Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 85.djvu/472

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an incision is made in the groin and the pelvis incised and explored. He did a ligation operation for hemorrhoids, wrote in detail on the use of the catheter, and considered the suprapubic opening of the bladder for stone a simple procedure if we can believe him.

The Jewish physicians are important figures in this period of the history of medicine. Many of their scholars attained distinction as surgeons and writers; the best known of these, Maimonides, or Moses Ægyptius, was surgeon to Saladin and lived in the twelfth century. Spain, the rich Roman province which had produced Lucan, the Senecas, Martial and Quintillian, did not entirely lose its traditions of culture after the barbarians from the north fell upon it, and the Moors, hungry for knowledge, came to a feast of which they were soon the masters.

The most distinguished Arabian surgical writer of the ninth century was Rhazes, a Persian by birth, who was a singer until he was thirty. He was a follower of Aristotle and Galen and wrote some 200 works, including a complete system of medicine and surgery. He treated fractures with intelligence and discussed the treatment of wounds of the intestine. Vesalius thought so well of his principal work that he translated it, but later destroyed the translation. Ali Abbas, who succeeded Rhazes in prestige, wrote a book, the Liber Regis, dedicated to his patron the Sultan. This was the leading Arabian textbook until the Canons of Avicenna appeared. A method of ligating the median basilic vein in troublesome hemorrhage after venessection is described, as well as the technique of tapping the peritoneal cavity in ascites. This work was translated by Constantine, and printed in Venice in 1492.

Albucasis, a Spanish Moor, born, like Maimonides, near Cordova, was probably the greatest of the Arabian surgeons. He lived in the second half of the tenth century, and is reputed to have attained the age of 101. While his writings cover the entire field of medical knowledge, his three volumes on surgery are most original, and are the first illustrated surgical writings that have come down to us. Fabricius, Harvey's teacher, declared that he owed most of his knowledge to three writers, Celsus, Paul of Ægina and Albucasis. Albucasis emphasized the importance to the surgeon of a knowledge of anatomy. In discussing the treatment of hemorrhage he advises the use of the cautery, complete division of the partially severed artery, hemostatic applications and bandaging. He classifies nasal polyps, advises the snare for their removal, has ingenious methods for removing foreign bodies from the ear, makes some advances in genito-urinary surgery, and differentiates between epitheliomata and condylomata. He talks of the extirpation of varicose veins, but wisely says this operation should not be resorted to unless absolutely necessary. He diagnoses fracture of the pubic arch, and when it occurs in the fe-