Images de page
PDF
ePub

medans towards education. Though the building is still standing, the institution of learning is no longer there. As Hyrtl remarks, it is not ideas that are exchanged in it now, but articles of commerce. It has become the chief office of the Turkish customs department in Bagdad.

These institutions of the higher learning, founded by the Arabs, at first as rather strict imitations of the museums or academies of Egypt and Asia Minor, gradually changed their character under the Arabs. Their courses became much more formal, examinations became much more important. Scholarship was sought not so much for its own sake, as because it led to positions in the civil service, to the favor of princes, and, in general, to reputation and pecuniary reward. Formal testimonials proclaiming education, signed by the academic authorities, were introduced and came to mean much. Lawyers could not practise without a license, physicians also required a license. These formalities were adopted by the Western medieval universities to a considerable degree and have been perpetuated in the modern time. Undoubtedly they did much to hamper real education among the Arabs by setting in place of the satisfaction of learning for its own sake and the commendation of teachers the formal recognition of a certain amount of work done as recognized by the educational authorities. There was al ways a tendency among the Arabs to formulate and formalize, to over-systematize what they were at; to think that new knowledge could be obtained simply by speculating over what was already acquired, and developing it. There are a number of comparisons between this and later periods of education that might be suggested if comparisons were not odious.

The influence of Arabian medicine on modern medicine can, perhaps, best be judged from the number of words in our modern nomenclature, which, though bearing Latin forms, often with suggestion of Greek origins, still are not derived from the old Latin or Greek authors, but represent Arabic terms translated into Latin during the Renaissance period. Hyrtl, without pretence of quoting them all, gives a list of these which is surprising in its comprehensiveness. For instance, the mediastinum, the sutura sagittalis, the scrobiculus cordis, the marsupium cordis, the chambers of the heart, the velum palati, the trochanter, the rima glottidis, the fontanelles, the alæ of the nose, all have their present names, not from original Latin expressions, but from the translation of Arabic terms. For all such words the Greeks and Romans have quite other expressions, in which the sense of our modern terms is not contained. This has given rise to many misunderstandings, and to many attempts in the modern times to return to the classic terminology rather than preserve what in many cases are the barbarisms introduced through the Arabic, but it is doubtful whether any comprehensive reform in the matter can be effected, so strongly entrenched in medical usage have these terms now become.

Freind, in his “ History of Medicine," already cited, calls attention to the fact that the Arabs had an unfortunate tendency to change by addition or subtraction of their own views the authors that they

ing their hands. They delighted in theory, rather than in observation.”

While we thus discuss the lack of originality and the tendency to over-refinement among the Arabian medical writers, it must not be thought that we would make little of what they accomplished. They not only preserved the old medical writers for us, but they kept alive practical medicine with the principles of the great Greek thinkers as its basis. There are a large number of writers of Arabian medicine whose names have secured deservedly a high place in medical history. If this were a formal history of Arabian medicine, their careers and works would require discussion. For our purpose, however, it seems better to confine attention to a few of the most prominent Arabian writers on medicine, because they will serve to illustrate how thoroughly practical were the Arabian physicians and how many medical problems that we are prone to think of as modern they occupied themselves with, solving them not infrequently nearly as we do in the modern time.

VI

THE MEDICAL SCHOOL AT SALERNO

The Medical School at Salerno, probably organized early in the tenth century, often spoken of as the darkest of the centuries, and reaching its highest point of influence at the end of the twelfth century, is of great interest in modern times for a number of reasons. First it brought about in the course of its development an organization of medical education, and an establishment of standards that were to be maintained whenever and wherever there was a true professional spirit down to our own time. They insisted on a preliminary education of three years of college work, on at least four years of medical training, on special study for specialist's work, as in surgery, and on practical training with a physician or in a hospital before the student was allowed to practise for himself. At Salerno, too, the department of women's diseases was given over to women professors, and we have the text-books of some of these women medical teachers. The license to practise given to women, however, seems to have been general and did not confine them merely to the care of women and children. We have records of a number of these licenses issued to women in the neighborhood of Salerno. This subject of feminine medical education at Salerno, because of its special interest in our time, will have a chapter by itself.

These are the special features of medical education in our own time that we are rather prone to think of as originating with ourselves and as being indices of that evolution of humanity and progress in mankind which are culminating in our era. It is rather interesting, then, to study just how these developments came about and what the genesis of this great school was. The books of its professors were widely read, not only in their own generation but for centuries afterwards. With the invention of printing at the time of the Renaissance most of them were printed and exerted profound influence over the revival of medicine which took place at that time. Salerno became the first of the universities in the modern sense of the word. Here there gathered round the medical school, first a preparatory department representing modern college work, and then departments of theology and law, though this latter department particularly was never quite successful. The fact that the first university, that of Salerno, should have been organized round a medical school, the second, that of Bologna, around a law school, and the third, that of Paris, around a school of theology and philosophy, would seem to represent the ordinary natural process of development in human interests. First man is interested in himself and in his health, then in his property, and finally in his relations to his fellow-man and to God.

Though much work has been done on the subject in recent years, it is not easy to trace the origin of the medical school at Salerno. The difficulty is emphasized by the fact that even the earliest chroniclers whose accounts we have were not sure as to its

« PrécédentContinuer »