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On Ancient Medicine   


combination (crasis) of these humors having different powers toward
one another. But the hot does not loose its heat when mixed with any
other thing except the cold; nor again, the cold, except when mixed
with the hot. But all other things connected with man become the more
mild and better in proportion as they are mixed with the more things
besides. But a man is in the best possible state when they are concocted
and at rest, exhibiting no one peculiar quality; but I think I have
said enough in explanation of them.


PART 20
Certain sophists and physicians say that it is not possible for any
one to know medicine who does not know what man is [and how he was
made and how constructed], and that whoever would cure men properly,
must learn this in the first place. But this saying rather appertains
to philosophy, as Empedocles and certain others have described what
man in his origin is, and how he first was made and constructed. But
I think whatever such has been said or written by sophist or physician
concerning nature has less connection with the art of medicine than
with the art of painting. And I think that one cannot know anything
certain respecting nature from any other quarter than from medicine;
and that this knowledge is to be attained when one comprehends the
whole subject of medicine properly, but not until then; and I say
that this history shows what man is, by what causes he was made, and
other things accurately. Wherefore it appears to me necessary to every
physician to be skilled in nature, and strive to know, if he would
wish to perform his duties, what man is in relation to the articles
of food and drink, and to his other occupations, and what are the
effects of each of them to every one. And it is not enough to know
simply that cheese is a bad article of food, as disagreeing with whoever
eats of it to satiety, but what sort of disturbance it creates, and
wherefore, and with what principle in man it disagrees; for there
are many other articles of food and drink naturally bad which affect
man in a different manner. Thus, to illustrate my meaning by an example,
undiluted wine drunk in large quantity renders a man feeble; and everybody
seeing this knows that such is the power of wine, and the cause thereof;
and we know, moreover, on what parts of a manís body it principally
exerts its action; and I wish the same certainty to appear in other
cases. For cheese (since we used it as an example) does not prove
equally injurious to all men, for there are some who can take it to
satiety without being hurt by it in the least, but, on the contrary,
it is wonderful what strength it imparts to those it agrees with;
but there are some who do not bear it well, their constitutions are
different, and they differ in this respect, that what in their body
is incompatible with cheese, is roused and put in commotion by such
a thing; and those in whose bodies such a humor happens to prevail
in greater quantity and intensity, are likely to suffer the more from
it. But if the thing had been pernicious to of man, it would have
hurt all. Whoever knows these things will not suffer from it.


PART 21
During convalescence from diseases, and also in protracted diseases,
many disorders occur, some spontaneously, and some from certain things
accidentally administered. I know that the common herd of physicians,
like the vulgar, if there happen to have been any innovation made
about that day, such as the bath being used, a walk taken, or any
unusual food eaten, all which were better done than otherwise, attribute
notwithstanding the cause of these disorders, to some of these things,
being ignorant of the true cause but proscribing what may have been
very proper. Now this ought not to be so; but one should know the
effects of a bath or a walk unseasonably applied; for thus there will
never be any mischief from these things, nor from any other thing,
nor from repletion, nor from such and such an article of food. Whoever

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