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Part 2

The arm, then, for that is the subject we were treating of, was presented in the prone position to be bound, but the physician forced his patient to hold it as the archers do when they project the shoulder, and in this position he bound it up, thinking within[p. 172] himself that he was acting according to Nature, and in proof of this he pointed out that all the bones in the fore-arm were thus in a straight line, and that the integuments both inside and outside, were also in a straight line, and that the flesh and nerves (tendons?) were thus put in their natural position, and he appealed to what happens in archery, as a proof of this. And so saying, and so doing, he is looked up to as a sage; and yet he forgets that in all the other arts and performances, whether executed by strength or dexterity, what is reckoned the natural position is not the same, and that in the same piece of work it may happen that the natural position of the right arm is not the same as that of the left. For there is one attitude in throwing the javelin, and another in slinging, another in casting stones, another in boxing, and another in a state of repose. And whatever arts one examines, it will be found that the natural position of the arms is not the same in each, but that in every case the arms are put into the attitude which suits best with the instrument that is used, and the work to be performed. In practicing archery, no doubt this is the best attitude of the left arm, for gingly-moid extremity of the humerus being fixed in the cavity of the ulna, in this position, throws the bones of the forearm and arm into a line, as if they constituted a single bone, and all flexion at the joint is prevented in this position. It is no doubt certain that the member is thus put into the most unbending and extended position possible, so as not to be overcome or yield when the string is drawn by the right arm, and thus will the archer be enabled to draw the string farthest, and discharge his arrow with the greatest force and rapidity, for arrows thus discharged have the greatest swiftness and force, and are carried to the greatest distances. But there is nothing in common between the binding up of an arm and archery. Moreover, if having thus bound up the arm, the physician direct the patient to keep it thus, he will occasion him greater pain than he had from the wound itself; and thus also, if the physician order him to bend the arm, neither the bones, the nerves, nor the flesh will any longer be in the same condition, but will be arranged differently, having overcome the bandaging. What use, then, is there of the archer's attitude? [p. 173]And these mistakes, the physician, conceited in his knowledge, would probably not have committed if he had allowed the patient himself to present his arm.

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