(From medeor, to heal). Medicine. The history of the science which is the chief object of our work, must necessarily detain us for some time; yet, to avoid an article of an extremely disproportioned length, we have broken it in a manner already explained, and shall, in the references at the end, collect the scattered limbs, so as to form one whole. At present, we must examine the history and the progress of medicine; and if, for ages, we find reason to lament its slow advance towards improvement, if we sometimes find it stationary, and occasionally even retrograde, the causes will furnish abundant proof of the imbecility of our boasted reason, of the vast extent of science, of the limited powers" of human intellect.

It would be idle to trace at length the probable origin of medicine, or determine whether it be the result of random experiment, of imitation from observing the instinct of brutes, or of divine inspiration. Disease is the lot of humanity; and remedies, or at least attempts to relieve, must be coeval with disordered functions. The obvious means of procuring relief was to expose the patient in the streets, and to obtain, if possible, the advantage of greater sagacity, or more extensive experience; and when either a natural sagacity and opportunities of observation were combined with a ready recollection, they constituted the physician of rude ages, as they often constitute one at the present moment. Priests, as possessing greater leisure and more frequent opportunities of observation, were probably the first medical practitioners, and the most successful physicians were soon deified. Superstition gradually mixed in the scene, and dreams in the temples of the gods, or incantations and amulets, soon corrupted the few lights which experience had suggested. Yet however superstition or design may have corrupted the fountains, the stream was preserved with tolerable purity by the means of the temples; for these were the receptacles of the earliest records, the histories of cases recorded by the patients, and from the temples of AEsculapius Hippocrates is supposed to have drawn his best observations. We owe only to a sarcasm of a later era one of the remedies of the sacred fane, viz. the fat of pork in consumptive cases; and, of all animal foods, this is perhaps the least injurious in such cases.

To the Egyptians medicine, with every other science, is said to be chiefly indebted; and we are told, with a triumphant confidence, of their Thoth, who was probably only an allegorical personage, and, of Isis, perhaps only a regal title. Horns the son of Isis, the Apollo of the Greeks, was seemingly a real person; but of his acquisitions in medicine we know nothing except from the claims of his adopting parents; who have mixed them too copiously with fable to enable us to discriminate their true value. ' The real knowledge of the Egyptians in medicine it is not easy to appreciate; for, as we have remarked, (see Chiruhgia,) Prosper Alpinus wrote in a period when the later improvements had been carried to Egypt. Blumenbach has, however, shown, that the process of embalming was hastily and rudely conducted; ' and we cannot attribute any scientific knowledge of medicine to those who confined the management of each disorder to a single family, a single disease to one practitioner, and limited, by law, the use of medicine to a definite period of the complaint. It is said we are indebted to them for the use of clysters; but it is more certain that they excelled in prognostics, which must be the result of careful observation. This talent Galen, while he highly commends, attributes to astrology. Their remedies were chiefly diaetetic, if we except, perhaps, the nepenthe. The medical knowledge of the Chinese, the Israelites, and the Brachmans, need not detain us. Among each it was inconsiderable; and the chief merits of the first seem to have consisted in punctures with needles; of the second in distinctions between clean and unclean beasts; and of the third in botanical knowledge.

The early Grecian medicine was chiefly chirurgical; and though we hear of internal remedies, yet we have no clue to guide us respecting their nature, as the assertions of some authors nearer the period of their introduction are contradicted by others. Amidst the darkness of the fabulous ages we must acknowledge that the baths of Hecate, Circe, and Medea, seem to show some knowledge of the powers of vegetables externally employed; and the tale of the poisened shirt of Deianiria equally implies the knowledge of deleterious plants, even if some of the circumstances in Medea's story should be wholly fabulous.

The events of the Trojan war, which called for the interposition of art, were chiefly, if not exclusively, external injuries; and there is a very slight foundation for supposing, from the language of Homer, that internal medicines were at any time exhibited. Nepenthe was almost the only instance, for the moly was an amulet. If the temples of Philostratus were at a subsequent period crowded with votaries, who sought his aid in consumptions, dropsies, intermittents, and diseases of the eyes, we must rather attribute the removal of the complaints to the arts of the priests or the credulity of the votaries, than to the interference of the deceased hero, who is not represented as having possessed any medicinal powers. AEsculapius, who accompanied the Argonauts, is not mentioned in the Iliad, so that he probably died in the interval; but his fame was preserved in his temples, where the artifices of the priests in choosing a healthy spot shaded with trees,and combining various species of amusement, contributed perhaps more to the patient's recovery than their medicines.

The Asclepiadiae seem never, before the time of

Hippocrates, to have practised beyond the confines of their temples; but they had various schools, of which the Coan and the Gnidian were the chief. Their anatomical knowledge, of which they boasted, was rude and incorrect; their practice we can scarcely judge of from the different application of their terms. We should suppose them to have employed drastic purgatives, since they used the elaterium and the grana Gnidia. Yet we learn from Dioscorides how much the ancient elaterium differed from ours, and the Medicina 4866 or grana Gnidia may, as the word implies, have been only pills. The Coan and Gnidian schools were, however, the chief rivals, and the Gnidian sentences, the compilation of Euryphon, of an age somewhat anterior to that of Hippocrates, is severely criticised by the latter. He complains of the little attention which the Gnidian school paid to the observation of diseases; of the severity of their remedies; their unreasonably increasing the number of diseases, and the little attention they inculcated respecting diet. The only distinguished author of this school known to us is Ctesias, and, from his works, some fragments are preserved.