Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 67.djvu/614

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608
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

PHYSICIANS AND PHILOSOPHERS.
By Professor CHARLES WILLIAM SUPER,

OHIO UNIVERSITY.

ALTHOUGH the initial assonance of physician with philosopher is purely accidental, it is nevertheless a fact that philosophy and the healing art or medical science have been closely associated with each other from their earliest beginnings. It can not but be regarded as a singular coincidence that for two and a half millenniums physic and philosophy, the practitioners of the healing art and the real or professed lovers of knowledge, have been more or less intimate friends. At the beginning they seem to have found themselves in each other's company almost by chance; then by a sort of elective affinity like that which often springs up between persons of opposite sex whose paths in the ordinary course of events incidentally crossed each other, to have discovered that they could make the rest of the journey together to reciprocal advantage.

Herodotus, the Father of History, was a native of Halicarnassus, and Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, his younger contemporary, first saw the light on the island of Kos, only a few leagues distant. Born in the same year with Hippocrates was the philosopher Diogenes, of Apollonia in Crete, whose few literary remains not only attest his interest in human anatomy, but also furnish proof that he early came under the influence of the Ionian thinkers. Though never regarded as a physician, but only as a philosopher, he tells us in one of the very brief fragments that have been preserved that the veins of the human body are divided into two branches; that they pass through the abdominal cavity along the backbone, one on the right side, the other on the left, into the legs; and that two branches pass into the head. He then goes on to describe the course of the blood vessels and their ramifications as far as the ends of the toes, the fingers, and so on. It may safely be assumed from this fragment that Diogenes gave much attention to the structure of the human body.

In the southwestern portions of Asia Minor, the disciples of Asclepias or Æsculapius had several therapeutic establishments, and it is in connection with these that we discover the first signs of what may be called the healing art in the entire ancient world.

It was especially the priests of the temples of Kos and Knidos who cultivated a primitive and simple medical science in connection with