An Outline of the History of Pharmacy in Ireland, by William D. Moore M.B.

No chapter divisions, so here is the third paragraph:

From Pliny’s statement it would appear that it was long before regularly educated physicians obtained a footing in Rome(b). The practice of medicine was, probably, for 600 years in the hands of quacks and casual practitioners. This was partly owing to the simple and active life led by the Romans. “ A science, the offspring of luxury and of depravity, with difficulty found access to a nation, all whose members, from the chiefs to the lowest in the state, were warriors, enured to fatigue, or hardy cultivators of the soil.”(a) “ But as the relations of the Romans with the Greeks became multiplied, and as luxury progressed among the former, physicians were seen to establish themselves in the capital of the world(b). The Greek physicians who first settled there were, for the most part, proprietors of baths ; and many of these adventurers were slaves whom their masters, incapable at first of appreciating the advantages of science, and afterwards enervated by the luxury of the Greeks, sold or set free, after having presented them with considerable gifts in return for benefits received from them. These freedmen established shops, which the Romans called medicinæ, in which they sold medicines and profitably exercised their talents. But other physicians, who came to Rome under more favourable circumstances, enjoyed advantages and privileges which an art so noble as medicine is entitled to exact from all civilized nations ; and when the Romans expelled the Greeks from Italy, the law which banished them excepted by name those who followed the profession of medicine.”(c)

(b) Pliny, lib. xxix. cap. 1. “Ceu vero non millia gentium sine medicis degant, nec tamen sine medicina, sicut populus Romanus ultra sexcentesimum annum, nec ipse in accipiendis artibus lentus.”
(a) Sprengel, Histoire de la Medicine, traduite de l’ Allemand par Jourdan, vol. i. p. 176.
(b) Sprengel, Op. cit., p. 189.
(c) Sprengel, Op. cit., p. 190.

Insomnia reading a week or so ago, with some relevance to my 16th-century interests – the Dublin Guild of Barber-Surgeons was established in 1576, as part of the drive for professionalisation and regulation of medical services. A lot of the wider context of the history of medicine is also given, at least as far as it was understood in 1848 when the book was written. You can read it here.

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