Page:A history of laryngology and rhinology (1914).djvu/109

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.
105
INFLUENCE OF ARABIAN SCIENCE

explanation of the deed. He himself was one of the most learned men of his times, but the intellectual treasures of the Ancient World had been lavished on his barbarian soul in vain. Some manuscripts, it is true, with other weaklings had found a refuge in the hidden recesses of the cloisters of sordid monks, who sought as eagerly for safety in this world as for Paradise in the next, but these manuscripts escaped rather through the negligence than the respect of the priestly rabble.^ Famous schools, it is true, existed at Monte Cassino, Amalfi, Naples, and Salerno during the ^Middle Ages, but what their learning consisted of it is impossible to know. Professor Ordronaux's elegant edition of the Regimen Salernitanum gives a hint of it in many places. We may easily form a picture of a circle of lusty, merry, dirty monks sitting around a rough table, and with beer mugs and drinking horns held on high roaring forth the refrain:

"Si tibi serotina noceat potatio vini Hora matutina rebibas, et erit medicina."

Influence of Arabian Science. — The origin of the School of Salerno is unknown, but there is little doubt that such learning as there existed was derived through the Jews and possibly through other sources from the Arabians. It was there, or at Monte Cassino (1086), that Constantine, an African prelate, after a sojourn of thirty-nine years among the Arabians, where he is said to have been a pupil of Avicenna, wrote his plagiaristic works which he did not dare, and perhaps did not wish, to credit to the pagans, Hippocrates, Galen, Avicenna and Haly Abbas, from whom everything in them of value was miserably transcribed. By such means, at first secretely, then openly, the knowledge of the Arabs found its way into Europe through Italy and Spain, and this process was greatly facilitated by a few enlightened individuals, who, like Constantine, had spent their youth at the courts of the Arabian monarchs.

Averrhoes introduced skepticism, "le flambeau de la science," as some Frenchman calls it, to the Arabians and was duly hated by the ^Mahometan and Christian dogmatist alike, })ut this was a mere undercurrent in Christian Europe for a long time, too feeble to be perceived amidst the robust but groveling superstition of the times. Pope Sylvester II had been educated at Cordova, spoke Arabic like a Saracen, and had been elevated (999 a.d.) by the politics of the time to the chair of St. Peter as a creature of the Emperor Otto HI. The influence of the Arabians on the

' Daremberg: Hist, dcs Sciences Med., Vol. I, p. 25G, quotes from a mediaeval author as follows:

C'lerici nostri tciiiporis polius sequntur scholas Antc-Christi quam Christi, potius dediti gula; (|uain glossa;: potius coUiguiit libras quam leguiit librcs; libentius imitantur Martham quam Mariam.