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ἰατρική). The ancients ascribed the origin of the medical art to the gods (Pliny , Pliny H. N. xxix. 2), and Prometheus, Chiron, and Asclepius were among those who made it known to men. It was also believed to have been improved by the observation of the remedies instinctively sought out by animals when suffering from injuries or disease (Pliny , Pliny H. N. viii. 97). Thus, dogs taught the Egyptians the use of purgatives, bleeding was learned from the hippopotamus, and enemata from the ibis. Sheep and cattle led men to the use of the natural saline and chalybeate waters. The results of these and various other observations of cures were recorded on tablets, and suspended by the priests in the temples of the gods both in Egypt and in Greece. These tablets were the beginnings of medical literature.

The Asclepiadae, to which family Hippocrates belonged, were, in a way, hereditary physicians (see Aesculapius), and founded a number of medical schools, of which the most famous in early times were those of Rhodes, Cnidos, and Cos (Galen, De Meth. Med. i. 1). From the second came the collection of medical observations called Κνίδιαι Γνῶμαι, “Cnidian Maxims,” which long enjoyed a considerable repute. The school of Cos was, however, the best known of the three, and one of its representatives was Hippocrates himself. Herodotus mentions other schools at Crotona in Italy and Cyrené in Africa (iii. 131). Of the different medical sects that sprang up at different times, the following deserve especial mention:


The Dogmatĭci or Hippocratĭci, founded about B.C. 400 by Thessalus, the son, and Polybus, the son-in-law of Hippocrates;


the Empirĭci, founded in the third century B.C., and so called because they professed to base their knowledge and practice on experience alone;


the Methodïci, founded in the first century B.C. by Themison, who taught doctrines partly theoretical and partly empirical;


the Pneumatĭci, founded by Athenaeus in the first century a.d.; and


the Eclectĭci, founded at about the same time by Agathinus of Sparta, or perhaps his pupil Archigenes.

For further details regarding ancient medicine, see the articles Celsus; Chirurgia; Dioscorides; Galenus; Hippocrates; and Medicus.

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    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 29.2
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