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THE nature and multiplicity of the various remedies already described or which still remain to be enlarged upon, compel me to enter upon some further details with reference to the art of medicine itself: aware as I am, that no one1 has hitherto treated of this subject in the Latin tongue, and that if all new enterprises are difficult or of doubtful success, it must be one in particular which is so barren of all charms to recommend it, and accompanied with such difficulties of illustration. It will not improbably suggest itself, however, to those who are familiar with this subject, to make enquiry how it is that in the practice of medicine the use of simples has been abandoned, so convenient as they are and so ready prepared to our hand: and they will be inclined to feel equal surprise and indignation when they are informed that no known art, lucrative as this is beyond all the rest, has been more fluctuating, or subjected to more frequent variations.

Commencing by ranking its inventors in the number of the gods,2 and consecrating for them a place in heaven, the art of medicine, at the present day even, teaches us in numerous instances to have recourse to the oracles for aid. In more recent times again, the same art has augmented its celebrity, at the cost perhaps of being charged with criminality, by devising the fable that Æsculapius was struck by lightning for presuming to raise Tyndareus3 to life. And this example notwithstanding, it has not hesitated to relate how that others, through its agency, have since been restored to life. Already enjoying celebrity in the days of the Trojan War, its traditions from that period have ac- quired an additional degree of certainty; although in those times, we may remark, the healing art confined itself solely to the treatment of wounds.


Its succeeding history, a fact that is truly marvellous, remains enveloped in the densest night, down to the time of the Peloponnesian War;4 at which period it was restored to light by the agency of Hippocrates, a native of Cos, an island flourishing and powerful in the highest degree, and consecrated to Æsculapius. It being the practice for persons who had recovered from a disease to describe in the temple of that god the remedies to which they had owed their restoration to health, that others might derive benefit therefrom in a similar emergency; Hippocrates, it is said, copied out these prescriptions, and, as our fellow-countryman Varro will have it, after burning the temple to the ground,5 instituted that branch of medical practice which is known as "Clinics."6 There was no limit after this to the profits derived from the practice of medicine; for Prodicus,7 a native of Selymbria, one of his disciples, founded the branch of it known as "Iatraliptics,"8 and so discovered a means of enriching the very anointers even and the commonest drudges9 employed by the physicians.


In the rules laid down by these professors, changes were effected by Chrysippus with a vast parade of words, and, after Chrysippus, by Erasistratus, son10 of the daughter of Aristotle. For the cure of King Antiochus-to give our first illustration of the profits realized by the medical art-Erasistratus received from his son, King Ptolemæus, the sum of one hundred talents.


Another sect again, known as that of the Empirics11—be- cause it based its rules upon the results of experiment—took its rise in Sicily, having for its founder Acron of Agri- gentum, a man recommended by the high authority of Empedocles12 the physician.


These several schools of medicine, long at variance among themselves, were all of them condemned by Herophilus,13 who regulated the arterial pulsation according to the musical14 scale, correspondingly with the age of the patient. In succeeding years again, the theories of this sect were abandoned, it being found that to belong to it necessitated an acquaintance with literature. Changes, too, were effected in the school, of which, as already15 stated, Asclepiades had become the founder. His disciple, Themison,16 who at first in his writings implicitly followed him, soon afterwards, in compliance with the growing degeneracy of the age, went so far as to modify his own methods of treatment; which, in their turn, were entirely dis- placed, with the authorization of the late Emperor Augustus, by Antonius Musa,17 a physician who had rescued that prince from a most dangerous malady, by following a mode of treatment diametrically opposite. I pass over in silence many physicians of the very highest celebrity, the Cassii, for instance, the Calpetani, the Arruntii, and the Rubrii, men who received fees yearly from the great, amounting to no less than two hundred and fifty thousand sesterces. As for Q. Stertinius, he thought that he conferred an obligation upon the emperors in being content with five hundred thousand18 sesterces per annum; and indeed he proved, by an enumeration of the several houses, that a city practice would bring him in a yearly income of not less than six hundred thousand sesterces.

Fully equal to this was the sum lavished upon his brother by Claudius Cæsar; and the two brothers, although they had drawn largely upon their fortunes in beautifying the public buildings at Neapolis, left to their heirs no less than thirty millions of sesterces!19 such an estate as no physician but Arruntius had till then possessed.

Next in succession arose Vettius Valens, rendered so noto- rious by his adulterous connection20 with Messalina, the wife of Claudius Cæsar, and equally celebrated as a professor of eloquence. When established in public favour, he became the founder of a new sect.

It was in the same age, too, during the reign of the Emperor Nero, that the destinies of the medical art passed into the hands of Thessalus,21 a man who swept away all the precepts of his predecessors, and declaimed with a sort of frenzy against the physicians of every age; but with what discretion and in what spirit, we may abundantly conclude from a single trait presented by his character—upon his tomb, which is still to be seen on the Appian Way, he had his name inscribed as the "Iatronices"—the "Conqueror of the Physicians." No stage-player, no driver of a three-horse chariot, had a greater throng attending him when he appeared in public: but he was at last eclipsed in credit by Crinas, a native of Massilia, who, to wear an appearance of greater discreetness and more devoutness, united in himself the pursuit of two sciences, and prescribed diets to his patients in accordance with the move- ments of the heavenly bodies, as indicated by the almanacks of the mathematicians, taking observations himself of the various times and seasons. It was but recently that he died, leaving ten millions of sesterces, after having expended hardly a less sum upon building the walls of his native place and of other towns.

It was while these men were ruling our destinies, that all at once, Charmis, a native also of Massilia, took22 the City by surprise. Not content with condemning the practice or preceding physicians, he proscribed the use of warm baths as well, and persuaded people, in the very depth of winter even, to immerse themselves in cold water. His patients he used to plunge into large vessels filled with cold water, and it was a common thing to see aged men of consular rank make it a matter of parade to freeze themselves; a method of treatment, in favour of which Annæus23 Seneca gives his personal testimony, in writings still extant.

There can be no doubt whatever, that all these men, in the pursuit of celebrity by the introduction of some novelty or other, made purchase of it at the downright expense of human life. Hence those woeful discussions, those consultations at the bedside of the patient, where no one thinks fit to be of the same opinion as another, lest he may have the appearance of being subordinate to another; hence, too, that ominous inscription to be read upon a tomb, "It was the multitude of physicians that killed me."24

The medical art, so often modified and renewed as it has been, is still on the change from day to day, and still are we impelled onwards by the puffs25 which emanate from the ingenuity of the Greeks. It is quite evident too, that every one among them that finds himself skilled in the art of speech, may forthwith create himself the arbiter of our life and death: as though, forsooth, there were not thousands26 of nations who live without any physicians at all, though not, for all that, without the aid of medicine. Such, for instance, was the Roman27 people, for a period of more than six hundred years; a people, too, which has never shown itself slow to adopt all useful arts, and which even welcomed the medical art with avidity, until, after a fair experience of it, there was found good reason to condemn it.


And, indeed, it appears to me not amiss to take the present opportunity of reviewing some remarkable facts in the days of our forefathers connected with this subject. Cassius Hemina,28 one of our most ancient writers, says that the first physician that visited Rome was Archagathus, the son of Lysanias, who came over from Peloponnesus, in the year of the City 535, L. Æmilius and M. Livius being consuls. He states also, that the right of free citizenship29 was granted him, and that he had a shop30 provided for his practice at the public expense in the Acilian Cross-way;31 that from his practice he received the name of "Vulnerarius;"32 that on his arrival he was greatly welcomed at first, but that soon afterwards, from the cruelty displayed by him in cutting and searing his patients, he acquired the new name of "Carnifex,"33 and brought his art and physicians in general into considerable disrepute.

That such was the fact, we may readily understand from the words of M. Cato, a man whose authority stands so high of itself, that but little weight is added to it by the triumph34 which he gained, and the Censorship which he held. I shall, therefore, give his own words in reference to this subject.


"Concerning those Greeks, son Marcus, I will speak to you more at length on the befitting occasion. I will show you the results of my own experience at Athens, and that, while it is a good plan to dip into their literature,35 it is not worth while to make a thorough acquaintance with it. They are a most iniquitous and intractable race, and you may take my word as the word of a prophet, when I tell you, that whenever that nation shall bestow its literature upon Rome it will mar everything; and that all the sooner, if it sends its physicians among us. They have conspired among themselves to murder all barbarians with their medicine; a profession which they exercise for lucre, in order that they may win our confidence,36 and dispatch us all the more easily. They are in the common habit, too, of calling us barbarians, and stigmatize us beyond all other nations, by giving us the abominable appellation of Opici.37 I forbid you to have anything to do with physicians."


Cato, who wrote to this effect, died in his eighty-fifth year, in the year of the City 605; so that no one is to suppose that he had not sufficient time to form his experience, either with reference to the duration of the republic, or the length of his own life. Well then-are we to conclude that he has stamped with condemnation a thing that in itself is most useful? Far from it, by Hercules! for he subjoins an account of the medical prescriptions, by the aid of which he had ensured to himself and to his wife a ripe old age; prescriptions38 upon which we are now about to enlarge. He asserts also that he has a book of recipes in his possession, by the aid of which he treats the maladies of his son, his servants, and his friends; a book from which we have extracted the various prescriptions according to the several maladies for which they are employed.

It was not the thing itself that the ancients condemned, but it was the art as then practised, and they were shocked, more particularly, that man should pay so dear for the enjoyment of life. For this reason it was, they say, that the Temple of Æsculapius, even after he was received as a divinity, was built without the City, and afterwards on an island;39 for this reason, too, it was, that when, long after the time of Cato, the Greeks were expelled from Italy, the physicians were not40 exempted from the decree. And here I will41 improve upon the foresight displayed by them. Medicine is the only one of the arts of Greece, that, lucrative as it is, the Roman gravity has hitherto refused to cultivate. It is but very few of our fellow-citizens that have even attempted it, and so soon as ever they have done so, they have become deserters to the Greeks forth with.42 Nay, even more than this, if they attempt to treat of it in any other language than Greek, they are sure to lose all credit, with the most ignorant even, and those who do not understand a word of Greek; there being all the less confidence felt by our people in that which so nearly concerns their welfare, if it happens to be intelligible to them. In fact, this is the only one of all the arts, by Hercules! in which the moment a man declares43 himself to be an adept, he is at once believed, there being at the same time no imposture, the results of which are more fraught with peril. To all this, however, we give no attention, so seductive is the sweet influence of the hope entertained of his ultimate recovery by each.

And then besides, there is no law in existence whereby to punish the ignorance of physicians, no instance before us of capital punishment inflicted. It is at the expense of our perils that they learn, and they experimentalize by putting us to death, a physician being the only person that can kill another with sovereign impunity. Nay, even more than this, all the blame is thrown upon the sick man only; he is accused of disobedience forthwith, and it is the person who is dead and gone that is put upon his trial. It is the usage at Rome for the decuries44 to pass examination under the censorship of the emperor, and for inquisitions to be made at our party-walls45 even: persons who are to sit in judgment on our monetary matters are sent for to Gades46 and the very Pillars of Hercules; while a question of exile is never entertained without a panel of forty-five men selected for the purpose.47 But when it is the judge's own life that is at stake, who are the persons that are to hold council upon it, but those who the very next moment are about to take it!

And yet so it is, that we only meet with our deserts, no one of us feeling the least anxiety to know what is necessary for his own welfare. We walk48 with the feet of other people, we see with the eyes of other people, trusting to the memory of others we salute one another, and it is by the aid of others that we live. The most precious objects of existence, and the chief supports49 of life, are entirely lost to us, and we have nothing left but our pleasures to call our own. I will not leave Cato exposed to the hatred of a profession so ambitious as this, nor yet that senate which judged as he did, but at the same time I will pursue my object without wresting to my purpose the crimes practised by its adepts, as some might naturally expect. For what profession has there been more fruitful in poisonings, or from which there have emanated more frauds upon wills And then, too, what adulteries have been committed, in the very houses of our princes even! the intrigue of Eudemus,50 for example, with Livia, the wife of Drusus Cæsar, and that of Valens with the royal lady previously mentioned.51 Let us not impute these evils, I say, to the art, but to the men who practise it; for Cato, I verily believe, as little apprehended such practices as these in the City, as he did the presence of royal ladies52 there.

I will not accuse the medical art of the avarice even of its professors, the rapacious bargains made with their patients while their fate is trembling in the balance, the tariffs framed upon their agonies, the monies taken as earnest for the dispatching of patients, or the mysterious secrets of the craft. I will not mention how that cataract must be couched53 only, in the eye, in preference to extracting it at once—practices, all of them, which have resulted in one very great advantage, by alluring hither such a multitude of adventurers; it being no moderation on their part, but the rivalry existing between such numbers of practitioners, that keeps their charges within moderation. It is a well-known fact that Charmis, the physician54 already mentioned, made a bargain with a patient of his in the provinces, that he should have two hundred thousand sesterces for the cure; that the Emperor Claudius extorted from Alcon, the surgeon,55 ten millions of sesterces by way of fine; and that the same man, after being recalled from his exile in Gaul, acquired a sum equally large in the course of a few years.

These are faults, however, which must be imputed to individuals only; and it is not my intention to waste reproof upon the dregs of the medical profession, or to call attention to the ignorance displayed by that crew,56 the violation of all regimen in their treatment of disease, the evasions practised in the use of warm baths, the strict diet they imperiously prescribe, the food that is crammed into these same patients, exhausted as they are, several times a day; together with a thousand other methods of showing how quick they are to change their mind, their precepts for the regulation of the kitchen, and their recipes for the composition of unguents, it being one grand object with them to lose sight of none of the usual incitements to sensuality. The importation of foreign merchandize, and the introduction of tariffs settled by foreigners,57 would have been highly displeasing to our ances- tors, I can readily imagine; but it was not these inconveniences that Cato had in view, when he spoke thus strongly in condemnation of the medical art.

"Theriace"58 is the name given to a preparation devised by luxury; a composition formed of six hundred59 different ingredients; and this while Nature has bestowed upon us such numbers of remedies, each of which would have fully answered the purpose employed by itself! The Mithridatic60 antidote is composed of four and fifty ingredients, none of which are used in exactly the same proportion, and the quantity prescribed is in some cases so small as the sixtieth part of one denarius! Which of the gods, pray, can have instructed man in such trickery as this, a height to which the mere subtlety of human invention could surely never have reached? It clearly must emanate from a vain ostentation of scientific skill, and must be set down as a monstrous system of puffing off the medical art.

And yet, after all, the physicians themselves do not understand this branch of their profession; and I have ascertained that it is a common thing for them to put mineral vermilion61 in their medicines, a rank poison, as I shall have occasion62 to show when I come to speak of the pigments, in place of Indian cinnabar, and all because they mistake the name of the one drug for that of the other! These, however, are errors which only concern the health of individuals, while it is the practices which Cato foresaw and dreaded, less dangerous in themselves and little regarded, practices, in fact, which the leading men in the art do not hesitate to avow, that have wrought63 the corruption of the manners of our empire.

The practices I allude to are those to which, while enjoying robust health, we submit: such, for instance, as rubbing the body with wax and oil,64 a preparation for a wrestling match, by rights, but which, these men pretend, was invented as a preservative of health; the use of hot baths, which are necessary, they have persuaded us, for the proper digestion of the food, baths which no one ever leaves without being all the weaker for it, and from which the more submissive of their patients are only carried to the tomb; potions taken fasting; vomits to clear the stomach, and then a series of fresh drenchings with drink; emasculation, self-inflicted by the use of pitch-plasters as depilatories; the public exposure, too, of even the most delicate parts of the female body for the prosecution of these practices. Most assuredly so it is, the contagion which has seized upon the public morals, has had no more fertile source than the medical art, and it continues, day by day even, to justify the claims of Cato to be considered a prophet and an oracle of wisdom, in that assertion of his, that it is quite sufficient to dip into the records of Greek genius, without becoming thoroughly acquainted with them.

Such then is what may be said in justification of the senate and of the Roman people, during that period of six hundred years in which they manifested such repugnance to an art, by the most insidious terms of which, good men are made to lend their credit and authority to the very worst, and so strongly entered their protest against the silly persuasions entertained by those, who fancy that nothing can benefit them but what is coupled with high price.

I entertain no doubt, too, that there will be found some to express their disgust at the particulars which I am about to give, in relation to animals: and yet Virgil himself has not disdained —when, too, there was no necessity for his doing so-to speak of ants and weevils, "And nests by beetles made that shun the light."65 Homer,66 too, amid his description of the battles of the gods, has not disdained to remark upon the voracity of the common fly; nor has Nature, she who engendered man, thought it beneath her to engender these insects as well. Let each then make it his care, not so much to regard the thing itself, as to rightly appreciate in each case the cause and its effects.


I shall begin then with some remedies that are well known, those namely, which are derived from wool and from the eggs of birds, thus giving due honour to those substances which hold the principal place in the estimation of mankind; though at the same time I shall be necessitated to speak of some others out of their proper place, according as occasion may offer. I should not have been at a loss for high-flown language with which to grace my narrative, had I made it my design to regard anything else than what, as being strictly trustworthy,67 becomes my work: for among the very first remedies mentioned, we find those said to be derived from the ashes and nest of the phœnix,68 as though, forsooth, its existence were a well ascertained fact, and not altogether a fable. And then besides, it would be a mere mockery to describe remedies that can only return to us once in a thousand years.

(2.) The ancient Romans attributed to wool a degree of religious importance even, and it was in this spirit that they enjoined that the bride should touch the door-posts of her husband's house with wool. In addition to dress and protection from the cold, wool, in an unwashed state, used in combination with oil, and wine or vinegar, supplies us with numerous remedies, according as we stand in need of an emollient or an excitant, an astringent or a laxative. Wetted from time to time with these liquids, greasy wool is applied to sprained limbs, and to sinews that are suffering from pain. In the case of sprains, some persons are in the habit of adding salt, while others, again, apply pounded rue and grease, in wool: the same, too, in the case of contusions or tumours. Wool will improve the breath, it is said, if the teeth and gums are rubbed with it, mixed with honey; it is very good, too, for phrenitis,69 used as a fumigation. To arrest bleeding at the nose, wool is introduced into the nostrils with oil of roses; or it is used in another manner, the ears being well plugged with it. In the case of inveterate ulcers it is applied topically with honey: soaked in wine or vinegar, or in cold water and oil, and then squeezed out, it is used for the cure of wounds.

Rams' wool, washed in cold water, and steeped in oil, is used for female complaints, and to allay inflammations of the uterus. Procidence of the uterus is reduced by using this wool in the form of a fumigation. Greasy wool, used as a plaster and as a pessary, brings away the dead fœtus, and arrests uterine discharges. Bites inflicted by a mad dog are plugged with unwashed wool, the application being removed at the end of seven days. Applied with cold water, it is a cure for agnails: steeped in a mixture of boiling nitre, sulphur, oil, vinegar, and tar, and applied twice a day, as warm as possible, it allays pains in the loins. By making ligatures with unwashed rams' wool about the extremities of the limbs, bleeding is effectually stopped.

In all cases, the wool most esteemed is that from the neck of the animal; the best kinds of wool being those of Galatia, Tarentum, Attica, and Miletus. For excoriations, blows, bruises, contusions, crushes, galls, falls, pains in the head and other parts, and for inflammation of the stomach, unwashed wool is applied, with a mixture of vinegar and oil of roses. Reduced to ashes, it is applied to contusions, wounds, and burns, and forms an ingredient in ophthalmic compositions. It is employed, also, for fistulas and suppurations of the ears. For this last purpose, some persons take the wool as it is shorn, while others pluck it from the fleece; they then cut off the ends of it, and after drying and carding it, lay it in pots of unbaked earth, steep it well in honey, and burn it. Others, again, arrange it in layers alternately with chips of torchpine,70 and, after sprinkling it with oil, set fire to it: they then rub the ashes into small vessels with the hands, and let them settle in water there. This operation is repeated and the water changed several times, until at last the ashes are found to be slightly astringent, without the slightest pungency; upon which, they are put by for use, being possessed of certain caustic properties,71 and extremely useful as a detergent for the eyelids.


And not only this, but the filthy excretions even of sheep, the sweat adhering to the wool of the flanks and of the axillary concavities—a substance known as "œsypum"72—are applied to purposes almost innumerable; the grease produced by the sheep of Attica being the most highly esteemed. There are numerous ways of obtaining it, but the most approved method is to take the wool, fresh clipped from those parts of the body, or else the sweat and grease collected from any part of the fleece, and boil it gently in a copper vessel upon a slow fire: this done, it is left to cool, and the fat which floats upon the surface collected into an earthen vessel. The material originally used is then subjected to another boiling, and the two results are washed in cold water; after which, they are strained through a linen cloth and exposed to the sun till they become bleached and quite transparent, and are then put by in a pewter box for keeping.

The best proof of its genuineness is its retention of the strong smell of the original grease, and its not melting when rubbed with water upon the hand, but turning white, like white-lead in appearance. This substance is extremely useful for inflammations of the eyes and indurations of the eyelids. Some persons bake the wool in an earthen pot, until it has lost all its grease, and are of opinion that, prepared this way, it is a more useful remedy for excoriations and indurations of the eyelids, for eruptions at the corners of the eyes, and for watery eyes. And not only does this grease heal ulcerations of the eyes, but, mixed with goose-grease, of the ears and generative organs as well; in combination also with melilote and butter, it is a cure for inflammations of the uterus, and for excoriations of the rectum and condylomata. The other uses to which it is applied, we shall detail on a more appropriate occasion.

The grease, too, of the wool about the tail is made up into pills, unmixed with any substance: these pills are dried and pulverized, being an excellent application for the teeth, when loose even, and for the gums, when attacked by spreading ulcers of a cancerous nature. Sheep's wool, too, cleaned, is applied by itself, or with the addition of sulphur, for dull, heavy pains, and the ashes of it, burnt, are used for diseases of the generative organs: indeed, this wool is possessed of such sovereign virtues, that it is used as a covering for medicinal applications even. It is also an especial remedy for the sheep itself, when it has lost its stomach, and refuses to feed; for, upon plucking some wool from the tail, and then tying the tail therewith, as tight as possible, the sheep will fall to feeding immediately. It is said, however, that the part of the tail which lies beyond the knot so made will quickly mortify and die.


There is a considerable affinity also between wool and eggs, which are applied together as a frontal to the forehead by way of cure for defluxions of the eyes. Wool, however, is not required for this purpose to have been dressed with radicula,73 the only thing requisite to be combined with it being the white of an egg and powdered frankincense. The white of an egg, also applied by itself, arrests defluxions of the eyes, and has a cooling effect upon inflammations of those organs: some, however, prefer mixing saffron with it, and employ it as an ingredient in eye-salves, in place of water. For ophthalmia in infants there is hardly any remedy to be found, except white of egg mixed with fresh butter. Eggs beaten up with oil, are very soothing for erysipelas, beet leaves being laid on the liniment.

White of egg, mixed with pounded gum ammoniac, is used as a bandoline for arranging the hairs of the eyelids; and, in combination with pine-nuts and a little honey, it forms a liniment for the removal of pimples on the face. If the face is well rubbed with it, it will never be sun-burnt. If, the moment the flesh has been scalded, an egg is applied, no blisters will form: some persons, however, mix with it barley- meal and a little salt. In cases of ulceration formed by burns, there is nothing better than parched barley and hogs' lard, mixed with the white of an egg. The same mixture is also used as an application for diseases of the rectum, in infants even, and in cases, too, when there is procidence of those parts. For the cure of chaps upon the feet, white of eggs is boiled, with two denarii of white lead, an equal quantity of litharge, a little myrrh, and some wine. For the cure of erysipelas they use the whites of three eggs with amylum:74 it is said, too, that white of egg has the effect of knitting wounds and of expelling urinary calculi. The yolk of eggs boiled hard, applied in woman's milk with a little saffron and honey, has a soothing effect upon pains in the eyes. The yolk is applied also to the eyes in wool, mixed with honied wine and oil of roses; or else mixed with ground parsley-seed and polenta, and applied with honied wine. The yolk of a single egg, swallowed raw by itself without being allowed to touch the teeth, is remarkably good for cough, defluxions of the chest, and irritations of the fauces. It is used, too, both internally and externally, in a raw state, as a sovereign cure for the sting of the hæmorrhoïs;75 and it is highly beneficial for the kidneys, for irritations and ulcerations of the bladder, and for bloody expectorations. For dysentery, the yolks of five eggs are taken raw in one semi-sextarius of wine, mixed with the ashes of the shells, poppy-juice, and wine.

For cœliac fluxes, it is recommended to take the yolks of eggs, with like proportions of pulpy raisins and pomegranate rind, in equal quantities, for three consecutive days; or else to follow another method, and take the yolks of three eggs, with three ounces of old bacon and honey, and three cyathi of old wine; the whole being beaten up to the consistency of honey, and taken in water, when needed, in pieces the size of a hazel nut. In some cases, too, the yolks of three eggs are fried in oil, the whole of the egg having been steeped a day previously in vinegar. It is in this way that eggs are used for the treatment of spleen diseases; but for spitting of blood, they should be taken with three cyathi of must. Yolk of egg is used, too, for the cure of bruises of long standing, in combination with bulbs and honey. Boiled and taken in wine, yolks of eggs arrest menstruation: applied raw with oil or wine, they dispel inflations of the uterus. Mixed with goose-grease and oil of roses, they are useful for crick in the neck; and they are hardened over the fire, and applied warm, for the cure of maladies of the rectum. For condylomata, eggs are used in combination with oil of roses; and for the treatment of burns, they are hardened in water, and set upon hot coals till the shells are burnt, the yellow being used as a liniment with oil of roses.

Eggs become entirely transformed into yolk, on being removed after the hen has sat upon them for three days; in which state they are known by the name of "sitista."76 The chicks that are found within the shell are used for strengthen- ing a disordered stomach, being eaten with half a nut-gall, and no other food taken for the next two hours. They are given also for dysentery, boiled in the egg with one semisexta- rius of astringent wine, and an equal quantity of olive oil and polenta. The pellicle that lines the shell is used, either raw or boiled, for the cure of cracked lips; and the shell itself, reduced to ashes, is taken in wine for discharges of blood: care must be taken, however, to burn it without the pellicle. In the same way, too, a dentifrice is prepared. The ashes of the shell, applied topically with myrrh, arrest menstruation when in excess. So remarkably strong is the shell of an egg, that if it is set upright, no force or weight can break it, unless a slight inclination be made to one side or other of the circumference. Eggs taken whole in wine, with rue, dill, and cum- min, facilitate parturition. Used with oil and cedar-resin, they remove itch and prurigo, and, applied in combination with cyclaminos,77 they are remedial for running ulcers of the head. For purulent expectorations and spitting of blood, a raw egg is taken, warmed with juice of cut-leek and an equal quantity of Greek honey. For coughs, eggs are administered, boiled and beaten up with honey, or else raw, with raisin wine and an equal quantity of olive oil. For diseases of the male organs, an injection is made, of an egg, three cyathi of raisin wine, and half an ounce of amylum,78 the mixture being used immediately after the bath. Where injuries have been inflicted by serpents, boiled eggs are used as a liniment, beaten up with nasturtium.

In what various ways eggs are used as food is well known to all, passing downwards, however swollen the throat may be, and warming the parts as they pass. Eggs, too, are the only diet which, while it affords nutriment in sickness, does not load the stomach, possessing at the same moment all the advantages both of food and drink. We have already79 stated, that the shell of an egg becomes soft when steeped in vinegar: it is by the aid of eggs thus prepared, and kneaded up with meal into bread, that patients suffering from the cœliac flux are often restored to strength. Some, however, think it a better plan to roast the eggs, when thus softened, in a shallow pan; a method, by the aid of which, they arrest not only looseness of the bowels, but excessive menstruation as well. In cases, again, where the discharges are greatly in excess, eggs are taken raw, with meal, in water. The yolks, too, are employed alone, boiled hard in vinegar and roasted with ground pepper, when wanted to arrest diarrhœa.

For dysentery, there is a sovereign remedy, prepared in the following manner: an egg is emptied into a new earthen vessel, which done, in order that all the proportions may be equal, fill the shell, first with honey, then with oil, and then with vinegar; beat them up together, and thoroughly incorporate them: the better the quality of the several ingredients, the more efficacious the mixture will be. Others, again, instead of oil and vinegar, use the same proportions of red resin and wine. There is also another way of making up this prepara- tion: the proportion of oil, and of that only, remains the same, and to it they add two sixtieth parts of a denarius of the vegetable which we have spoken of under the name of "rhus,"80 and five oboli of honey. All these ingredients are boiled down together, and no food is eaten by the patient till the end of four hours after taking the mixture. Many persons, too, have a cure for griping pains in the bowels, by beating up two eggs with four cloves of garlick, and administering them, warmed in one semi-sextarius of wine.

Not to omit anything in commendation of eggs, I would here add that glair of egg, mixed with quicklime, unites broken81 glass. Indeed, so great is the efficacy of the substance of an egg, that wood dipped in it will not take fire, and cloth with which it has come in contact will not ignite.82 On this occasion, however, it is only of the eggs of poultry that I have been speaking, though those of the various other birds as well are possessed of many useful properties, as I shall have to mention on the appropriate occasions.


In addition to the above, there is another kind of egg,83 held in high renown by the people of the Gallic provinces, but totally omitted by the Greek writers. In summer84 time, numberless snakes become artificially entwined together, and form rings around their bodies with the viscous slime which exudes from their mouths, and with the foam secreted by them: the name given to this substance is "anguinum."85 The Druids tell us, that the serpents eject these eggs into the air by their hissing,86 and that a person must be ready to catch them in a cloak, so as not to let them touch the ground; they say also that he must instantly take to flight on horseback, as the serpents will be sure to pursue him, until some intervening river has placed a barrier between them. The test of its genuineness, they say, is its floating against the current of a stream, even though it be set in gold. But, as it is the way with magicians to be dexterous and cunning in casting a veil about their frauds, they pretend that these eggs can only be taken on a certain day of the moon; as though, forsooth, it depended entirely upon the human will to make the moon and the serpents accord as to the moment of this operation.

I myself, however, have seen one of these eggs: it was round, and about as large as an apple of moderate size; the shell87 of it was formed of a cartilaginous substance, and it was surrounded with numerous cupules, as it were, resembling those upon the arms of the polypus: it is held in high estimation among the Druids. The possession of it is marvellously vaunted as ensuring success88 in law-suits, and a favourable reception with princes; a notion which has been so far belied, that a Roman of equestrian rank, a native of the territory of the Vocontii,89 who, during a trial, had one of these eggs in his bosom, was slain by the late Emperor Tiberius, and for no other reason, that I know of, but because he was in possession of it. It is this entwining of serpents with one another, and the fruitful results of this unison, that seem to me to have given rise to the usage among foreign nations, of surrounding the caduceus90 with representations of serpents, as so many symbols of peace-it must be remembered, too, that on the caduceus, serpents are never91 represented as having crests.


Having to make mention, in the present Book, of the eggs of the goose and the numerous uses to which they are applied, as also of the bird itself, it is our duty to award the honour to Commagene92 of a most celebrated preparation there made. This composition is prepared from goose-grease, a substance applied to many other well-known uses as well; but in the case of that which comes from Commagene, a part of Syria, the grease is first incorporated with cinnamon, cassia,93 white pepper, and the plant called "commagene,"94 and then placed in vessels and buried in the snow. The mixture has an agreeable smell, and is found extremely useful for cold shiverings, convulsions, heavy or sudden pains, and all those affections, in fact, which are treated with the class of remedies known as "acopa;"95 being equally an unguent and a medicament.

There is another method, also, of preparing it in Syria: the fat of the bird is preserved in manner already96 described, and there is added to it erysisceptrum,97 xylobalsamum,98 palm elate,99 and calamus, each in the same proportion as the grease; the whole being gently boiled some two or three times in wine. This preparation is made in winter, as in summer it will never thicken, except with the addition of wax. There are numerous other remedies, also, derived from the goose, as well as from the raven;100 a thing I am much surprised at, seeing that both the goose and the raven101 are generally said to be in a diseased state at the end of summer and the beginning of autumn.


We have already102 spoken of the honours earned by the geese, when the Gauls were detected in their attempt to scale the Capitol. It is for a corresponding reason, also, that punishment is yearly inflicted upon the dogs, by crucifying them alive upon a gibbet of elder, between the Temple of Juventas103 and that of Summanus.104

In reference to this last-mentioned animal, the usages of our forefathers compel us to enter into some further details. They considered the flesh of sucking whelps to be so pure a meat, that they were in the habit of using them as victims even in their expiatory sacrifices. A young whelp, too, is sacrificed to Genita Mana;105 and, at the repasts celebrated in honour of the gods, it is still the usage to set whelps' flesh on table; at the inaugural feasts, too, of the pontiffs, this dish was in common use, as we learn from the Comedies106 of Plautus. It is generally thought that for narcotic107 poisons there is nothing better than dogs' blood; and it would appear that it was this animal that first taught man the use of emetics. Other me- dicinal uses of the dog which are marvellously commended, I shall have occasion to refer to on the appropriate occasions.


We will now resume the order originally proposed.108 For stings inflicted by serpents fresh sheeps'-dung, boiled in wine, is considered a very useful application: as also mice split asunder and applied to the wound. Indeed, these last animals are possessed of certain properties by no means to be despised, at the ascension of the planets more particularly, as already109 stated; the lobes increasing or decreasing in number, with the age of the moon, as the case may be. The magicians have a story that swine will follow any person who gives them a mouse's liver to eat, enclosed in a fig: they say, too, that it has a similar effect upon man, but that the spell may be destroyed by swallowing a cyathus of oil.


There are two varieties of the weasel; the one, wild,110 larger than the other, and known to the Greeks as the "ictis:" its gall is said to be very efficacious as an antidote to the sting of the asp, but of a venomous nature in other respects.111 The other kind,112 which prowls about our houses, and is in the habit, Cicero tells us,113 of removing its young ones, and changing every day from place to place, is an enemy to serpents. The flesh of this last, preserved in salt, is given, in doses of one denarius, in three cyathi of drink to persons who have been stung by serpents: or else the maw of the animal is stuffed with coriander seed and dried, to be taken for the same purpose in wine. The young one of the weasel is still more efficacious for these purposes.


There are some things, of a most revolting nature, but which are recommended by authors with such a degree of assurance, that it would be improper to omit them, the more particularly as it is to the sympathy or antipathy of objects that remedies owe their existence. Thus the bug, for instance, a most filthy insect, and one the very name of which inspires us with loathing, is said to be a neutralizer of the venom of serpents, asps in particular, and to be a preservative against all kinds of poisons. As a proof of this, they tell us that the sting of an asp is never fatal to poultry, if they have eaten bugs that day; and that, if such is the case, their flesh is remarkably beneficial to persons who have been stung by serpents. Of the various recipes114 given in reference to these insects, the least revolting are the application of them externally to the wound, with the blood of a tortoise; the employment of them as a fumigation to make leeches loose their hold; and the administering of them to animals in drink when a leech has been accidentally swallowed. Some persons, however, go so far as to crush bugs with salt and woman's milk, and anoint the eyes with the mixture; in combination, too, with honey and oil of roses, they use them as an injection for the ears. Field-bugs, again, and those found upon the mallow,115 are burnt, and the ashes mixed with oil of roses as an injection for the ears.

As to the other remedial virtues attributed to bugs, for the cure of vomiting, quartan fevers, and other diseases, although we find recommendations given to swallow them in an egg, some wax, or in a bean, I look upon them as utterly unfounded, and not worthy of further notice. They are employed, however, for the treatment of lethargy, and with some fair reason, as they successfully neutralize the narcotic effects of the poison of the asp: for this purpose seven of them are administered in a cyathus of water, but in the case of children only four. In cases, too, of strangury, they have been injected into the urinary channel:116 so true it is that Nature, that universal parent, has engendered nothing without some powerful reason or other. In addition to these particulars, a couple of bugs, it is said, attached to the left arm in some wool that has been stolen from the shepherds, will effectually cure nocturnal fevers; while those recurrent in the daytime may be treated with equal success by enclosing the bugs in a piece of russet-coloured cloth. The scolopendra, on the other hand, is a great enemy to these insects; used in the form of a fumigation, it kills them.


The sting of the asp takes deadly effect by causing torpor and drowsiness. Of all serpents, injuries inflicted by the asp are the most incurable; and their venom, if it comes in contact with the blood or a recent wound, produces instantaneous death. If, on the other hand, it touches an old sore, its fatal effects are not so immediate. Taken internally, in however large a quantity, the venom is not injurious,117 as it has no corrosive properties; for which reason it is that the flesh of animals killed by it may be eaten with impunity.

I should hesitate in giving circulation to a prescription for injuries inflicted by the asp, were it not that M. Varro, then in the eighty-third year of his age, has left a statement to the effect that it is a most efficient remedy for wounds inflicted by this reptile, for the person stung to drink his own urine.


As to the basilisk,118 a creature which the very serpents fly from, which kills by its odour even, and which proves fatal to man by only looking upon him, its blood has been marvellously extolled by the magicians.119 This blood is thick and adhesive, like pitch, which it resembles also in colour: dissolved in water, they say, it becomes of a brighter red than that of cinnabar. They attribute to it also the property of ensuring success to petitions preferred to potentates, and to prayers even offered to the gods; and they regard it as a remedy for various diseases, and as an amulet preservative against all noxious spells. Some give it the name of "Saturn's blood."


The dragon120 is a serpent destitute of venom. Its head, placed beneath the threshold of a door, the gods being duly propitiated by prayers, will ensure good fortune to the house, it is said. Its eyes, dried and beaten up with honey, form a liniment which is an effectual preservative against the terrors of spectres by night, in the case of the most timorous even. The fat adhering to the heart, attached to the arm with a deer's sinews in the skin of a gazelle, will ensure success in law-suits, it is said; and the first joint of the vertebræ will secure an easy access to persons high in office. The teeth, attached to the body with a deer's sinews in the skin of a roebuck, have the effect of rendering masters indulgent and potentates gracious, it is said.

But the most remarkable thing of all is a composition, by the aid of which the lying magicians profess to render persons invincible. They take the tail and head of a dragon, the hairs of a lion's forehead with the marrow of that animal, the foam of a horse that has won a race, and the claws of a dog's feet: these they tie up together in a deer's skin, and fasten them alternately with the sinews of a deer and a gazelle. It is, however, no better worth our while to refute such pretensions as these, than it would be to describe the alleged remedies for injuries inflicted by serpents, seeing that all these contrivances are so many evil devices to poison121 men's morals.

Dragon's fat will repel venomous creatures; an effect which is equally produced by burning the fat of the ichneumon.122 They will take to flight, also, at the approach of a person who has been rubbed with nettles bruised in vinegar.


The application of a viper's head, even if it be not the one that has inflicted the wound, is of infinite utility as a remedy. It is highly advantageous, too, to hold the viper that inflicted the injury on the end of a stick, over the steam of boiling water, for it will quite undo123 the mischief, they say. The ashes, also, of the viper, are considered very useful, employed as a liniment for the wound. According to what Nigidius tells us, serpents are compelled, by a sort of natural instinct, to return to the person who has been stung by them. The people of Scythia split the viper's head between the ears, in order to extract a small stone,124 which it swallows in its alarm, they say: others, again, use the head entire.

From the viper are prepared those tablets which are known as "theriaci"125 to the Greeks: for this purpose the animal is cut away three fingers' length from both the head and the tail, after which the intestines are removed and the livid vein adhering to the back-bone. The rest of the body is then boiled in a shallow pan, in water seasoned with dill, and the bones are taken out, and fine wheaten flour added; after which the preparation is made up into tablets,126 which are dried in the shade and are employed as an ingredient in numerous medicaments. I should remark, however, that this preparation, it would appear, can only be made from the viper. Some persons, after cleansing the viper in manner above described, boil down the fat, with one sextarius of olive oil, to one half. Of this preparation, when needed, three drops are added to some oil, with which mixture the body is rubbed, to repel the approach of all kinds of noxious animals.


In addition to these particulars, it is a well-known fact that for all injuries inflicted by serpents, and those even of an otherwise incurable nature, it is an excellent remedy to apply the entrails of the serpent itself to the wound; as also, that persons who have once swallowed a viper's liver, boiled, will never afterwards be attacked by serpents. The snake, too, is not venomous, except, indeed, upon certain days of the month when it is irritated by the action of the moon: it is a very useful plan to take it alive, and pound it in water, the wound inflicted by' it being fomented with the preparation. Indeed, it is generally supposed that this reptile is possessed of numerous other remedial properties, as we shall have occasion more fully to mention from time to time: hence it is that the snake is consecrated to Æsculapius.127 As for Democritus, he has given some monstrous preparations from snakes, by the aid of which the language of birds, he says, may be understood.128

The Æsculapian snake was first brought to Rome from Epidaurus,129 but at the present day it is very commonly reared in our houses130 even; so much so, indeed, that if the breed were not kept down by the frequent conflagrations, it would be impossible to make head against the rapid increase of them. But the most beautiful of all the snakes are those which are of an amphibious nature. These snakes are known as "hydri,"131 or water-snakes: in virulence their venom is inferior to that of no other class of serpents, and their liver is preserved as a remedy for the ill effects of their sting.

A pounded scorpion neutralizes the venom of the spotted lizard.132 From this last animal, too, there is a noxious preparation made; for it has been found that wine in which it has been drowned, covers the face of those who drink it with morphew. Hence it is that females, when jealous of a rival's beauty, are in the habit of stifling a spotted lizard in the unguents which they use. In such a case, the proper remedy is yolk of egg, honey, and nitre. The gall of a spotted lizard, beaten up in water, attracts weasels, they say.


But of all venomous animals it is the salamander133 that is by far the most dangerous; for while other reptiles attack individuals only, and never kill many persons at a time-not to mention the fact that after stinging a human being they are said to die of remorse, and the earth refuses to harbour134 them—the salamander is able to destroy whole nations at once, unless they take the proper precautions against it. For if this reptile happens to crawl up a tree, it infects all the fruit with its poison, and kills those who eat thereof by the chilling properties of its venom, which in its effects is in no way different from aconite. Nay, even more than this, if it only touches with its foot the wood upon which bread is baked, or if it happens to fall into a well, the same fatal effects will be sure to ensue. The saliva, too, of this reptile, if it comes in contact with any part of the body, the sole of the foot even, will cause the hair to fall off from the whole of the body. And yet the salamander, highly venomous as it is, is eaten by certain animals, swine for example; owing, no doubt, to that antipathy which prevails in the natural world.

From what we find stated, it is most probable, that, next to the animals which eat it, the best neutralizers of the poison of this reptile, are, cantharides taken in drink, or a lizard eaten with the food; other antidotes we have already mentioned, or shall notice in the appropriate place. As to what the magicians135 say, that it is proof against fire, being, as they tell us, the only animal that has the property of extinguishing fire, if it had been true, it would have been made trial of at Rome long before this. Sextius says that the salamander, preserved in honey and taken with the food, after removing the intestines, head, and feet, acts as an aphrodisiac: he denies also that it has the property of extinguishing fire.


Among the birds that afford us remedies against serpents, it is the vulture that occupies the highest rank; the black vulture, it has been remarked, being less efficacious than the others. The smell of their feathers, burnt, will repel serpents, they say; and it has been asserted that persons who carry the heart of this bird about them will be safe, not only from serpents, but from wild beasts as well, and will have nothing to fear from the attacks of robbers or from the wrath of kings.


The flesh of cocks and capons, applied warm the moment it has been plucked from the bones, neutralizes the venom of serpents; and the brains, taken in wine, are productive of a similar effect. The people of Parthia, however, prefer applying a hen's brains to the wound. Poultry broth, too, is highly celebrated as a cure, and is found marvellously useful in many other cases. Panthers and lions will never touch persons who have been rubbed with it, more particularly if it has been flavoured with garlic. The broth that is made of an old cock is more relaxing to the bowels; it is very good also for chronic fevers, numbness of the limbs, cold shiverings and maladies of the joints, pains also in the head, defluxions of the eyes, flatulency, sickness at stomach, incipient tenesmus, liver complaints, diseases of the kidneys, affections of the bladder, indigestion, and asthma. Hence there are several recipes for preparing this broth; it being most efficacious when boiled up with sea-cabbage,136 salted tunny,137 capers, parsley, the plant mercurialis,138 polypodium,139 or dill. The best plan, however, is to boil the cock or capon with the plants above-mentioned in three congii of water, down to three semi-sextarii; after which it should be left to cool in the open air, and given at the proper moment, just after an emetic has been administered.

And here I must not omit to mention one marvellous fact, even though it bears no reference to medicine: if the flesh of poultry is mingled with gold140 in a state of fusion, it will absorb the metal and consume it, thus showing that it acts as a poison upon gold. If young twigs are made up into a collar and put round a cock's neck, it will never crow.


The flesh of pigeons also, or of swallows, used fresh and minced, is a remedy for injuries inflicted by serpents: the same, too, with the feet of a horned owl, burnt with the plant plumbago.141 While mentioning this bird, too, I must not forget to cite another instance of the impositions practised by the magicians: among other prodigious lies of theirs, they pretend that the heart of a horned owl, applied to the left breast of a woman while asleep, will make142 her disclose all her secret thoughts. They say, also, in addition to this, that persons who have it about them in battle will be sure to display valour. They describe, too, certain remedies made from the egg of this bird for the hair. But who, pray, has ever had the opportunity of seeing the egg of a horned owl, considering that it is so highly ominous to see the bird itself?143 And then besides, who has ever thought proper to make the experiment, and upon his hair more particularly? In addition to all this, the magicians go so far as to engage to make the hair curl by using the blood of the young of the horned owl.

What they tell us, too, about the bat, appears to belong to pretty much the same class of stories: if one of these animals is carried alive, three times round a house, they say, and then nailed outside of the window with the head downwards, it will have all the effects of a countercharm: they assert, also, that the bat is a most excellent preservative for sheepfolds, being first carried three times round them, and then hung up by the foot over the lintel of the door.144 The blood of the bat is also recommended by them as a sovereign remedy, in combination with a thistle,145 for injuries inflicted by serpents.


Of the phalangium,146 an insect unknown to Italy, there are numerous kinds; one of which resembles the ant, but is much larger, with a red head, black as to the other parts of the body, and covered with white spots. Its sting is much more acute than that of the wasp, and it lives mostly in the vicinity of ovens and mills. The proper remedy is, to present before the eyes of the person stung another insect of the same description, a purpose for which they are preserved when found dead. Their husks also, found in a dry state, are beaten up and taken in drink for a similar purpose. The young of the weasel, too, as already147 stated, are possessed of a similar property. The Greeks give the name of "phalangion" also to a kind of spider, but they generally distinguish it by the surname of the "wolf."148 A third kind, also known as the "phalangium," is a spider with a hairy149 body, and a head of enormous size. When opened, there are found in it two small worms, they say: these, attached in a piece of deer's skin, before sunrise, to a woman's body, will prevent conception, according to what Cæcilius, in his Commentaries, says. This property lasts, however, for a year only; and, indeed, it is the only one of all the anti-conceptives150 that I feel myself at liberty to mention, in favour of some women whose fecundity, quite teeming with children,151 stands in need of some such respite.

There is another kind again, called "rhagion,"152 similar to a black grape in appearance, with a very diminutive mouth, situate beneath the abdomen, and extremely short legs, which have all the appearance of not being fully developed. The bite of this last insect causes fully as much pain as the sting of the scorpion, and the urine of persons who are injured by it, presents filmy appearances like cobwebs. The asterion153 would be identical with it, were it not distinguished by white streaks upon the body: its bite causes failing in the knees. But worse than either of these last, is a blue spider, covered with black hair, and causing dimness of the sight and vomiting of a matter like cobwebs in appearance. A still more dangerous kind is one which differs only from the hornet, in form, in being destitute of wings, and the bite of which causes a wasting away of the system. The myrmecion154 in the head resembles the ant, has a black body spotted with white, and causes by its bite a pain like that attendant upon the sting of the wasp. Of the tetragnathius155 there are two varieties, the more noxious of which has two white streaks crossing each other on the middle of the head; its bite causes the mouth to swell. The other one is of an ashy colour, whitish on the posterior part of the body, and not so ready to bite.

The least noxious of all is the spider that is seen extending its web along the walls, and lying in wait for flies; it is of the same ashy colour as the last.

For the bite of all spiders, the best remedies are: a cock's brains, taken in oxycrate with a little pepper; five ants, swallowed in drink; sheep's dung, applied in vinegar; and spiders of any kind, left to putrefy in oil. The bite of the shrewmouse is cured by taking lamb's rennet in wine; the ashes of a ram's foot with honey; or a young weasel, prepared in manner already156 mentioned by us when speaking of serpents. In cases where a shrewmouse has bitten beasts of burden, a mouse,. fresh caught, is applied to the wound with oil, or a bat's gall with vinegar. The shrew-mouse itself too, split asunder and applied to the wound, is a cure for its bite; indeed, if the animal is with young when the injury is inflicted, it will instantly burst asunder. The best plan is to apply the mouse itself which has inflicted the bite, but others are commonly kept for this purpose, either steeped in oil or coated with clay. Another remedy, again, for its bite is the earth taken from the rut made by a cart-wheel; for this animal, it is said, owing to a certain torpor which is natural to it, will never cross157 a rut made by a wheel.


The stellio, in its turn, is said to have the greatest antipathy to the scorpion;158 so much so indeed, that the very sight of it strikes terror in that reptile, and a torpor attended with cold sweats; hence it is that this lizard is left to putrefy in oil, as a liniment for injuries inflicted by the scorpion. Some persons boil down the oil with litharge, and make a sort of plaster of it to apply to the wound. The Greeks give the name of "colotes" to this lizard, as also "ascalabotes," and "galeotes:" it is never159 found in Italy, and is covered with small spots, utters a shrill, piercing noise, and lives on food; characteristics, all of them, foreign to the stellio of Italy.


Poultry dung, too, is good as an application for the sting of the scorpion; a dragon's liver also; a lizard or mouse split asunder; or else the scorpion itself, either applied to the wound, grilled and eaten, or taken in two cyathi of undiluted wine. One peculiarity of the scorpion is, that it never stings the palm of the hand, and never touches any parts of the body but those covered with hair. Any kind of pebble, applied to the wound on the side which has lain next to the ground, will alleviate the pain. A potsherd too, covered with earth on any part of it, and applied just as it is found, will effect a cure, it is said—the person, however, who applies it must not look behind him, and must be equally careful that the sun does not shine upon him. Earth-worms also, are pounded and applied to the wound; in addition to which, they form ingredients in numerous other medicaments, being kept in honey for the purpose.

For injuries inflicted by bees, wasps, hornets, and leeches, the owlet is considered a very useful remedy; persons, too, who carry about them the beak of the woodpecker160 of Mars are never injured by any of these creatures. The smaller kinds of locusts also, destitute of wings and known as "attelebi," are a good remedy for the sting of the scorpion.

There is a kind of venomous ant, by no means common in Italy; Cicero calls it "solipuga," and in Bætica it is known as "salpuga."161 The proper remedy for its venom and that of all kinds of ants is a bat's heart. We have already162 stated that cantharides are an antidote to the salamander.


But with reference to cantharides, there has been considerable controversy on the subject, seeing that, taken internally, they are a poison, attended with excruciating pains in the bladder. Cossinus, a Roman of the Equestrian order, well known for his intimate friendship with the Emperor Nero, being attacked with lichen,163 that prince sent to Egypt for a physician to cure him; who recommending a potion prepared from cantharides, the patient was killed in consequence. There is no doubt, however, that applied externally they are useful, in combination with juice of Taminian164 grapes, and the suet of a sheep or she-goat. As to the part of the body in which the poison of the insect is situate, authors are by no means agreed. Some fancy that it exists in the feet and head, while others, again, deny it; indeed the only point that has been well ascertained is, that the wings165 are the only antidote to their venom, wherever it may be situate.

Cantharides are produced from a small grub, found more particularly in the spongy excrescences which grow on the stem of the dog-rose,166 and still more abundantly upon the ash. Other kinds, again, are found upon the white rose, but they are by no means so efficacious. The most active of all in their properties, are those which are spotted with yellow streaks running transversely across the wings, and are plump and well-filled. Those which are small, broad, and hairy, are not so powerful in their operation, and the least useful of all are those which are thin and shrivelled, and present one uniform colour. They are put in a small earthen pot, not coated with pitch, and stopped at the mouth with a linen cloth, a layer of full-blown roses being placed upon them; they are then suspended over vinegar boiled with salt, until the steam has penetrated the cloth and stifled them, after which they are put by for use. They have a caustic effect upon the skin, and cover the ulcerations with a crust; a property which belongs also to the pine-caterpillar167 found upon the pitch-tree, and to the buprestis,168 both of which are prepared in a similar manner.

All these insects are extremely efficacious for the cure of leprosy and lichens. It is said, too, that they act as an emmenagogue and diuretic, for which last reason Hippocrates used to prescribe them for dropsy. Cato of Utica was reproached with selling poison, because, when disposing of a royal property by auction,169 he sold a quantity of cantharides, at the price of sixty thousand sesterces. (5.) We may here remark, too, that it was on the same occasion that some ostrich fat was sold, at the price of thirty thousand sesterces, a substance which is preferable to goose-grease in every respect.


We have already170 spoken of various kinds of poisonous honey: the antidote employed for it is honey in which the bees have been stifled. This honey, too, taken in wine, is a remedy for indispositions caused by eating fish.


When a person has been bitten by a mad dog, he may be preserved from hydrophobia by applying the ashes of a dog's head to the wound. All ashes of this description, we may here remark once for all, are prepared in the same method; the substance being placed in a new earthen vessel well covered with potter's clay, and put into a furnace. These ashes, too, are very good, taken in drink, and hence some recommend the head itself to be eaten in such cases. Others, again, attach to the body of the patient a maggot, taken from the carcase of a dead dog; or else place the menstruous blood of a bitch, in a linen cloth, beneath his cup, or insert in the wound ashes of hairs from the tail of the dog that inflicted the bite. Dogs will fly from any one who has a dog's heart about him, and they will never bark at a person who carries a dog's tongue in his shoe, beneath the great toe, or the tail of a weasel which has been set at liberty after being deprived of it. There is beneath the tongue of a mad dog a certain slimy spittle, which, taken in drink, is a preventive of hydrophobia: but much the most useful plan is, to take the liver of the dog that has inflicted the injury, and eat it raw, if possible; should that not be the case, it must be cooked in some way or other, or else a broth must be taken, prepared from the flesh.

There is a small worm171 in a dog's tongue, known as "lytta"172 to the Greeks: if this is removed from the animal while a pup, it will never become mad or lose its appetite. This worm, after being carried thrice round a fire, is given to persons who have been bitten by a mad dog, to prevent them from becoming mad. This madness, too, is prevented by eating a cock's brains; but the virtue of these brains lasts for one year only, and no more. They say, too, that a cock's comb, pounded, is highly efficacious as an application to the wound; as also, goose-grease, mixed with honey. The flesh also of a mad dog is sometimes salted, and taken with the food, as a remedy for this disease. In addition to this, young puppies of the same sex as the dog that has inflicted the injury, are drowned in water, and the person who has been bitten eats their liver raw. The dung of poultry, provided it is of a red colour, is very useful, applied with vinegar; the ashes, too, of the tail of a shrew-mouse, if the animal has survived and been set at liberty; a clod from a swallow's nest, applied with vinegar; the young of a swallow, reduced to ashes; or the skin or old slough of a serpent that has been cast in spring, beaten up with a male crab in wine: this slough, I would remark, put away by itself in chests and drawers, destroys moths.

So virulent is the poison of the mad dog, that its very urine even, if trod upon, is injurious, more particularly if the person has any ulcerous sores about him. The proper remedy in such case is to apply horse-dung, sprinkled with vinegar, and warmed in a fig. These marvellous properties of the poison will occasion the less surprise, when we remember that, "a stone bitten by a dog" has become a proverbial expression for discord and variance.173 Whoever makes water where a dog has previously watered, will be sensible of numbness in the loins, they say.

The lizard known by some persons as the "seps,"174 and by others as the "chalcidice," taken in wine, is a cure for its own bite.


Where persons have been poisoned by noxious preparations from the wild weasel,175 the proper remedy is the broth of an old cock, taken in considerable quantities. This broth, too, is particularly good, taken as a counter-poison for aconite, in combination with a little salt. Poultry dung—but the white part only—boiled with hyssop, or with honied wine, is an excellent antidote to the poison of fungi and of mushrooms: it is a cure also for flatulency and suffocations; a thing the more to be wondered at, seeing that if any other living creature only tastes this dung, it is immediately attacked with griping pains and flatulency. Goose blood, taken with an equal quantity of olive oil, is an excellent neutralizer of the venom of the seahare: it is kept also as an antidote for all kinds of noxious drugs, made up into lozenges with red earth of Lemnos and juice of white-thorn, five drachmæ of the lozenges being taken in three cyathi of water. The same property belongs also to the young of the weasel, prepared in manner already176 mentioned.

Lambs' rennet is an excellent antidote to all noxious preparations; the blood, also, of ducks from Pontus;177 for which reason it is preserved in a dry state, and dissolved in wine when wanted, some persons being of opinion that the blood of the female bird is the most efficacious. In a similar manner, the crop of a stork acts as an universal counter-poison; and so does sheep's rennet. A broth made from ram's flesh is particularly good as a remedy for cantharides: sheep's milk also, taken warm; this last being very useful in cases where persons have drunk an infusion of aconite, or have swallowed the buprestis in drink. The dung of wood-pigeons is particularly good taken internally as an antidote to quicksilver; and for narcotic poisons the common weasel is kept dried, and taken internally, in doses of two drachmæ.


Where the hair has been lost through alopecy,178 it is made to grow again by using ashes of burnt sheep's dung, with oil of cyprus179 and honey; or else the hoof of a mule of either sex, burnt to ashes and mixed with oil of myrtle. In addition to these substances, we find our own writer, Varro, mentioning mousedung, which he calls "muscerda,"180 and the heads of flies, applied fresh, the part being first rubbed with a fig-leaf. Some recommend the blood of flies, while others, again, apply ashes of burnt flies for ten days, in the proportion of one part of the ashes to two of ashes of papyrus or of nuts. In other cases, again, we find ashes of burnt flies kneaded up with woman's milk and cabbage, or, in some instances, with honey only. It is generally believed that there is no creature less docile or less intelligent than the fly; a circumstance which makes it all the more marvellous that at the sacred games at Olympia, immediately after the immolation of the bull in honour of the god called "Myiodes,"181 whole clouds of them take their departure from that territory. A mouse's head or tail, or, indeed, the whole of the body, reduced to ashes, is a cure for alopecy, more particularly when the loss of the hair has been the result of some noxious preparation. The ashes of a hedge-hog, mixed with honey, or of its skin, applied with tar, are productive of a similar effect. The head, too, of this last animal, reduced to ashes, restores the hair to scars upon the body; the place being first prepared, when this cure is made use of, with a razor and an application of mustard: some persons, however, prefer vinegar for the purpose. All the properties attributed to the hedge-hog are found in the porcupine in a still higher degree.182

A lizard burnt, as already183 mentioned, with the fresh root of a reed, cut as fine as possible, to facilitate its being re- duced to ashes, and then mixed with oil of myrtle, will prevent the hair from coming off. For all these purposes green lizards are still more efficacious, and the remedy is rendered most effectual, when salt is added, bears' grease, and pounded onions. Some persons boil ten green lizards in ten sextarii of oil, and content themselves with rubbing the place with the mixture once a month. Alopecy is also cured very speedily with the ashes of a viper's skin, or by an application of fresh poultry dung. A raven's egg, beaten up in a copper vessel and applied to the head, previously shaved, imparts a black colour to the hair; care must be taken, however, to keep some oil in the mouth till the application is quite dry, or else the teeth will turn black as well. The operation must be performed also in the shade, and the liniment must not be washed off before the end of three days. Some persons employ the blood and brains of a raven, in combination with red wine; while others, again, boil down the bird, and put it, at bedtime, in a vessel made of lead. With some it is the practice, for the cure of alopecy, to apply bruised cantharides with tar, the skin being first prepared with an application of nitre:—it should be remembered, however, that cantharides are possessed of caustic properties, and due care must be taken not to let them eat too deep into the skin. For the ulcerations thus produced, it is recommended to use applications made of the heads, gall, and dung of mice, mixed with hellebore and pepper.


Nits are destroyed by using dogs' fat, eating serpents cooked184 like eels, or else taking their sloughs in drink. Porrigo is cured by applying sheep's gall with Cimolian chalk, and rubbing the head with the mixture till dry.


A good remedy for head-ache are the heads taken from the snails which are found without185 shells, and in an imperfect state. In these heads there is found a hard stony substance, about as large as a common pebble: on being extracted from the snail, it is attached to the patient, the smaller snails being pounded and applied to the forehead. Wool-grease, too, is used for a similar purpose; the bones of a vulture's head, worn as an amulet; or the brains of that bird, mixed with oil and cedar resin, and applied to the head and introduced into the nostrils. The brains of a crow or owlet, are boiled and taken with the food: or a cock is put into a coop, and kept without food a day and a night, the patient submitting to a similar abstinence, and attaching to his head some feathers plucked from the neck or the comb of the fowl. The ashes, too, of a weasel are applied in the form of a liniment; a twig is taken from a kite's nest, and laid beneath the patient's pillow; or a mouse's skin is burnt, and the ashes applied with vinegar: sometimes, also, the small bone is extracted from the head of a snail that has been found between two cart ruts, and after being passed through a gold ring, with a piece of ivory, is attached to the patient in a piece of dog's skin; a remedy well known to most persons, and always used with success.186

For fractures of the cranium, cobwebs are applied, with oil and vinegar; the application never coming away till a cure has been effected. Cobwebs are good, too, for stopping the bleeding of wounds187 made in shaving. Discharges of blood from the brain are arrested by applying the blood of a goose or duck, or the grease of those birds with oil of roses. The head of a snail cut off with a reed, while feeding in the morning, at full moon more particularly, is attached to the head in a linen cloth, with an old thrum, for the cure of headache; or else a liniment is made of it, and applied with white wax to the forehead. Dogs' hairs are worn also, attached to the forehead in a cloth.


A crow's brains, taken with the food, they say, will make the eyelashes grow; or else wool-grease, applied with warmed myrrh, by the aid of a fine probe. A similar result is promised by using the following preparation: burnt flies and ashes of mouse-dung are mixed in equal quantities, to the amount of half a denarius in the whole; two sixths of a dena- rius of antimony are then added, and the mixture is applied with wool-grease. For the same purpose, also, the young ones of a mouse are beaten up, in old wine, to the consistency of the strengthening preparations known as "acopa."188 When eyelashes are plucked out that are productive of inconvenience, they are prevented from growing again by using a hedge-hog's gall; the liquid portion, also, of a spotted lizard's eggs; the ashes of a burnt salamander; the gall of a green lizard, mixed with white wine, and left to thicken to the consistency of honey in a copper vessel in the sun; the ashes of a swallow's young, mixed with the milky juice of tithymalos;189 or else the slime of snails.


According to what the magicians say, glaucoma190 may be cured by using the brains of a puppy seven days old; the probe being inserted in the right side [of the eye], if it is the right eye that is being operated on, and in the left side, if it is the left. The fresh gall, too, of the asio191 is used, a bird belonging to the owlet tribe, with feathers standing erect like ears. Apollonius of Pitanæ used to prefer dog's gall, in combination with honey, to that of the hyæna, for the cure of cataract, as also of albugo. The heads and tails of mice, reduced to ashes and applied to the eyes, improve the sight, it is said; a result which is ensured with even greater certainty by using the ashes of a dormouse or wild mouse, or else the brains or gall of an eagle. The ashes and fat of a field-mouse, beaten up with Attic honey and antimony, are remarkably useful for watery eyes—what this antimony192 is, we shall have occasion to say when speaking of metals.

For the cure of cataract, the ashes of a weasel are used, as also the brains of a lizard or swallow. Weasels, boiled and pounded, and so applied to the forehead, allay defluxions of the eyes, either used alone, or else with fine flour or with frankincense. Employed in a similar manner, they are very good for sun-stroke, or in other words, for injuries inflicted by the sun. It is a remarkably good plan, too, to burn these animals alive, and to use their ashes, with Cretan honey, as a liniment for films upon the eyes. The cast-off193 slough of the asp, with the fat of that reptile, forms an excellent ointment for improving the sight in beasts of burden. To burn a viper alive in a new earthen vessel, with one cyathus of fennel juice, and a single grain of frankincense, and then to anoint the eyes with the mixture, is remarkably good for cataract and films upon the eyes; the preparation being generally known as "echeon."194 An eye-salve, too, is prepared, by leaving a viper to putrefy in an earthen pot, and bruising the maggots that breed in it with saffron. A viper, too, is burnt in a vessel with salt, and the preparation is applied to the tip of the tongue, to improve the eyesight, and to act generally as a corrective of the stomach and other parts of the body. This salt is given also to sheep, to preserve them in health, and is used as an ingredient in antidotes to the venom of serpents.

Some persons, again, use vipers as an article of food: when this is done, it is recommended, the moment they are killed, to put some salt in the mouth and let it melt there; after which, the body must be cut away to the length of four fingers at each extremity, and, the intestines being first removed, the remainder boiled in a mixture of water, oil, salt, and dill. When thus prepared, they are either eaten at once, or else kneaded in a loaf, and taken from time to time as wanted. In addition to the above-mentioned properties, viper-broth cleanses all parts of the body of lice,195 and removes itching sensations as well upon the surface of the skin. The ashes, also, of a viper's head, used by themselves, are evidently productive of considerable effects; they are employed very advantageously in the form of a liniment for the eyes; and so, too, is viper's fat. I would not make so bold as to advise what is strongly recommended by some, the use, namely, of vipers' gall; for that, as already stated196 on a more appropriate occasion, is nothing else but the venom of the serpent. The fat of snakes, mixed with verdigrease,197 heals ruptures of the cuticle of the eyes; and the skin or slough that is cast off in spring, employed as a friction for the eyes, improves the sight. The gall of the boa198 is highly vaunted for the cure of albugo, cataract, and films upon the eyes, and the fat is thought to improve the sight.

The gall of the eagle, which tests its young, as already stated,199 by making them look upon the sun, forms, with Attic honey, an eye-salve which is very good for the cure of webs, films, and cataracts of the eye. A vulture's gall, too, mixed with leek-juice and a little honey, is possessed of similar properties; and the gall of a cock, dissolved in water, is employed for the cure of argema and albugo: the gall, too, of a white cock, in particular, is recommended for cataract. For shortsighted persons, the dung of poultry is recommended as a liniment, care being taken to use that of a reddish colour only. A hen's gall, too, is highly spoken of, and the fat in particular, for the cure of pustules upon the pupils, a purpose for which hens are expressly fattened. This last substance is marvellously useful for ruptures of the coats of the eyes, incorporated with the stones known as schistos200 and hæmatites. Hens' dung, too, but only the white part of it, is kept with old oil in boxes made of horn, for the cure of white specks upon the pupil of the eye. While mentioning this subject, it is worthy of remark, that peacocks201 swallow their dung, it is said, as though they envied man the various uses of it. A hawk, boiled in oil of roses, is considered extremely efficacious as a liniment for all affections of the eyes, and so are the ashes of its dung, mixed with Attic honey. A kite's liver, too, is highly esteemed; and pigeons' dung, diluted with vinegar, is used as an application for fistulas of the eye, as also for albugo and marks upon that organ. Goose gall and duck's blood are very useful for contusions of the eyes, care being taken, immediately after the application, to anoint them with a mixture of woolgrease and honey. In similar cases, too, gall of partridges is used, with an equal quantity of honey; but where it is only wanted to improve the sight, the gall is used alone. It is generally thought, too, upon the authority of Hippocrates,202 that the gall to be used for these purposes should be kept in a silver box.

Partridges' eggs, boiled in a copper vessel, with honey, are curative of ulcers of the eyes, and of glaucoma. For the treatment of blood-shot eyes, the blood of pigeons, ring-doves, turtle-doves, and partridges is remarkably useful; but that of the male pigeon is generally looked upon as the most efficacious. For this purpose, a vein is opened beneath the wing, it being warmer than the rest of the blood, and consequently more203 beneficial. After it is applied, a compress, boiled in honey, should be laid upon it, and some greasy wool, boiled in oil and wine. Nyctalopy,204 too, is cured by using the blood of these birds, or the liver of a sheep—the most efficacious being that of a tawny sheep—as already205 stated by us when speaking of goats. A decoction, too, of the liver is recommended as a wash for the eyes, and, for pains and swellings in those organs, the marrow, used as a liniment. The eyes of a horned owl, it is strongly asserted, reduced to ashes and mixed in an eye-salve, will improve the sight. Albugo is made to disappear by using the dung of turtle-doves, snails burnt to ashes, and the dung of the cenchris, a kind of hawk, according to the Greeks.206 All the substances above mentioned, used in combination with honey, are curative of argema: honey, too, in which the bees have died, is remarkably good for the eyes.

A person who has eaten the young of the stork will never suffer from ophthalmia for many years to come, it is said; and the same when a person carries about him the head of a dragon:207 it is stated, too, that the fat of this last-named animal, applied with honey and old oil, will disperse incipient films of the eyes. The young of the swallow are blinded at full moon, and the moment their sight is restored,208 their heads are burnt, and the ashes are employed, with honey, to improve the sight, and for the cure of pains, ophthalmia, and contusions of the eyes.

Lizards, also, are employed in numerous ways as a remedy for diseases of the eyes. Some persons enclose a green lizard in a new earthen vessel, together with nine of the small stones known as "cinædia,"209 which are usually attached to the body for tumours in the groin. Upon each of these stones they make nine210 marks, and remove one from the vessel daily, taking care, when the ninth day is come, to let the lizard go, the stones being kept as a remedy for affections of the eyes. Others, again, blind a green lizard, and after putting some earth beneath it, enclose it in a glass vessel, with some small rings of solid iron or gold. When they find, by looking through the glass, that the lizard has recovered its sight,211 they set it at liberty, and keep the rings as a preservative against ophthalmia. Others employ the ashes of a lizard's head as a substitute for antimony, for the treatment of eruptions of the eyes. Some recommend the ashes of the green lizard with a long neck that is usually found in sandy soils, as an application for incipient defluxions of the eyes, and for glaucoma. They say, too, that if the eyes of a weasel are extracted with a pointed instrument, its sight will return; the same use being made of it as of the lizards and rings above mentioned. The right eye of a serpent, worn as an amulet, is very good, it is said, for defluxions of the eyes, due care being taken to set the serpent at liberty after extracting the eye. For continuous watering212 of the eyes, the ashes of a spotted lizard's head, applied with antimony, are remarkably efficacious.

The cobweb of the common fly-spider, that which lines its hole more particularly, applied to the forehead across the temples, in a compress of some kind or other, is said to be marvellously useful for the cure of defluxions of the eyes: the web must be taken, however, and applied by the hands of a boy who has not arrived at the years of puberty; the boy, too, must not show himself to the patient for three days, and during those three days neither of them must touch the ground with his feet uncovered. The white spider213 with very elongated, thin, legs, beaten up in old oil, forms an ointment which is used for the cure of albugo. The spider, too, whose web, of remarkable thickness, is generally found adhering to the rafters of houses, applied in a piece of cloth, is said to be curative of defluxions of the eyes. The green scarabæus has the property of rendering the sight more piercing214 of those who gaze upon it: hence it is that the engravers of precious stones use these insects to steady their sight.


A sheep's gall, mixed with honey, is a good detergent of the ears. Pains in those organs are allayed by injecting a bitch's milk; and hardness of hearing is removed by using dogs' fat, with wormwood and old oil, or else goose-grease. Some persons add juice of onions and of garlic,215 in equal proportions. The eggs, too, of ants are used, by themselves, for this purpose; these insects being possessed, in fact, of certain medicinal properties, and bears, it is well known, curing themselves when sick, by eating216 them as food. Goose-grease, and indeed that of all birds, is prepared by removing all the veins and leaving the fat, in a new, shallow, earthen vessel, well covered, to melt in the sun, some boiling water being placed beneath it; which done, it is passed through linen strainers, and is then put by in a cool spot, in a new earthen vessel, for keeping: with the addition of honey it is less liable to turn rancid. Ashes of burnt mice, injected with honey or boiled with oil of roses, allay pains in the ears. In cases where an insect has got into the ears, a most excellent remedy is found in an injection of mouse gall, diluted with vinegar; where, too, water has made its way into the passages of the ear, goose-grease is used, in combination with juice of onions. Some persons skin a dormouse, and after removing the intestines boil the body in a new vessel with honey. Medical men, however, prefer boiling it down to one-third with nard, and recommend it to be kept in that state, and to be warmed when wanted, and injected with a syringe. It is a well-known fact, that this preparation is an effectual remedy for the most desperate maladies of the ears the same, too, with an injection of earth-worms boiled with goose-grease. The red worms, also, that are found upon trees, beaten up with oil, are a most excellent remedy for ulcerations and ruptures of the ears. Lizards, which have been suspended for some time and dried, with salt in the mouth, are curative of contusions of the ears, and of injuries inflicted by blows: the most efficacious for this purpose are those which have ironcoloured spots upon the skin,217 and are streaked with lines along the tail.

Millepedes, known also as "centipedes" or "multipedes," are insects belonging to the earth-worm genus, hairy, with numerous feet, forming curves as they crawl, and contracting themselves when touched: the Greeks give to this insect the name of "oniscos,"218 others, again, that of "tylos." Boiled with leek-juice in a pomegranate rind, it is highly efficacious, they say, for pains in the ears; oil of roses being added to the preparation, and the mixture injected into the ear opposite to the one affected. As for that kind which does not describe a curve when moving, the Greeks give it the name of "seps," while others, again, call it "scolopendra;" it is smaller than the former one, and is injurious.219 The snails which are commonly used as food, are applied to the ears with myrrh or powdered frankincense; and those with a small, broad, shell are employed with honey as a liniment for fractured ears. Old sloughs of serpents, burnt in a heated potsherd and mixed with oil of roses, are used as an injection for the ears, which is considered highly efficacious for all affections of those organs, and for offensive odours arising there from in particular. In cases where there is suppuration of the ears, vinegar is used, and it is still better if goat's gall, ox-gall, or that of the sea tortoise, is added. This slough, however, is good for nothing when more than a year old; the same, too, when it has been drenched with rain, as some think. The thick pulp of a spider's body, mixed with oil of roses, is also used for the ears; or else the pulp applied by itself with saffron or in wool: a cricket, too, is dug up with some of its earth, and applied. Nigidius attributes great220 virtues to this insect, and the magicians still greater, and all because it walks backwards, pierces the earth, and chirrups by night! The mode of catching it is by throwing an ant,221 made fast with a hair, into its hole, the dust being first blown away to prevent it from concealing itself: the moment it seizes the ant, it is drawn out.

The dried craw of poultry, a part that is generally thrown away, is beaten up in wine, and injected warm, for suppurations of the ears; the same, too, with the grease of poultry.

On pulling off the head of a black beetle,222 it yields a sort of greasy substance, which, beaten up with rose oil, is marvellously good, they say, for affections of the ears: care must be taken, however, to remove the wool very soon, or else this substance will be speedily transformed into an animal, in the shape of a small grub. Some writers assert that two or three of these insects, boiled in oil, are extremely efficacious for the ears; and that they are good, beaten up and applied in linen, for contusions of those organs.

This insect, also, is one of those that are of a disgusting character; but I am obliged, by the admiration which I feel for the operations of Nature, and for the careful researches. of the ancients, to enter somewhat more at large upon it on the present occasion. Their writers have described several varieties of it; the soft beetle, for instance, which, boiled in oil, has been found by experience to be a very useful liniment for warts. Another kind, to which they have given the name of "mylœcon,"223 is generally found in the vicinity of mills: deprived of the head, it has been found to be curative of leprosy —at least Musa224 and Picton225 have cited instances to that effect. There is a third kind, again, odious for its abominable smell, and tapering at the posterior extremities. Used in combination with pisselæon,226 it is curative, they say, of ulcers of a desperate nature, and, if kept applied for one-and-twenty days, for scrofulous sores and inflamed tumours. The legs and wings being first removed, it is employed for the cure of bruises, contusions, cancerous sores, itch-scabs, and boils—remedies, all of them, quite disgusting even to hear of. And yet, by Hercules! Diodorus227 tells us that he has administered this remedy internally, with resin and honey, for jaundice and hardness of breathing; such unlimited power has the medical art to prescribe as a remedy whatever it thinks fit!

Physicians who keep more within bounds, recommend the ashes of these insects to be kept for these various purposes in a box made of horn; or else that they should be bruised and injected in a lavement for hardness of breathing and catarrhs. At all events, that, applied externally, they extract foreign substances adhering to the flesh, is a fact well known.

Honey, too, in which the bees have died, is remarkably useful for affections of the ears. Pigeons' dung, applied by itself, or with barley-meal or oat-meal, reduces imposthumes of the parotid glands; a result which is equally obtained by injecting into the ear an owlet's brains or liver, mixed with oil, or by applying the mixture to the parotid glands; also, by applying millepedes with one-third part of resin; by using crickets in the form of a liniment; or by wearing crickets attached to the body as an amulet. The other kinds of maladies, and the several remedies for them, derived from the same animals or from others of the same class, we shall describe in the succeeding Book.

SUMMARY.—Remedies, narratives, and observations, six hundred and twenty-one.

ROMAN AUTHORS QUOTED.—M. Varro,228 L. Piso,229 Flaccus Verrius,230 Antias,231 Nigidius,232 Cassius Hemina,233 Cicero,234 Plautus,235 Celsus,236 Sextius Niger237 who wrote in Greek, Cæci- lius238 the physician, Metellus Scipio,239 the Poet Ovid,240 Licinius Macer.241

FOREIGN AUTHORS QUOTED.—Homer, Aristotle,242 Orpheus,243 Palæphatus,244 Democritus,245 Anaxilaiis.246

MEDICAL AUTHORS QUOTED.—Botrys,247 Apollodorus,248 Archi- demus,249 Aristogenes,250 XenocrDemo,251 Democrates,252 Diodorus,253 Chrysippus254 the philosopher, Horus,255 Nicander,256 Apollonius257 Of Pitanæ.

1 He must surely have forgotton Celsus; unless, indeed, Pliny was unacquainted with his treatise "De Medicinâ."

2 Apollo and Æsculapius, Agenor, Hercules, Chiron, and others.

3 The husband of Leda, and the father of Castor, Timandra, Clytæmnestra, and Philonoë. Hippolytus also was fabled to have been raised from the dead by Æsculapius.

4 Hippocrates is generally supposed to have been born B.C. 460.

5 In order to destroy the medical books and prescriptions there. The same story is told, with little variation, of Avicenna. Cnidos is also mentioned as the scene of this act of philosophical incendiarism.

6 "Clinice"—Chamber-physic, so called because the physician visited his patients ἐν κλίνη, "in bed."

7 It is supposed by most commentators that Pliny commits a mistake here, and that in reality he is alluding to Herodicus of Selymbria in Thrace, who was the tutor, and not the disciple, of Hippocrates. Prodicus of Selymbria does not appear to be known.

8 "Healing by ointments," or, as we should call it at the present day, "The Friction cure."

9 "Mediastinis."

10 Pythias, the daughter of Aristotle, was his stepmother, and adopted him. His mother's name was Cretoxena.

11 Or "Sect of Experimentalists." They based their practice upon experience derived from the observation of facts. The word "Empiric" is used only in a bad sense at the present day. For an account of Hippocrates, see end of B. vii.; of Chrysippus, see end of B. xx.; and of Erasis- tratus, see end of B. xi.

12 See end of B. xi.

13 See end of B. xi.

14 See B. xi. c. 88. The Chinese, Ajasson remarks, apply the musical scale to the pulsation; it being a belief of the Mandarins that the body is a musical instrument, and that to be in health it must be kept in tune.

15 In B. xxvi. cc. 7, 8.

16 See end of B. xi.

17 See B. xix. c. 38.

18 Rather more than £4400.

19 More than £265,000,

20 For which he was put to death A.D. 48.

21 A native of Tralles in Lydia, and the son of a weaver there. Galen mentions him in terms of contempt and ridicule.

22 "Invasit."

23 Ep. 53 and 83. His "adstipulatio" is of a very equivocal character, however.

24 "Turbâ medicorum perii." This is supposed to be borrowed from a line of Menander—
πολλῶν ἰατρῶν ἔισοδος μ᾽ ὰπώλεσεν.

25 "Flatu."

26 Herodotus states this with reference to the Babylonians; Strabo, the Bastitani, a people of Spain; and Eusebius, the more ancient inhabitants of Spain.

27 See B. xx. c. 33.

28 See end of B. xii.

29 "Jus Quiritium."

30 "Tabernam." A surgery, in fact, the same as the "iatreion" of the Greeks.

31 Or "carrefour"—"compitum." The Acilian Gens pretended to be under the especial tutelage of the gods of medicine.

32 The "Wound-curer," from "vulnus," a wound.

33 "Executioner," or "hangman."

34 For his conquests in Spain.

35 "Illorum literas inspicere."

36 On the principle that that which costs money must be worth having.

37 The Opici or Osci were an ancient tribe of Italy, settled in Campania, Latium, and Samnium. From their uncivilized habits the name was long used as a reproachful epithet, equivalent to our words "bumpkin," "clodhopper," or "chawbacon."

38 Marked by their supereminent absurdity, as Fée remarks.

39 Formed by the river Tiber. See the Quæst. Rom. of Plutarch, on this subject.

40 We have adopted Sillig's suggestion, and read "nec" for "et" here. The meaning, however, is very doubtful.

41 "Augebo providentiam illorum." The meaning of this passage also is doubtful.

42 By adopting that language instead of the Latin; Sextius Niger, for instance.

43 Diplomas seem to have been less cared for in those times than at the present day even, when quackery has so free a range.

44 See B. iii. c. 26, and B. xxxiii. cc. 7, 8.

45 "Inquisitio per parietes." The reading is doubtful, but he not im- probably alludes to the employment of spies.

46 Hardouin thinks that he alludes to Cornelius Balbus here, a native of Gades. See B. v. c. 5, and B. vii. 44.

47 "Electis viris datur tabula." He alludes to the three tablets delivered to the Judices, one of which had inscribed on it "Acquitted," another "Not proven," and a third "Guilty"—Absolvatur, Non liquet, and Condemno.

48 "In this place he casteth in the Romans' teeth, their Lecticarii, Anag- nostec, and Nomseclatores."—Holland. Letter-bearers, readers, and prompters as to the names of the persons addressed.

49 He alludes to the resources of medicine.

50 A physician at Rome, who was afterwards put to the torture for this crime. Livia was the daughter of Drusus Nero, the brother of Tiberius.

51 Messalina, mentioned in c. 5 of this Book.

52 Nothing could possibly be more remote from his republican notions, than "reginæ" at Rome.

53 "Emovendam." In order that a future job may be ensured.

54 In c. 5 of this Book.

55 "Vulnerum medico."

56 "Ejus turbæ."

57 See B. xxiv. c. 1.

58 The origin of our word "treacle." See B. xx. c. 100, and Note 97.

59 Used as a round number, like our expression "ten thousand."

60 See B. xxiii. c. 77, and B. xxv. c. 26.

61 "Minium." This red lead had the name of "cinnabaris nativa," whence the error.

62 In B. xxxiii. c. 38.

63 As tending to effeminacy, or undermining the constitution.

64 See B. xxviii. c. 13.

65 "Lucifugis congesta cubilia blattis." Georg. I. 184, IV. 243.

66 Il. xvii. 570, et seq.

67 He certainly does not always keep this object in view.

68 See B. x. c. 2, and 1. xii. c. 42.

69 A form of fever, Littré remarks, that is known by the moderns as "pseudo-continuous."

70 See B. xvi. c. 19.

71 "Smectica" is suggested by Gesner, Hist. Anim., as a better reading than "septica."

72 "Œsypum" is often mentioned by Ovid as a favourite cosmetic with the Roman ladies.

73 See B. xix. c. 1, B. xxiv. c 58, and B. xxv. c. 21.

74 See B, xviii. c. 17.

75 See B. xx. c. 23.

76 Hermolaüs suggests "schista," "divided," and Dalechamps proposes "synchyta," "mixed." The reading is very doubtful.

77 Or Sowbread. See B. xxv. c. 67.

78 See B. xviii. c. 17.

79 In B. x. c. 80.

80 See B. xxiv. c. 54.

81 This is the fact, and it is similarly used for mending china. White of ego, mixed with whiskey or spirits of wine, will answer the purpose equally well.

82 Ajasson remarks that there is some slight truth in this assertion.

83 Pliny alludes here to the beads or rings of glass which were used by the Druids as charms to impose on the credulity of their devotees, under the name of Glain naidr, or "the Adder gem." Mr. Luyd (in Rowland's Mona Antiqua, p. 342) says that the genuine Ovum anguinum can be no other than a shell of the kind called echinus marinus, and that Dr. Borlase observes that, instead of the natural anguinum, artificial rings of stone, glass, and sometimes baked clay, were substituted as of equal validity. The belief in these charms very recently existed in Cornwall and Wales, if indeed it does not at the present day. The subject is very fully discussed in Brand's Popular Antiquities, Vol. III. p. 286, et seq., and p. 369, et seq., Bohn's Edition. These gems and beads are not uncommonly found in tumuli of the early British period.

84 A similar belief in its origin was prevalent in Cornwall and Wales, and whoever found it was supposed to ensure success in all his undertakings.

85 "The snake's egg"–ovum being understood.

86 "The vulgar opinion in Cornwall and most parts of Wales is that these are produced through all Cornwall by snakes joining their heads together and hissing, which forms a kind of bubble like a ring about the head of one of them, which the rest, by continual hissing, blow on till it comes off at the tail, when it immediately hardens and resembles a glass ring."— Gough's Camden, Vol. II. p. 571, Ed. 1789.

87 The shell of a sea urchin most probably. See Note 81 above.

88 See Note 82 above.

89 nation of Gaul. See B. iii. cc. 5, 21.

90 The wand held by heralds, and generally represented as being carried by Mercury in his character of messenger of the gods.

91 And therefore not portentous of war.

92 See B. v. cc. 13, 20.

93 See B. xii. c. 43.

94 See B. x. c. 28. Generally supposed to be Syrian nard; though some identify it with the Comacum of Theophrastus.

95 See B. xxiii. cc. 45, 80.

96 In B. xxviii. c. 38.

97 See B. xxiv. c. 69.

98 See B. xii. c. 54.

99 See B. xii. c. 62.

100 No MS., it would appear, gives "corvis" here, the reading being "capris," "goats." Ajasson, however, is most probably right in his suggestion that "corvis" is the correct reading.

101 See B. x. c. 15.

102 In B. x. c. 26.

103 Or Youth, in the Eighth Region of the City.

104 See B. ii. c. 53.

105 An ancient divinity, who is supposed to have presided over childbirth. See Plutarch, Quæst. Rom. 52.

106 In the Saturio probably, quoted by Festus, and now lost. The aborigines of Canada, and the people of China and Tartary, hold whelps' flesh in esteem as a great delicacy.

107 "Toxica."

108 Of remedies classified according to the different maladies.

109 In B. xi. c. 76.

110 The ferret, most probably.

111 See c. 33 of this Book.

112 The common weasel.

113 Probably in his work entitled "Admiranda," now lost. Holland says "some take these for our cats."

114 Guettard, a French commentator on Pliny, recommends bugs to be taken internally for hysteria!

115 Perhaps the Cimex pratensis is meant here. Neither this nor the Cimex juniperinus, the Cimex brassicæ, or the Lygæus hyoscami has the offensive smell of the house bug.

116 An excellent method, Ajasson remarks, of adding to the tortures of the patient.

117 This is the fact.

118 See B. viii. c. 33.

119 The Magi of the East, probably.

120 Some serpent of the boa species, probably. See B. viii. cc. 13, 14, 22, 41, and B. x. cc. 5, 92, 95, 96.

121 By leading them to confound truth with fiction.

122 See B. viii. c. 35.

123 This is perhaps the meaning of "præcanere." Sillig suggests "recanere."

124 Which was said to act as an antidote to the poison, applied to the wound.

125 "Antidotes to serpents' poison."

126 "Pastilli."

127 The god of Medicine.

128 A favourite reverie with the learned of the East. Dupont de Nemours, Ajasson informs us, has left several Essays on this subject.

129 In Peloponnesus, the principal seat of his worship. A very full account of his introduction, under the form of a huge serpent, into the city of Rome, is given by Ovid, Met. B. xv. 1. 544, et seq. This took place B.C. 293.

130 Among the snakes that are tamed, Ajasson enumerates the Coluber flagelliformis of Dandin, or American coach-whip snake; the Coluber constructor of Linnæus, or Black snake; and the Coluber viridiflavus of Lacepede. The Æsculapian serpent is still found in Italy.

131 Or "chersydri," "amphibious."

132 Or "starred lizard"—"stellio." In reality it is not poisonous.

133 See B. x. c. 86. Some kind of starred lizard, or an eft or newt perhaps, was thus called: but in most respects it appears to be entirely a fabulous animal.

134 See B ii. c. 63.

135 He probably alludes to the Magi of Persia here, as most of the stories about the salamander appear to bear the aspect of an Eastern origin.

136 See B. xxii. c. 33.

137 "Cybium,." See B. ix. c. 18. Dioscorides says the plant cnecos, described by Pliny in B. xxi. c. 107.

138 See B. xxv. c. 18, and B. xxvii. c. 77.

139 See B. xvi. c. 92, and B. xxvi. cc. 37, 66.

140 "Hereupon peradventure it is that in collices and cockbroths we use to seeth pieces of gold, with an opinion to make them thereby more re- storative."—Holland.

141 See B. xxv. c. 97.

142 The same is said of a frog's tongue, in B. xxxii. c. 18.

143 That is no reason, as Ajasson remarks, why the egg should not be found, it being easy to take it from the nest at night, when, the bird being absent, no ill omen will arise from seeing it.

144 We still see bats nailed upon and over stable doors in various parts of this country.

145 "Carduus."

146 A sort of spider. See B. xi. cc. 21, 28, 29.

147 In c. 16 of this Book.

148 "Lupus." See B. xi. c. 28.

149 The Tarantula has been suggested, but that is a native of Italy.

150 "Atocium."

151 "Plena liberis."

152 From ᾿ράξ,, a "grape."

153 Or "starred" spider. Nicander describes all these varieties of the Phalangium.

154 From μυρμὴξ, "an ant."

155 The "four-jawed" spider.

156 In c. 16 of this Book.

157 See B. viii. c. 83.

158 See B. xix. c. 22. For further particulars as to the Stellio, see B. xi. £. 31, and the Note.

159 This is probably an error; see the Note to B. xi. c. 31.

160 See B. x. cc. 18, 41, 44, and 50.

161 See B. viii. c. 43. Ajasson remarks that this is a mere fabulous story, in reference to the venom of the ants.

162 In B. xxix. c. 23.

163 See B. xxvi. c. 2.

164 See B. xxiii. c. 14.

165 It has been ascertained by experiment that the vesicatory principle resides in the wings more particularly. Ajasson remarks, that it is possible that the ancients may not have known the genuine Cantharides, the Canth. vesicatoria of modern medicine.

166 See B. xxiv. c. 74.

167 "Pityocampæ." See B. xxiii. cc. 30, 40, and B. xxviii. c. 33.

168 See B. xxviii. cc. 21, 33, 42, and B. xxx. c. 10.

169 At the sale, under his supervision, of the property of Ptolemy, king of Cyprus.

170 In B. xxi. c. 34.

171 This is still the vulgar notion; but in reality there is no worm, but certain white pustules beneath the tongue, which break spontaneously at the end of twelve days after birth. Puppies are still "wormed," as it is called, as a preventive of hydrophobia, it is said, and of a propensity to gnaw objects which come in their way. The "worming "consists in the breaking of these pustules.

172 "Rage" or "madness."

173 "For the manner of a dog is to bee angrie with the stone that is thrown at him, without regard to the partie that flung it, whereupon grew the proverb in Greeke, κύων ἐις τὸν λίθον ὰγανακτο̂υσα ('A dog venting his rage upon a stone.')"—Holland.

174 See B. xx. cc. 6, 20. It is somewhat doubtful what the "seps" really was; whether, in fact, it was a lizard at all. Littré suggests the Tridactylus saurius.

175 Or Ferret, probably. See c. 16 of this Book.

176 In c. 16 of this Book.

177 From the circumstance that that country was covered with herbs and plants of a medicinal nature.

178 So called from ἀλωπὴξ, "a fox," an animal very subject to the less of its hair.

179 See B. xii. c. 51.

180 So swine's dung was called "sucerda," and cowdung "bucerda."

181 Or Maagrus, the "fly catcher," the name of a hero, invoked at Aliphera, at the festivals of Athena, as the protector against flies. It was also a surname of Hercules. See B. x. c. 40.

182 See B. viii. c. 53.

183 In c. 32 of this Book.

184 A recipe well understood in the restaurants of the French provinces, Ajasson says, but it is doubtful whether with the object named byour author.

185 He means slugs probably.

186 He does not appear to state this on hearsay only!

187 Cobwebs are still used for this purpose, as also the fur from articles made of beaver. Ajasson mentions English taffeta.

188 See c. 13 of this Book.

189 See B. xxvi. c. 39.

190 A disease of the crystalline humours of the eye.

191 See B. x. c. :33.

192 "Stibium." See B. xxxiii. c. 33.

193 "Exuta vere," as suggested by Sillig, would appear a better reading than "ex utero," which can have no meaning here.

194 "Viper mixture."

195 See c. 35 of this Book.

196 In B xi. c. 62.

197 As Ajasson remarks, this would be very likely to gangrene the wound.

198 See B. viii. c. 14. Not the Boa constrictor of modern Natural History.

199 In B. x. c. 3.

200 See B. xxxiii. c. 25, and B. xxxvi. cc. 37, 38.

201 The tongues of peacocks and larks are recommended for epilepsy, by Lampridius, in his Life of the Emperor Elagabalus. The statement in the text is, of course, a fiction.

202 The reading here is doubtful.

203 A puerile reason, Ajasson remarks. It is much more probable that the reason was, because this vein was the most easily discovered.

204 See B. xxviii. c. 47.

205 In B. xxviii. c. 47.

206 See B. x. c. 52.

207 The serpent so called.

208 An absurdity. The probability is, that the sight of the young birds was only supposed to be destroyed, the operation being imperfectly performed.

209 See B. xxxvii. c. 56.

210 The mention of this number denotes the Eastern origin of this remedy, Ajasson remarks.

211 See Note 6 above.

212 "Lacrymantibus sine fine oculis."

213 Ajasson remarks, that Pliny has given here a much more exact description of the varieties of the Spider, than in the Eleventh Book. The learned Commentator gives an elaborate discussion, of eighteen pages, on the varieties of the Spider as known to the ancients in common with modern naturalists.

214 Green is universally the colour least fatiguing to the eye.

215 See B. xx. c. 23.

216 See B. vii. c. 27, and B. viii. c. 41. The formic acid which ants contain may possibly possess some medicinal properties.

217 Ajasson suggests that this may be the Lacerta cœpium of Dandin, of a reddish brown colour, with two blackish lines running longitudinally along the back.

218 This insect in reality is a woodlouse, whereas the millepedes previously described are evidently caterpillars. Woodlice are still swallowed alive by schoolboys, and old women are to be found who recommend them for consumption. Holland says that woodlice are good for pains in the ears.

219 "Perniciosam."

220 In the middle ages there were many superstitions with reference to this insect, some of which have survived to the present day.

221 Ajasson seems to think that this passage means that the ant itself adopts this plan of catching the cricket. If so, he is certainly in error. and his attack upon Pliny's credulity is, in this instance at least, misplaced.

222 See B. xi. c. 34. and B. xxv. c. 60.

223 "Inhabiting mills."

224 See B. six. c. 38. and B. xxv. c. 33.

225 Of this writer nothing is known.

226 See B. xxiv. c. 11.

227 See the end of this Book.

228 See end of B. ii.

229 See end of B. ii.

230 See end of B. iii.

231 See end of B. ii.

232 See end of B. vi.

233 See end of B. xii.

234 See end of B. vii.

235 See end of B. xiv.

236 See end of B. vii.

237 See end of B. xii.

238 See end of B. xxviii.

239 See end of B. viii.

240 See end of B. xviii.

241 See end of B. xix.

242 See end of B. ii.

243 See end of B. xx.

244 There are four literary persons of this name mentioned by Suidas, who appears to give but a confused account of them. He speaks of an ancient poet of Athens of this name, who wrote a Cosmogony and other works, a native of Priene, to whom some attributed the work on "Incredible Stories," by most persons assigned to Palæphatus of Athens; an historian of Abydos, a contemporary of Alexander the Great, and a friend of Aristotle; and a grammarian of Athens of uncertain date, to whom the work on "incredible Stories "is mostly assigned. But in the former editions of Pliny, the reading "Philopator" is mostly adopted; bearing reference, it has been suggested, to a Stoic philosopher and physician of that name mention by Galen, "On the Symptoms of Mental Diseases," c. 8.

245 See end of B. ii.

246 See end of B. xxi.

247 See end of B. xiii

248 See end of B. xi.

249 See end of B. xii.

250 There were two Greek physicians of this name, one of whom was a native of Thasos, and wrote several medical works. The other was a native of Cnidos, and, according to Suidas, a slave of the philosopher Chrysippus. Galen, however, says that he was a pupil of the physician of that name, and afterwards became physician to Antigonus Gonatas, king of Macedonia, B.C. 283—239. Hardouin is of opinion that the two physicians were one and the same person.

251 See end of B. xx.

252 Servilius Democrates, a Greek physician at Rome about the time of the Christian era. He probably received his prænomen from being a client of the Servilian family. Pliny speaks of him in B. xxiv. c. 28 and B. xxv. c. 49. He wrote several works on medicine in Greek lambic verse, the titles and a few extracts from which are preserved by Galen.

253 Probably the same physician that is mentioned by Galen as belonging to the sect of the Empirici. See c. 39 of this Book.

254 See end of B. xx.

255 A fabulous king of Assyria, or Egypt, to whom was attributed the discovery of many remedies and medicaments. See B. xxx. c. 51, and B. xxxvii. c. 52.

256 See end of B. viii.

257 Beyond the mention made of his absurd remedy in c. 38 of the present Book, nothing seems to be known of this writer.

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