community depends upon the vigour of the deep-laid elemental life within it, so in passing to Roman times we consider the family first. The Roman family was unique in its completeness, and by some of its conditions the world has long been bound. The father alone had independent authority (sui juris), and so long as he lived all who were under his power—his wife, his sons, and their wives and children, and his unmarried daughters—could not acquire any property of their own. Failing father or husband, the unmarried daughters were placed under the guardianship of the nearest male members of the family. Thus the family, in the narrower sense in which we commonly use the word, as meaning descendants of a common father or grandfather, was, as it were, a single point of growth in a larger organism, the gens, which consisted of all those who shared a common ancestry. The wife, though in law the property of her husband, held a position of honour and influence higher than that of the Greek wife, at least in historic times. She seems to come nearer to the ideal of Xenophon : “the goodwife should be the mistress of everything within the house.” “ A house of his own and the blessing of children appeared to the Roman citizen as the end and essence of life ” (Mommsen, Hist. Rome). The obligation of the father to the sons was strongly felt. The family, past, present, and future, was conceived as one and indivisible. Each succeeding generation had a right to the care of its predecessor in mind, body, and estate. The training of the sons was distinctively a home and not a school training. Brought up by the father and constantly at his side, they learnt spontaneously the habits and traditions of the family. The home was their school. By their father they were introduced into public life, and though still remaining under his power during his lifetime, they became citizens, and their relation to the state was direct. The nation was a nation of yeomen. Only agriculture and warfare were considered honourable employments. The father and sons worked outdoors on the farm, employing little or no slave labour ; the wife and daughters indoors at spinning and weaving. The drudgery of the household was done by domestic slaves. The father was the working head of a toiling household. Their chief gods were the same as those of early Greece—Zeus-Diovis and Hestia-Vesta, the goddess of the hearth and home. Out of this solid, compact family Roman society was built, and so long as the family was strong attachment to the service of the state was intense. The res publica, the common weal, the phrase and the thought, meet one at every turn ; and never were citizens more patient and tenacious combatants on their country’s behalf. The men were soldiers in an unpaid militia and were constantly engaged in wars with the rivals of Rome, leaving home and family for their campaigns and returning to them in the winter. With a hardness and closeness inconsistent with—indeed, opposed to—the charitable spirit, they combined the strength of character and sense of justice without which charity becomes sentimental and unsocial. In the development of the family, and thus, indirectly, of charity, they stand for settled obligation and unrelenting duty. Under the protection of the head of the family “in dependent freedom” lived the clients. They were in a middle position between the freemen and the slaves. The relation between patron and client lasted for several genej rations; and there were many clients. Their number increased as state after state was conquered, and they formed the plebs, in Rome the plebs urbana, the lower orders of the city. In relation to our subject the important factors are the family, the plebs, and slavery.