previous next


WE should have now concluded our description of the various things1 that are produced between the heavens and the earth, and it would have only remained for us to speak of the substances that are dug out of the ground itself; did not our exposition of the remedies derived from plants and shrubs necessarily lead us into a digression upon the medicinal properties which have been discovered, to a still greater extent, in those living creatures themselves which are thus indebted [to other objects] for the cure of their respective maladies. For ought we, after describing the plants, the forms of the various flowers, and so many objects rare and difficult to be found—ought we to pass in silence the resources which exist in man himself for the benefit of man, and the other remedies to be derived from the creatures that live among us—and this more particularly, seeing that life itself is nothing short of a punishment, unless it is exempt from pains and maladies? Assuredly not; and even though I may incur the risk of being tedious, I shall exert all my energies on the subject, it being my fixed determination to pay less regard to what may be amusing, than to what may prove practically useful to mankind.

Nay, even more than this, my researches will extend to the usages of foreign countries, and to the customs of barbarous nations, subjects upon which I shall have to appeal to the good faith of other authors; though at the same time I have made it my object to select no2 facts but such as are established by pretty nearly uniform testimony, and to pay more attention to scrupulous exactness than to copiousness of diction.

It is highly necessary, however, to advertise the reader, that whereas I have already described the natures of the various animals, and the discoveries3 due to them respectively—for, in fact, they have been no less serviceable in former times in dis- covering remedies, than they are at the present day in providing us with them—it is my present intention to confine myself to the remedial properties which are found in the animal world, a subject which has not been altogether lost sight of in the former portion of this work. These additional details therefore, though of a different nature, must still be read in connexion with those which precede.

1 The trees and plants.

2 On the contrary, this and the four following Books are full of the most extravagant assertions, which bear ample testimony to his credulity, not- withstanding the author's repeated declarations that he does not believe in Magic. As Ajasson says, he evidently does not know what he ought to have inserted in his work, and what to reject as utterly unworthy of belief. His faults, however, were not so much his own as those of his age. Want of space, equally with want of inclination, compels us to forego the task of entering into an examination of the system of Animal Therapeaties upon. which so much labour has been waste by our author.

3 See B. viii. c. 97, et seq., and B. xxv. c. 89, et seq.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide References (4 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: