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might be mentioned. As we shall see, Rome drained Greece and Asia Minor of their best, and appropriated to herself the genius products of the Spanish Peninsala. Rome had a way of absorbing what was best in the provinces for herself.
Just as soon as Rome was cut off from intimate relations with the provinces by the inwandering of barbarians, intellectual decadence began. The imperial city itself had never been the source of great intellectual achievement, and the men whom we think of as important contributors to Rome's literature and philosophy were usually not born within the confines of the city. It is surprising to take a list of the names of the Latin writers whom we are accustomed to set down simply as Romans and note their birthplaces. Rome herself gave birth to but a very small percentage of them. Virgil was born at Mantua, Cicero at Arpinum, Horace out on the Sabine farm, the Plinys out of the city, Terence in Africa, Persius up in Central Italy somewhere, Livy at Padua, Martial, Quintilian, the Senecas, and Lucan in Spain. When the government of the city ceased to be such as assured opportunity for those from outside who wanted to make their way, decadence came to Roman literature. Large cities have never in history been the fruitful mothers of men who did great things. Genius, and even talent, has always been born out of the cities in which it did its work. It is easy to understand, then, the decadence of the intellectual life that took place as the Empire degenerated.
For the sake of all that it meant in the Roman Empire to look towards Rome at this time, however, it seemed better to the early Christians to establish the centre of their jurisdiction there. Necessarily, then, in all that related to the purely intellectual life, they came under the influences that were at work at Rome at this time. During the first centuries they suffered besides from the persecutions directed against them by the Emperors at various times, and these effectually prevented any external manifestations of the intellectual life on the part of Christians. It took much to overcome this serious handicap, but noteworthy progress was made in spite of obstacles, and by the time of Constantine many important officials of the Empire, the educated thinking classes of Rome, had become Christians. After the conversion of the Emperor opportunities began to be afforded, but political disturbances consequent upon barbarian influences still further weakened the old civilization until much of the intellectual life of it almost disappeared.
Gradually the barbarians, finding the Roman Empire decadent, crept in on it, and though much more of the invasion was peaceful than we have been accustomed to think, the Romans simply disappearing because family life had been destroyed, children had become infrequent, and divorce had become extremely common, it was not long before they replaced the Romans almost entirely. These new peoples had no heritage of culture, no interest in the intellectual life, no traditions of literature or science, and they had to be gradually lifted up out of their barbarism. This was the task that Christianity had to perform. That it succeeded in accomplishing it is one of the marvels of history.
The Church's first grave duty was the preservation of the old records of literature and of science. Fortunately the monasteries accomplished this task, which would have been extremely perilous for the precious treasures involved but for the favorable conditions thus afforded. Libraries up to this time were situated mainly in cities, and were subject to all the vicissitudes of fire and war and other modes of destruction that came to cities in this disturbed period. Monasteries, however, were usually situated in the country, were built very substantially and very simply, and the life in them formed the best possible safeguard against fire, which worked so much havoc in cities. As we shall see, however, not only were the old records preserved, but excerpts from them were collated and discussed and applied by means of direct observation. This led the generations to realize more and more the value of the old Greek medicine and made them take further precautions for its preservation.
The decadence of the early Middle Ages was due to the natural shifting of masses of population of this time, while the salvation of scientific and literary traditions was due to the one stable element in all these centuries--the Church. Far from Christianity inhibiting culture, it was the most important factor for its preservation, and it provided the best stimulus and incentive for its renewed development just as soon as the barbarous peoples were brought to a state of mind to appreciate it.
Bearing this in mind, it is easier to understand the course of medical traditions through the Middle Ages, and especially in the earlier period, with re
gard to which our documents are comparatively seanty, and during which the disturbed conditions made medical developments impossible, and anything more than the preservation of the old authors ont of the question. The torch of medical illumination lighted at the great Greek fires passes from people to people, never quenched, though often burning low because of unfavorable conditions, but sometimes with new fuel added to its flame by the contributions of genius. The early Christians took it up and kept it lighted, and, with the Jewish physicians, carried it through the troublous times of the end of the old order, and then passed it on for a while to the Arabs. Then, when favorable conditions had developed again, Christian schools and scholars gave it the opportunity to burn brightly for several centuries at the end of the Middle Ages. This medieval age is probably the most difficult period of medical history to understand properly, but it is worth while taking the trouble to follow out the thread of medical tradition from the Greeks to the Renaissance medical writers, who practically begin modern medicine for us.
It is easy to understand that Christianity's influence on medicine, instead of hampering, was most favorable. The Founder of Christianity Himself had gone about healing the sick, and care for the ailing became a prominent feature of Christian work. One of the Evangelists, St. Luke, was a physician. It was the custom a generation ago, and even later, when the Higher Criticism became popular, to impugn the tradition as to St. Luke having been a physician, but this has all been undone, and Harnack's recent book, “ Luke the Physician," makes it very clear that not only the Third Gospel, but also the Acts, could only have been written by a man thoroughly familiar with the Greek medical terms of his time, and who had surely had the advantage of a training in the medical sciences at Alexandria. This makes such an important link in medical traditions that a special chapter has been devoted to it in the Appendis.
Very early in Christianity care for the ailing poor was taken up, and hospitals in our modern sense of the term became common in Christian communities. There had been military hospitals before this, and places where those who could afford to pay for service were kept during illness. Our modern city hospital, however, is a Christian institution. Besides, deformed and ailing children were cared for and homes for foundlings were established. Before Christianity the power even of life and death of the parents over their children was recognized, and deformed or ailing children, or those that for some reason were not wanted, were exposed until they died. Christianity put an end to this, and in two classes of institutions, the hospitals and the asylums, abundant opportunity for observation of illness was afforded. Just as soon as Christianity came to be free to establish its institutions publicly, hospitals became very common. The Emperor Julian, usually known as the Apostate, who hoped to re-establish the old Roman Olympian religion, wrote to Oribasius, one of the great physicians of this time, who was also an important official of his household, that these Christians had established