Page:The Outline of History Vol 1.djvu/428

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demned the study of anatomy and developed the science of drugs. But this scientific blaze at Alexandria did not endure altogether for more than a century. The organization of the Museum was not planned to ensure its mental continuity. It was a "royal" college; its professors and fellows (as we may call them) were appointed and paid by Pharaoh. "The republican character of the private corporations called the schools or academies at Athens was far more stable and independent."[1] Royal patronage was all very well so long as Pharaoh was Ptolemy I, or Ptolemy II, but the strain degenerated, and the long tradition of Egyptian priestcraft presently swallowed up the Ptolemies—and destroyed the Aristotelian mentality of the Museum altogether. The Museum had not existed for a hundred years before its scientific energy was extinct.

Side by side with the Museum, Ptolemy I created a more enduring monument to himself in the great library. This was a combination of state library and state publishing upon a scale hitherto unheard of. It was to be altogether encyclopædic. If any stranger brought an unknown book to Egypt, he had to have it copied for the collection, and a considerable staff of copyists was engaged continually in making duplicates of all the more popular and necessary works. The library, like a university press, had an outward trade. It was a book-selling affair. Under Callimachus, the head of the library during the time of Ptolemy II and III, the arrangement and cataloguing of the accumulations was systematically undertaken. In those days, it must be remembered, books were not in pages, but rolled like the music-rolls of the modern piano-player, and in order to refer to any particular passage, a reader had to roll back or roll forward very tediously, a process which wore

    opened while a man yet lives, but as soon as the knife reaches the thorax (præcordium), and cuts the transverse septum, which is a membrane dividing the superior parts from the inferior and called diaphragma by the Greeks, the man at once gives up the ghost, and thus it is the breast and its viscera of a dead and not a living man which the murderous physician examines. He has thus but performed a cruel murder, and has not learned what the viscera of a living man are like."
    Celsus' own judgment is given a little later: "To dissect a living body is both cruel and unnecessary; to dissect dead bodies is necessary."
    It is to be noted, says Professor Murray, that Herophilus and Erasistratus were not living in a Greek city state, but under an oriental despot.

  1. Mahaffy.