Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/154

This page needs to be proofread.


MEDICINE


124


MEDICINE


and lator only a mixed condition (partly contracted, partly relaxed) of the pores. This siiiijile and con- venient explanation of all diseases witliout regard to anatomy and physiology, taken in conjunction with its allied .system of physical dietetic therapeutics, ex- plains -why this doctrine enjoyed so lonj; a life, and why the -works of the methodist. C'adius Aiirelianus of Sicca in Numidia {lie.iiinniiif; of fifth century A. D.), were diligently studied down to the seventh century.

G.^LEX. — Departure from the Ilippocratic ob.serva- tion of nature led physicians to form numerous mutu- ally opposing sects. A man of great industry and comprehensive knowledge, Galen of I'ergamum (about A. D. l:!t)-201), tried to rescue medical .science from this labyrinth. He chose the path of eclecticism, on which he built his (as he thought) infallible system. Whateversense-perception and clincal observation left ob-scure, he tried to explain in a speculative manner. That this system of teaching could hokl medicine in bondage until modern times shows the genius of the master, who understood how to cover up the gaps by brilliancy of style. Galen took the entire anatomical knowledge of his time, and out of it produced a work the substance of which was for centviries regarded as inviolable. His anatomy was fn .1 l:i?;;e extent based upon the dissection of mamm:i I ^, 1 .,| 1, ci:! Ily of monkeys, and, hke his physiologj', was iindrr (rlrcilogical influ- ence. His presentation of tilings lacks dispassionate- ness. Instead of explaining the functions of the or- gans on the basis of their structure, Galen cho.se the reverse method. His anatomy and physiologj' were the most vulnerable part of his system, and an earnest re-examination of these fields must necessarily have shaken his entire scheme of teaching. Galen ex- pressed the greatest respect for llijijiocrates, pub- lished liis most important works \\itli explanatory notes, but never entered into the sjiirit of the school of Cos, although he adopted many of its doctrines. Galen is the culminating point antl end of ancient Greek medical science. In his vanity he thought he had com- pleted all investigation, and that his successors had only to accept without effort what he had discovered. As will be shown in the following paragraph, his ad- vice was, unfortunately for science, followed literally.

Pedanius Dioscurides from Anazarbe, who lived in the time of Nero and Vespasian, may be mentioned here as the most important pharmaceutical writer of ancient times. He simplified greatly the pharmaco- pa-ia, which had then assumed unwieldy dimensions, and freefl it from ridiculous, superstitious remedies. Our modem pharmacology is based on liis work, Ta

Cornelius Celsus (about 25-30 B. c. — 45-50 a. d.) is the only Roman who worked with distinction in the medical field; but it is doubtful whether he was a phy- sician. His work, " De re medica libri viii ", wliich is written in classical Latin, and for which he used sev- ent3--two works lost to posterity, gives a survey of medical science from Hippocrates to imperial times. Very famous is his description of the operation of lithotomy. Celsus was altogether forgotten until the fifteenth centurj-, when Pope Nicholas V (1447-55) is said to have discovered a manuscript of his works.

Byzantine Period. — In Byzantine times medicine shows but little originality, and is of small importance in the history of medical development. The works handed down to us are all compilations, but as they frequently contain excerpts from lost works, they are of some historical value. The notable writers of tliis period are: Oreiliasios (.^25-403), physician in ordi- narj- to Julian the Apostate; and Attius of Amida, a Christian physician under Justinian (527-G6). A httle more originality than these men exhibited was shown by Alexander of Tralles (525-605), and Paulus ^gineta of the first lialf of the seventh century, of whose seven books, the sixth, dealing with surgery, was greatly valued in Arabian medicine. Paulus


lived at Alexandria, and was one of the last to come from its once famous school, which became extinct after the capture of the city by Omar in (140. At the end of the thirteenth century Nicolaus IMyrepsus, liv- ing at the covn-t in Nica-a, made a collection of jirescrip- tions which was extensively used. In the time of Emperor Andronicus III (1328—42) lived a highly gifted physician, Joannes Actuarius, and the mention of his writings closes the account of this period.

Ar.\bian Medicine. — Arabian medical science forms an important chapter in the history of the de- velopment of medicine, not because it was esi)ecially productive, but because it pre.serv'ed Greek medical science with that of its most important representative, Galen. It was, however, strongly influenced by ori- ental elements of later times. The adherents of the heretic Nestorius, who in 431 settled in Edessa, were the teachers of the Arabs. After their expulsion the.se Nestorians settled in Dschondisapor in 489, and there founded a medical school. After the conquest of Persia by the Arabs in 650, Greek culture was held in great esteem, and learned Nestorian, Jewish, and even Indian physicians worked diligently as transla- tors of Greek writings. In Arabian Spain conditions similarly developed from the seventh century. Among important physicians in the first period of Greek-Ara- bian medicine — the period of de]5endcnce and of trans- lations — come first the Nestorian family Bachtischua of Syria, which flourished until the eleventh century; Abu Zalcerijja Jahja ben INIaseweih (d. 875), known as Joannes Damascenus; ]\Iesue the Elder, a Christian, who was a director of the hospital at Bagdad, did in- dependent work, and supervised the translation of Greek authors; Abu Jusuf Jacub ben Ishak ben el-Sub- bah el-Kiiidi (Alkindus, 813-73), who wrote a work about compound drugs; and the Nestorian Abu Zeid Honein ben Ishak ben SoUman ben Ejjub el Tbadi (Joannitius, 809-about 873), a teacher in Bagdad who translated Hippocrates and Dioscurides, and whose work " Isagoge in artem parvam Galeni ", early translated into Latin, was much read in the Middle Ages. Wide activity and independent observation — based, however, wholly upon the doctrine of Galen — were shown by Aliu Bekr Muhammed ben Zakarijia er-Razi (Rhazes, about 850-923), whose chief work, however, " El-Hawi fi'l Tib " (Continens) is a rather un- systematic compilation. In the IMiddle Ages his " Ke- taab altib Almansuri" (Liber medicinaUs Almansoris) was well known and had many commentators. The most valuable of the thirty-six productions of Rhazes which have come down to us is " De variolis et mor- billis", a book based upon personal experience. We ought also to mention the dietetic writer Abu Jakub Ishak Isen Soleiman el-IsraiU (Isaac Juda-us, 830- about 932), an Egyptian Jew; the Persian, Ah ben el- Abbas Ala ed-Din el-Madschhusi (Ali Abbas, d. 994), authorof "El-Maliki" (Regalisdispo.sitio, Pantegnum). Abu Dshafer Ahmed ben Ibrahim ben Abu Chahd Ibn el-Dshezzar (d. 1009) wrote about the causes of the plague in Egj-pt. A work on pharmaceutics was writ- ten by the physician in ordinary to the Spanish Caliph Hisham II (976-1013), Abu Daut Soleiman ben Has- san Ibn Dsholdschholl.

Of the surgical authors, Abu'l-Kasim Chalaf ben Abbiis el-Zahrewi of el-Zahra near Cordova (Abul- kassem, about 912-1013) alone deserves mention, and he depends absolutely on Paulus ^gineta. While he received scant attention at home, since surgery was little cultivated by the Arabs, his work, written in a clear and perspicuous style, became known in the West through the Latin translation by Gerardus of Cremona (1187), and was extensively used even in later days. Arabian medicine reached its culmina- tion with the Persian Abu Ali el-Hosein ben Abdallah Ibn Sina(Avicenna, 980-1037), who based his system' entirely upon the teaching of Galen and tried in vari- ous ways to supplement the latter. His chief work,