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is deep, prognosis is much better. Even in cases where indurated tumors of the breast occur that might be removed without danger of bleeding, it is better to use the cautery freely, though the amputation of such a portion down to the healthy parts may suffice." Aetius quotes this with approval.
Others before Aetius had suggested the connection between hypertrophy of the clitoris and certain exaggerated manifestations of the sexual instinct, and the development of vicious sexual habits. As might be expected from this first great Christian physician and surgeon, he emphasizes this etiology for certain cases, and outlines an operation for it. This operation had been suggested before, but Aetius goes into it in detail and describes just how the operation should be done, so as to secure complete amputation of the enlarged organ, yet without injury. He warns of the danger of removing more than just the structure itself, because this may give rise to ugly and bothersome scars. After the operation a sponge wet with astringent wine should be applied, or cold water, especially if there is much tendency to bleeding, and afterwards a sponge with manna or frankincense scattered over it should be bound on. He treats of other pathological conditions of the female genitalia, varicose veins, growths of various kinds, hypertrophy of the portio vaginalis uteri, an operation for which is described, and of various tumors. He describes epithelioma very clearly, enumerates its most frequent locations in their order, lays down its bad prognosis, and hence the necessity for early operation with entire removal of the new growth whenever possible. He
feared hemorrhage very much, however, and warns with regard to it, and evidently had had some very unfortunate experiences in the treatment of these conditions.
Aetius seems to have had as thoroughly scientific an interest in certain phases of chemistry apart from medicine as any educated physician of the modern time might have. Mr. A. P. Laurie, in his "Materials of the Printer's Craft,"1 calls attention to the fact that the earliest reference to the use of drying oil for varnish is made by the physician Aetius.
Aetius, or Aetios, to use for the nonce the Greek spelling of his name, which sometimes occurs in medical literature, and should be known, has been the subject of very varied estimation at different times. About the time of the Renaissance he was one of the first of the early writers on medicine accorded the honor of printing, and then was reprinted many times, so that his estimation was very high. With the reawakening of clinical medicine in the seventeenth century his reputation waxed again, and Boerhaave declared that the works of Aetius had as much importance for physicians as had the Pandects of Justinian for lawyers. This high estimation had survived almost from the time of the Renaissance, when Cornelius went so far as to say: "Believe me, that whoever is deeply desirous of studying things medical, if he would have the whole of Qalen abbreviated and the whole of Oribasius extended, and the whole of Paulus (of JEgina) amplified, if he would have all the special remedies of the old physicians as well in pharmacy as in surgery boiled down to a summa for all affections, he will find it in Aetius." Naturally enough, this exaggerated estimation was followed by a reaction, in which Aetius came to be valued at much less than he deserved. After all is taken into account in the vicissitudes of his fame, it is clear, however, that he is one of the most important links in the chain of medical tradition, and himself worthy to be classed among makers of medicine for his personal observations and efforts to pass on the teachings of the old to succeeding generations.
1 Foulis, London and Edinburgh, 1910.
ALEXANDEB OF TRALLES
An even more striking example than the life and work of Aetius as evidence for the encouragement and patronage of medicine in early Christian times, is to be found in the career of Alexander of Tralles, whose writings have been the subject of most careful attention in the Renaissance period and in our own, and who must be considered one of the great independent thinkers in medicine. While it is usually assumed that whatever there was of medical writing during the Middle Ages was mere copying and compilation, here at least is a man who could not only judiciously select, but who could critically estimate the value of medical opinions and procedure, and weighing them by his own experience and observation, turn out work that was valuable for all succeeding generations. The modern German school of medical historians have agreed in declaring him an independent thinker and physician, who represents a distinct link in medical tradition.
He came of a distinguished family, in which the following of medicine as a profession might be looked upon as hereditary. His father was a physician, and it is probable that there were physicians in preceding generations, and one of his brothers, Dioscoros, was also a successful physician. Altogether four of his brothers reached such distinction in their life work that their names have come down to us through nearly fifteen hundred years. The eldest of them was Anthemios, the builder of the great church of Santa Sophia in Constantinople. As this is one of the world's great churches, and still stands for the admiration of men a millennium and a half after its completion, it is easy to understand that Anthemios' reputation is well founded. A second brother was Metrodoros, a distinguished grammarian and teacher, especially of the youthful nobility of Byzantium, as it was then called, or Constantinople, as we have come to call it. A third brother was a prominent jurist, also in Constantinople. The fourth brother, Dioscoros, like Alexander, a physician, remained in his birthplace, Tralles, and acquired there a great practice.
It was with his father at Tralles that Alexander received his early medical training. The father of a friend and colleague, Cosmas, who later dedicated a book to Alexander, was also his teacher, while he was in his native city. As a young man, Alexander undertook extensive travels, which led him into Italy, Gaul, Spain, and Africa, everywhere gathering medical knowledge and medical experience. Then he settled down at Rome, probably in an official position, and practised medicine successfully until a very old age. He was probably eighty years of age when, some time during the first decade of the seventh century, he died.
Puschmann, who has made a special study of Alexander's life and work, suggests that since some of his books have the form of academic lectures he was probably a teacher of medicine at Rome. As might be expected from what we know of the relations of the rest of the family to the nobility of the time, it is easy to understand, especially in connection with hints in Alexander's favorite modes of therapeutics, that costliness of remedies made no difference to his patients, that he must have had the treatment of some of the wealthiest families in Rome.
His principal work is a Treatise on the Pathology and Therapeutics of Internal Diseases, in twelve books. The first eleven books were evidently material gathered for lectures or teaching of some kind. The twelfth book, in which considerable use of Aetius' writings is made, was written, according to Puschmann, toward the end of Alexander's life, and was meant to contain supplementary matter, comprising especially his views gathered from observation as to the pathology of internal diseases. A shorter treatise of Alexander is with regard to intestinal parasites. There are many printed editions of these books, and many manuscript copies are in existence. Alexander was often quoted during the Middle Ages, and in recent years, with the growth of our knowledge of medical history, he has come to be a favorite subject of study.