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lightened. It is in this sense that we should regard the first inhabitants of Asia and of Egypt, as the masters who have shewn to the nations of Europe the greatest part of the arts and sciences which we now enjoy. The sciences had already made a pretty great progress in the east at the time when the Greeks scarce knew the first elements.
Greece had produced formerly many famous personages to whom certain writers of that nation would give the honour of the invention of arts and sciences. But the best Greek authors have paid no regard to these popular traditions. They have been the first to ridicule them, and to acknow. ledge that it was from Egypt and Asia that Greece had all its knowledge. The traditions of which I speak attribute, for example, the invention of arithmetic to Palamedes y, Plato with reason takes away the absurdity of such an opinion. " What then,” says he, “ without Palamedes, Agamemnon “ would have been ignorant of the number of his fingers z ?” We must form the same judgment of the other discoveries of which the common people among the Greeks make the great men of the heroic ages pass for the authors. We know in what time these boasted personages lived, and these times are greatly posterior to the coming of the first colonies from Asia and from Egypt into Greece. This is sufficient to demonstrate the forgery of the facts with which certain writers would embellish the history of the ancient heroes of Greece. We can only say in their honour, that having perfected the first knowledge that Greece had originally received from the east, they merited in some sort to be look. ed upon as the inventors.
Without speaking of the Titan princes, of Inachus and Ogyges, we should regard Cecrops, Danaus, and Cadmus, as the authors of the greatest part of the knowledge which, in fucceeding times, has distinguished fo advantageously the Greeks from other people of Europe. These first tinctures, it is true, must have been imperfect enough. The sciences, at the time of the transmigrations of which I speak, had not
See Plate de rep. p. 697.
Loco supra cit.
yet acquired in Asia and in Egypt the degree of perfection to which they came afterwards in those climates. A colony, moreover, could not communicate to a nation among whom they were going to settle, all the discoveries which the country enjoyed from whence they came. 'Even what they brought, would only thrive by length of time. Thus we see, that, for many ages, the sciences only languished among the Greeks. It was necessary to bring them out of that state of infancy, that men of a superior genius, perceiving what their nation wanted, should ascend, if I may so fay, to the fource which had given to Greece its first instructions. They went to draw anew from Egypt and Asia the lights of which they had need. By these voyages they enriched their country with new discoveries; and the disciples foon surpassed their masters. These facts appertained to ages of which I have no occasion to speak. Let us confine ourselves to our object. Let us examine the state of sciences among the Greeks in the times which actually fix our regard : these are them which are designed in antiquity by the name of the heroic times.
T is useless to observe, that originally among the Greeks,
as well as among all the nations of antiquity the profelsions of physician, of surgeon, and apothecary, were united in the same person. That part of medicine which was employed in curing internal distempers, was scarce known to them a. We scarce find any examples of cures of such like distempers. Here is one nevertheless which merits on many accounts our attention. Fable has extremely diffigured it; but it is not difficult to pick from it historical foundations. This fact may serve to make known in what manner many of the remedies had been found : it will also give us room to make some reflections about the recompenses which they gave to the ancient physicians when they succeeded.
a See part 1. book 3. chap. 1,
manner His father called him Amythaon. Nelampus lived about 150 years before the Greek Æsculapius.
History says, that there had happened a most strange accident to the daughters of Prætus, King of Argos. They thought they were metamorphosed into cows b. Fable attributed this singular delirium to the wrath of Bacchus, or to that of Juno •; but it is easy to perceive it was the effect of a distemper of which the physicians report various examples d. Abas, who had possessed the throne of Argos before Prætus, had left by Idomenea his daughter, a grandson named Melampus e. This prince was given to a paftoral life, according to the usage of the early times, when the children of kings and of gods, that is to say, kings thenselves, often kept their owns flocks. The profeflion of a thepherd gave an opportunity to Melampus of making fome discoveries in physic. He passed in antiquity for the first of the Greeks who had found out purges ?. Melampus had rcmarked, that when the goats had eat hellebore, they were violently purged; he thought of having the milk sent to the daughters of Prælus. Others say, that he gave them hellebore alone. It appears, that Melampus joined to that receipt some superstitious remedies 8. He is the first that is faid to have put in practice in Greece these pretended means h. However it was, Melampus fucceeded in curing the daughters of Prætus of their madness.
The physicians of the heroic times did not undertake to cure the sick but for a good sum. The recompense which Melampus required is a proof of it. He demanded first the third part of the kingdom of Argos. The Argives, after some
b Virgil. eclog. 6. v. 48. ; Servius ad hunc loc.
Apollod. 1.2. p. 68. d See P. Ægineta. I 3. de Atra-bile.; Le Clerc, hilt de la medec. 1. 1. p.4. © Apollod. 1. 2. p. 68. & 69.
f Apollod. I. 2. p. 69. & Apollod. ibid. ; Ovid. Nictam. I. 15. V. 325. & feq. ; Serius ubi fupra. . Herod. 184.108.40.206.
difficulties, i Herod. 1. 9. n. 33. ; Apollod l. 2. p. 69.
difficulties, having consented to it, Melampus added to his first demand, that of a third of the same kingdom for his brother Bias. History says, that as all the Argives became mad, they were obliged to agree to all his pretensions i. It is true, that other historians relate the fact in a manner much more natural. They say it was the King of Argos, who, as an acknowledgment, divided his kingdom with Me. lampus and Bias his brother k.
This is not, lastly, the only example that antiquity gives us of such like recompenses granted to physicians. I shall very foon have occasion to relate another. Nevertheless, we shall cease to be astonished at it, when we shall have reflected that these physicians were the sons or grandsons of sovereigns.
We also find another example of cures attributed by an. tiquity to Melampus. But fable has so disguised the fad, and the circumstances agree so little with chronology, that I have not thought proper to relate it '.
All that I could collect about the curing internal distempers in the ages of which we now speak, is nearly reduced lo this. I have already had occasion to remark, that formerly this part of medicine was almost entirely unknown. The science of the first physicians only consisted in the practice of surgery m. The ancients have very well observed, that although they had physicians in the Greek army before Troy, Homer does not say, that they were employed in the plague with which the camp was afflicted, or any other fort of distemper. They were only called to heal the wounded Our reflections then ought only to fall upon the manner in which, in the heroic times, the Greeks treated wounds, Homer will give us some examples.
Servius says only that Melampus made it in his bargain, that they should give him in marriage one of the daughters of Praetus, called Cyrianaffa, with half of the kingdom. Ed eclog. 6. V.48. ķ Diod. 1. 4. p. 313.; Paus. 1. 2.c. 17.
See Le Clerc hist, de la medec. 1. 1. p. 26. & 27. m See Apollod. 1. 3. P. 172. ; Plin. 1.29. c. 1. init.; Hygin, fab. 274. p. 328.; Celf. 1.1. in praefat. ? Çell, loco cit.
In the Iliad Menelaus is wounded with an arrow in the fide : they make Machaon immediately come to heal him. The son of Æsculapius, after having considered the wound, fucks the blood, and puts on it a dressing to appease the pain o. Homer does not specify what entered into that dressing It was only composed, according to all appearances, of some bitter roots. This conjecture is founded on this, that in the description which the poet gives of the healing of such a wound, he says expressly, that they applied to the wound, the juice of a bitter root bruised p. It appears, that this was the only remedy which they then knew. The virtue of these plants is to be ftyptic. They use them for hindering fuppuration, and by that means to procure a reunion of the wounds more readily. These bitter roots had the same effect as brandy and other spirituous liquors, of which they make use at this time. But these fort of remedies must have caused much pain to the wounded, by the irritations and inflammations which they could not fail of occasioning +.
I had forgot to say, that their first care at that time, was to wash the wounds with warm water 9. We see also, that after that they knew and practised the suction".
• L. 4. V. 218. & 219.
* Plato, repub. 1. 3. p. 623. has cited this wound of Menelaus for an example of the manner in which they cured wounds in the heroic times; but as he makes use of the expressions of Homer, he can give us no insight into the nature of the remedies that Homer means.
P Pilav Tingav. Iliad. 1. 11. v. 845. 846.
+ This is what makes me think, that we must not take literally the epithets wbich Homer gives to these sort of remedies. He calls them niet, odurápata paguara, Soft remedies, alleviating. I think, that by these terms the poet would only say, that these remedies alleviated the pain, by procuring the tealing of the wounds. See Iliad. I. 5. V. 401.
4 Iliad. 1. 11. v. 845. 1. 14. v. 6. & feq. r Ibid. l. 4. V. 218. It must be agreed, that the word éx pevçurus, which Horner uses on this occasion, is susceptible of two interpretations; for it may also signify simply to wipe the wound after having pressed it. This is the sense which Le Clerc has Allowed. Hist, dela médecine, 1. 1. p. 49. & 50.
But besides that many interpreters have thought, that on this occasion Homer had intended to mean fuction, 1 am determined by the authority of Eustathius, who takes it in this sense. He even adds, that in his time, among the most barbarous nations, they practised this remedy which would fucceed commonly. VOL. II. LI