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But for these saving passages, we should have been disposed to compare the state of medicine in the best days of Greece with that described by Mr. Palgrave as existing in Central Arabia at the present day, where the physician must first persuade his patient, and then. bargain with him for his fee, before he can begin to treat the case. We have even a hint of such a habit being ridiculed (Laws, 857, E), 'For by this you may be sure,' says the Athenian speaker, that if one of these empirical physicians, who practise medicine without science, were to come upon the gentleman physician talking to his gentle patient, and using the language almost of philosophy-beginning at the beginning of the disease, and discoursing about the whole nature of the body—he would burst into a hearty laugh, he would say what most of those who are called doctors always have on their tongue :-"Foolish fellow," he would say, "you are not healing the sick man, but you are educating him, and he does not want to be made a doctor, but to get well." It appears, then, that though fashionable, and thought philosophical, this persuasive treatment was even in Plato's day beginning to be duly appreciated1. The age of Euripides was waning, that of Menander was approaching, in which accurate discussion was no longer a duty and a delight, but a trouble and a bore.
We know that the establishments of doctors (larpeîa) were quite different from apothecaries' shops, and that relatively the two professions ranked as they now do.
But unfortunately, one solitary allusion to an hospital", 1 Cp. Jowett i. p. 28.
2 Tawviov in Crates, Meineke, ii. 238, and cp. Schol. ad Aristoph. Ach. 1211.
which appears to have been situate in the Peiræus, gives us no insight into the public care of health, beyond the appointment of state-doctors. We hear that Peisistratus appointed part of the state-fund to support such soldiers as were maimed in the public service. curious contrast to the supposed law about the papμakoí, to which I have already alluded.
It appears that even in Platonic days, when medicine had been long domiciled at Athens, the traditional superiority of the Western schools, and those of Dorian Asia Minor, still held its ground. We may infer this from a curious point mentioned as early as Crates, but repeated by Epicrates and Alexis1. Just as our doctors must prescribe in what is called bog-Latin, and we should look with disgust upon the ignorance of a good English recipé, so the doctors at Athens were despised if they did not prescribe in Doric Greek. The very remedy disdained under its Attic name was adopted if supported by a Doric brogue. Whether this fashion implies (as I believe) that foreigners were regarded to be the best doctors, or that the Athenian must sojourn in a foreign Doric school, and so learn to prescribe in its dialect— the fact remains a very curious monument of the modernness of Attic life.
I have been considering nothing but the social side of medical practice in these remarks. It is, of course, both beyond my knowledge, and beside my subject, to criticise Greek medicine as to its principles, or to express an opinion on such prescriptions as that of 1 Meineke, Com. Frag. ii. p. 249; iii. p. 448.
Eryximachus, in Plato's Symposium (187 A). These enquiries belong to the history of medicine, and must be based on the Hippocratic writings-an interesting but very difficult study. I shall content myself with saying something on the lower side of medical practice, I mean the non-professional, or quack side.
This rude and ignorant practice held its place into the best Attic times, side by side with rational medicine.' It was, of course, practised by women, who were the only advisers permitted in the case of female diseases, as appears from Euripides 2; it was also kept up by the secret cures existing in certain clans and families, such as that mentioned by Dicæarchus in later times as still in his day subsisting at Mount Pelion. There was here a certain plant, which, according to divers preparations, was a certain cure for gout, for mesenteric diseases, and for ophthalmia. But these virtues are known to one family in the city, said to be descended from Chiron. The secret is transmitted from father to son, and so preserved that no other citizen knows it. Those who know the use of the drug have a conscientious objection (oux oσtov) against taking fees from the sick, but heal them gratis.' I know of exactly similar instances at present in Ireland; in one, a case of cancer was absolutely cured among my own
1 On Aristophanes' Plutus 879, the scholiast tells us in a curious note that medicated rings were sold at Athens for a drachma each.
Hipp. 292. There is, however (Dem. прòs 'Оvŋτ. A, p. 873), a case of a married woman being attended by a doctor in presence of her husband. On Dicæarchus, cp. Müller, Fragg. ii. 263.
acquaintance, in another, a sprain, which had baffled the best surgeons, was subdued in a few weeks. In these cases, too, it was oux oolov for the practitioner to take ostensible fees, rather however from the conscientious objections of the profession than from his own'. I have, however, heard the greatest and most philosophical physicians say that there was a great deal of sound empirical knowledge in the practice of these country quacks.
But quite apart from these isolated cases, there seems to have been a systematic priest-craft attached to such temples as that of Esculapius, where people went and lay down, hoping for a miraculous cure from the god. Doubtless the priests attached to these temples had collected a great deal of real knowledge in diseases, and applied rational cures often enough; nevertheless, the habit of asserting miracles, the occult nature of their practice, and the known conservatism of all priestly corporations, make it certain that we should count these temple-hospitals, not with the licensed establishments of physicians, but with the houses of the quacks. A curious scene in one of these temples is to be found in the Plutus of Aristophanes (vv. 655 sqq.) where it is hard to separate the jokes from the earnest, as is usually the case in Greek Comedy, but where the general mise en scène is of course taken from life. The various details are hardly fit for translation; but it appears that the patients were brought in, and lay down to sleep attended by their friends, being directed on no account to stir if they heard a noise at 1 One of these quacks told a friend of mine, who consulted him, 'that the head doctors would skiver him, if they caught him taking a fee.'
night. The slave who tells the story then gives an amusing account how the priests stole the offerings of food placed near the heads of the patients, and how he followed their example. Then he describes the god coming in, accompanied by personages carrying his medicine-chest and implements. The cures on this occasion were for ophthalmia, and it may possibly be inferred, that in the case of a well-known man, whom the poet disliked, the appliances made him (as the poet says) far worse; but perhaps this is only fun, or a wish turned into a fact.
These details, gathered from various authors, give us a very clear notion of the social position of the medical profession in Plato's day, nor do I know any better way of transporting ourselves back to old times, than by comparing the status of special classes with these same classes in our own day. For this reason I shall take up a lower profession, but doubtless a more important one at Athens, I mean the caterers, and this includes two great classes, the fishmongers and the cooks, who not only dressed, but generally provided the entertainments.
On no point is the Middle Comedy to us more explicit, seeing that we have it filtered through Athenæus, who excerpted largely in this direction.
There was no limit to the importance which the Cooks gave themselves, according to the Middle and New Comedy. It was no mere trade, but a natural gift, a special art, a school of higher philosophy. Here is a specimen.
A. 'It is necessary for the cook to know long beforehand for whom he is to prepare the dinner; for if he