Age of foundation of the history of medicine
Extending from the origin of society to the end of the second century of the christian era.
When a great number of pathological descriptions, sufficiently detailed, were collected, the embarrassment of such an accumulation began to be realized. Indeed, how could such a mass of material, arranged without any order, be made serviceable '? How find in this pell-mell the record they wished to consult - the tableau which answered best the symptoms of the disease before them ? No man's memory was equal to such a task.
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The Trojan war, celebrated in the Songs of Homer, appears in Greek antiquity as a luminous point in the midst of
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The priests of Esculapius formed, as we have before said, a separate caste, transmitting from one to another their medical knowledge as a family heritage. In the remotest times, no layman, according to the report of Galen, was admitted to participate in the sacred science, but at a later period, this severe secrecy was relaxed. They consented to reveal their secrets
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Hippocrates was born in the isle of Cos, of a family in which the practice of Medicine was hereditary. They pretended to trace their ancestry, on the male side, to Esculapius, and on the female side to Hercules. They count as many as seven of its members that had borne the name of Hippocrates ; but the most celebrated of all was the
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All antiquity has had faith in dreams, prophets and philosophers- strong and weak minds, all believed that the Divinity employed these means to reveal the future and instruct us in his designs. Sacred and profane history are full of examples that attest the universality of this sentiment. It is, then, more than probable that the
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We have already said, that nearly everywhere the temples of Esculapius were dispensaries, in which advice was given and remedies administered, and that the young sacerdotal aspirants were there trained in the practice of Medicine. The Asclepiadae had preserved, until that epoch, the tradition of the Egypto-Indian school, which only allowed
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Fifty years after the destruction of the kingdom of Priam, there was elevated at Titanus, a city of the Peleponnesus, the first temple in honor of Esculapius. Very soon the worship of this god was spread throughout Greece, whence it passed into Asia, Africa, and Italy. Among a multitude of temples which were consecrated to him, those at
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It is an incontestible fact, that Medicine was practiced and taught in the gymnasiae of Greece, a long time before the Asclepiadae had divulged the secret of their doctrines.(See Plato - Laws : Daniel Leclerc, Hist, de la Medicine : C. Sprengel, Hist, le la Medicine : M. Houdart, Etudes Historiques et Critiques Bur la Doctrine d'Hippocrate. Paris, 1840, in 8vo) There were in these establishments three orders of physicians. A director termed the gymnasiarch, whose duties consisted in regulating the diet of the Athlete, and of the young men who frequented these schools ; a sub-director, or gymnast, who directed the pharmaceutic treatment of the sick ; lastly, subalterns, named jatraliptes, who put up prescriptions, annointed, frictioned, bled, dressed wounds and ulcers, reduced luxations, fractures, etc.
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