Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/510

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—a procedure which in our time we associate with good hygiene and the care of those suffering with contagious diseases; with the Persians, however, it was purely a religious form based on a belief in demons.

After the priestly hygiene of the Egyptians and Persians comes naturally, and probably sequentially, the social hygiene of the Old Testament. I need only remind you of the Mosaic laws, rational even in the light of modern science.

From the literature of antiquity much else might be cited to show the state of medicine among ancient peoples, the influence of religion, of primitive superstition and mysticism, all of which, however well-intentioned, prevented or obscured exact observation and deduction. The development of knowledge by observation and critical argument came slowly, and was possible only when the priest was no longer the physician. This great advance we associate with the period of Greek civilization and the name of Hippocrates.

Hippocrates may be considered in many ways, as physician, surgeon, philosopher and medical historian, but to one interested in the beginnings of research in medicine he is of importance as the first to record results based on observation, experiment and deduction, the tripod of the method of science. As a result, although much of his theory has been discarded, many of his procedures based on exact observation still stand the test of time and in many instances form the basis of modern methods. His age (470-361 B.C.) was the age of Pericles; contemporary with him, Thucydides wrote history, Phidias carved statues, Democritus originated his atomistic theory of the universe, and Socrates talked "human affairs" and "practical reason." That these men were real to one another is shown by the fact that Hippocrates was requested to declare Democritus insane and that Pericles died (429 B.C.) of the great plague which Hippocrates attempted to combat.

From this correlation of names it is evident that medicine shared in the general growth of Greek culture, and there is every evidence that Hippocrates was as great a representative of Greek intellect as were his contemporaries. Greece was at the height of its brilliant progress; it was, for the time being, the political, commercial, intellectual, scientific and artistic center of the universe. But among the Greek? the priests were not, fortunately for medicine, political or intellectual leaders; leadership was possessed first by the poets and later by the philosophers, and, under such circumstances, Greek medicine, freed of religious influence and fostered by philosophy, took a substantial form, and, though it contained much of generalized speculation, it had the solid foundation of unbiased observation. The former has perished under the influence of time and progress; the latter, resting on actual experience and genuine biological knowledge, remains. Of the methods of Hippocrates some idea may be obtained from the fact that he is