Medicine of the Thirteenth Century
HENRY E. HANDERSON, A.M., M.D.
With a Biography of the Author
Published Posthumously for Private Distribution by the Cleveland Medical Library Association Cleveland, Ohio
Page Frontispiece 5
Explanatory Foreword 7
Resolutions of the Cleveland Medical Library Ass'n 15
Gilbertus Anglicus—A Study of Medicine in the Thirteenth Century 17-78
In the summer of 1916 the librarian of the Cleveland Medical Library received a manuscript from Dr. Henry E. Handerson with the request that it be filed for reference in the archives of the library. The librarian at once recognized the value of the paper and referred it to the editorial board of the Cleveland Medical Journal, who sought the privilege of publishing it. Dr. Handerson's consent was secured and the article was set in type. However, when the time came for its publication the author was reluctant to have it appear since he was unable then to read the proof, and because he felt that the material present might not be suitable for publication in a clinical journal. To those who knew him, this painstaking attention to detail and desire for accuracy presents itself as a familiar characteristic. Though actual publication was postponed, the type forms were held, and when the Cleveland Medical Journal suspended publication, its editorial board informed the Council of the Cleveland Medical Library Association of the valuable material which it had been unable to give to the medical world. In the meantime Dr. Handerson's death had occurred, but the Council obtained the generous consent of the author's family to make this posthumous publication. It is hoped that those who read will bear this fact in mind and will be lenient in the consideration of typographical errors, of which the author was so fearful.
The Cleveland Medical Library Association feels that it is fortunate in being enabled to present to its members and to others of the profession this work of Dr. Handerson's and to create from his own labors a memorial to him who was once its president.
SAMUEL W. KELLEY. CLYDE L. CUMMER. Committee on Publication.
HENRY EBENEZER HANDERSON
Owing to Dr. Handerson's modesty, even we who were for years associated with him in medical college, in organization, and professional work, knew but little of him. He would much rather discuss some fact or theory of medical science or some ancient worthy of the profession than his own life. Seeing this tall venerable gentleman, sedate in manner and philosophical in mind, presiding over the Cuyahoga County Medical Society or the Cleveland Medical Library Association, few of the members ever pictured him as a fiery, youthful Confederate officer, leading a charge at a run up-hill over fallen logs and brush, sounding the "Rebel yell," leaping a hedge and alighting in a ten-foot ditch among Federal troopers who surrendered to him and his comrades. Yet this is history. We could perhaps more easily have recognized him even though in a military prison-pen, on finding him dispelling the tedium by teaching his fellow prisoners Latin and Greek, or perusing a precious volume of Herodotus.
Henry Ebenezer Handerson was born on March 21, 1837, here in Cuyahoga county, in the township of Orange, near the point now known as "Handerson's Cross-Roads," on the Chagrin river. His mother's maiden name was Catharine Potts. His father was Thomas Handerson, son of Ira Handerson. The family immigrated to Ohio from Columbia county, New York, in 1834. Thos. Handerson died as the result of an accident in 1839, leaving the widow with five children, the eldest thirteen years of age, to support. Henry and a sister were adopted by an uncle, Lewis Handerson, a druggist, of Cleveland. In spite of a sickly childhood the boy went to school a part of the time and at the age of fourteen was sent to a boarding school, Sanger Hall, at New-Hartford, Oneida county, New York. Henry's poor health compelled him to withdraw from school. No one at that time would have predicted that the delicate youth would live to be the sage of four score years and one. With his foster father and family he moved to Beersheba Springs, Grundy county, Tennessee.
In 1854, in good health, the boy returned to Cleveland, prepared for college, and entered Hobart College, Geneva, New York, where he graduated as A.B. in 1858. Returning to Tennessee, he occupied himself for about a year with surveying land and in other work and then became private tutor in the family of Mr. Washington Compton on a cotton plantation near Alexandria, Louisiana. There he remained a year or more, then in the autumn of 1860 matriculated in the Medical Department of the University of Louisiana (now Tulane University), where he studied through the winter, and also heard much of the political oratory of that exciting period.
The bombardment of Fort Sumter, April 12, 1861, followed by the call of President Lincoln for 75,000 troops to suppress the rebellion, found young Handerson again employed as tutor, this time in the family of General G. Mason Graham, a veteran of the Mexican war.
With his friends and acquaintances, Handerson joined a company of "homeguards" consisting mostly of planters and their sons, formed for the purpose of maintaining "order among the negroes and other suspicious characters of the vicinity."
Many years afterward Dr. Handerson wrote, in a narrative for his family, concerning this period of his life: "Without any disposition to violent partisanship, I had favored the party of which the standard-bearers were Bell and Everett and the battle cry 'The Constitution and the Union,' and I had grieved sincerely over the defeat by the Radicals of the North, aided by the 'fire-eaters' of the South."
And again: "Born and educated in the North, I did not share in any degree the fears of the Southerners over the election to the Presidency of Mr. Lincoln. I could not but think the action of the seceding States unwise and dangerous to their future prosperity. On the other hand, this action had already been taken, and without any prospect of its revocation. Indeed, in the present frame of mind of the North, any steps toward recession seemed likely to precipitate the very evils which the secession of the states had been designed to anticipate. I believed slavery a disadvantage to the South, but no sin, and, in any event, an institution for which the Southerners of the present day were not responsible. An inheritance from their fore-fathers, properly administered, it was by no means an unmitigated evil, and it was one, moreover, in which the North but a few years before had shared. All my interests, present and future, apparently lay in the South and with Southerners, and if the seceding States, in one of which I resided, chose deliberately to try the experiment of self-government, I felt quite willing to give them such aid as lay in my feeble power. When I add to this that I was 24 years of age, and naturally affected largely by the ideas, the enthusiasm and the excitement of my surroundings, it is easy to understand to what conclusions I was led."
So on June 17, 1861, he volunteered in the Stafford Guards under Capt. (afterward Brigadier General) L.A. Stafford. The Guards became company B of the 9th Regiment of Louisiana Volunteers, Confederate States of America, Colonel (later Brigadier General) "Dick" Taylor (son of "Old Zach," the President of the U.S.), in command. During the year that followed until the close of the war, Handerson experienced the adventures and trials of a soldier's life. He knew picket, scouting, and skirmishing duty, the bivouac, the attack and defense in battle formation, the charge, the retreat, hunger and thirst, the wearisome march in heat and dust, in cold, in rain, through swamps and stony wildernesses. He was shot through the hat and clothing and once through the muscles of the shoulder and neck within half inch of the carotid artery, lay in a hospital, and had secondary hemorrhage. At another time he survived weeks of typhoid fever.
He was successively private soldier and accountant for his company, quarter-master, 2nd Lieutenant of the line, Captain of the line, and finally Adjutant General of the 2nd Louisiana Brigade, A. N. Va., under Lee and Jackson, with rank of Major. On May 4, 1864, Adjutant General Handerson was taken prisoner, and from May 17th until August 20th he was imprisoned at Fort Delaware in the Delaware river. He was then confined in a stockade enclosure on the beach between Forts Wagner and Gregg on Morris Island, until about the end of October, when he was transferred to Fort Pulaski at the mouth of the Savannah river, and in March, 1865, back to Fort Delaware. In April, after Lee's surrender, many of the prisoners were liberated on taking the oath of allegiance to the Federal Government. But Handerson did not consider his allegiance to the Southern Confederacy ended until after the capture of President Davis, and it was not until June 17, 1865, that he signed the oath of allegiance and was liberated in Philadelphia.
Since that time, with that spirit of tolerance and openness to truth which characterized the man, he has said, "in the triumph of the Union, the war ended as it should have ended."
Mr. Handerson then resumed his medical studies, this time in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York, Medical Department of Columbia University, taking the degree of M.D. in 1867. Hobart College conferred the A.M. in 1868. On October 16, 1872, he married Juliet Alice Root, who died leaving him a daughter.
February 25, 1878, Dr. Handerson read before the Medical Society of the County of New York an article entitled, "The School of Salernum, an Historical Sketch of Mediaeval Medicine." This essay attracted wide attention to his scholarly attainments and love of laborious research. For example, Professor Edward Schaer of the chair of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, of Neumuenster-Zuerich, pronounces this pamphlet "a valuable gift ... a remarkable addition to other historical materials ... in connection with the history of pharmacy and of pharmaceutical drugs"; that he found in it "a great deal of information which will be sought for in vain in many even renowned literary works."
Dr. Handerson practiced medicine in New York City, from 1867 to 1885, removing to Cleveland in 1885.
On June 12, 1888, he married Clara Corlett of Cleveland.
Then in 1889 appeared the American edition of the "History of Medicine and the Medical Profession, by Joh. Hermann Baas, M.D.," which was translated, revised and enlarged by Dr. Handerson, to whom, in the words of Dr. Baas, "we are indebted for considerable amplification, particularly in the section on English and American medicine, with which he was, of course, better acquainted than the author, and for numerous corrections." ... As a matter of fact, the learning and judgment, and the conscientious industry of the translator and American editor of this work are evident throughout the book.
Concerning Dr. Handerson's writings, Dr. Fielding H. Garrison writes (Medical Pickwick, March, 1915, P. 118): "The earliest of Dr. Handerson's papers recorded in the Index Medicus is 'An unusual case of intussusception' (1880). Most of his other medical papers, few in number, have dealt with the sanitation, vital statistics, diseases and medical history of Cleveland, and have the accuracy which characterizes slow and careful work. This is especially true of his historical essays of which that on 'The School of Salernum' (1883) is a solid piece of original investigation, worthy to be placed beside such things as Holmes on homoeopathy, Weir Mitchell on instrumental precision, or Kelly on American gynecology.
"To the cognoscenti, Dr. Handerson's translation of 'Baas' History of Medicine' (1889) is known as 'Handerson's Book.' He modestly describes himself as its 'editor,' but he is more than that. As the witty and effective translator of a witty and effective work, he has added sections in brackets on English and American history which are based on original investigation and of permanent value to all future historians. Handerson's Baas is thus more complete and valuable than the Rhinelander's original text."
As listed in the Index Medicus, the publications and writings of Dr. Handerson appear as follows:
An unusual case of intussusception. Medical Record, 1880, xviii, 698.
The School of Salernum. An historical sketch of mediaeval medicine. 1883.
Outlines of the history of medicine (Baas). Translated, and in conjunction with the author, revised and enlarged, 1887.
Clinical history of a case of abdominal cancer. Cleveland Medical Gazette, 1891-2, vii, 315-321.
The Sanitary topography of Cleveland. Cleveland Medical Gazette, 1895-6, xi, 651-659.
Cleveland in the Census Reports. Cleveland Medical Gazette, 1896-7, xii, 257-264.
The earliest contribution to medical literature in the United States. Janus, 1899, p. 540.
A review of the Vital Statistics of Cleveland during the last decennium. Cleveland Medical Journal, 1902, i, 71-76.
Epidemics of typhoid fever in Cleveland. Cleveland Medical Journal, 1904, iii, 208-210.
The mortality statistics of the twelfth census. Cleveland Medical Journal, 1905, iv, 425-431.
Co-operative sanitation. Ohio Medical Journal, 1905, i, 278-281.
The medical code of Hammurabi, King of Babylon. Cleveland Medical Journal, 1908, vii, 72-75.
Carcinoma in high life. Cleveland Medical Journal, 1908, vii, 472-476.
Medical Cleveland in the nineteenth (19th) Century. Cleveland Medical Journal, 1909, viii, 59, 146, 208.
Gilbert of England and his "Compendium Medicine." Medical Pickwick, 1915, i, 118-120.
Dr. Handerson was Professor of Hygiene and Sanitary Science in the Medical Department of the University of Wooster, 1894-96, and the same in the Cleveland College of Physicians and Surgeons (Medical Department of Ohio Wesleyan University), 1896 to 1907, and filled that chair with eminent ability. Thus it came about that the ex-Confederate officer taught sanitary science in a college standing upon ground donated by the survivors of an organization of abolitionists.
Dr. Handerson was a member of the Cuyahoga County Medical Society, and its President in 1895; also a member of the Cleveland Academy of Medicine, of the Ohio State Medical Society, and of the American Medical Association. He was one of the founders and an active worker in the Cleveland Medical Library Association and its President from 1896 to 1902.
He was all his life devoted to the Episcopal Church, was Warden of Grace Episcopal Church, Cleveland, for many years, and Treasurer of the Diocese of Ohio during fourteen years.
During his later years Dr. Handerson withdrew entirely from active practice and spent a great deal of time in his library. His papers abound in carefully prepared manuscripts, some of them running into hundreds of pages.
Two years before his death Dr. Handerson became totally blind. This grievous affliction was borne with unvarying patience and cheerfulness. He still loved to recite from memory the classic authors, to relate and discuss episodes of world history and events of the present, to solve difficult mathematical problems, and to have his data on all subjects verified. He retained his faculties perfectly until April 23, 1918, when he died from cerebral hemorrhage.
He is survived by a daughter, two sons by the second marriage, and his devoted wife.
Among numerous letters received from prominent physicians and authors appreciative of Dr. Handerson's medico-historical labors, one from Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes expresses high praise and requests to have sent to him everything which Dr. Handerson might in future write.
It seems eminently appropriate that the essay on "Gilbertus Anglicus." the last from the pen of Dr. Handerson, should be put in book form, together with a sketch, however brief, of its author's earnest life, his sterling character, his geniality and imperturbable equanimity, and thus preserved in testimony of the high esteem in which he was held by his contemporaries.
SAMUEL WALTER KELLEY.
* * * * *
At a meeting of the Council of the Cleveland Medical Library Association, held on May 14, the following resolutions were adopted:
Resolved, That in the death of Dr. Henry E. Handerson the Cleveland Medical Library Association has sustained the loss of one of its most honored and devoted members. His scholarly acquirements were notable, and his eminence as a medical historian generally recognized. His deep interest in the welfare of the Library and his thorough attention to every detail of his official duties were always evident, while his lovable personal qualities endeared him to all.
The Association desires to express its high appreciation of his long and valued services, and extends to his bereaved family its heartfelt and sincere sympathy.
C.A. HAMANN, WM. EVANS BRUNER, J.B. McGEE.
* * * * *
GILBERTUS ANGLICUS (GILBERT OF ENGLAND)
A STUDY OF ENGLISH MEDICINE IN THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY.
BY H.E. HANDERSON, A.M., M.D.
* * * * *
"Nothing in the past is dead to the man who would learn how the present came to be what it is."—Stubbs—Constitutional Hist. of England.
* * * * *
Among the literary monuments of early English medicine the "Compendium Medicinae" of Gilbertus Anglicus merits a prominent position as the earliest complete treatise on general medicine by an English author which has been preserved to our day, and equally because it forms in itself a very complete mirror of the medical science of its age and its country.
Gilbert was undoubtedly one of the most famous physicians of his time. His reputation is recognized in those well-known lines of Chaucer which catalogue the "authorities" of his Doctor of Phisik:
"Wel knew he the olde Esculapius And Deyscorides and eek Rufus, Olde Ypocras, Haly and Galyen, Serapion, Razis and Avycen, Averrois, Damascien and Constantyn, Bernard and Gatesden and Gilbertyn."
He is also quoted with frequency and respect by the medical writers of many succeeding ages, and the Compendium, first printed in 1510, enjoyed the honor of a second edition as late as the seventeenth century (1608). The surname "Anglicus" in itself testifies to the European reputation of our author, for as Dr. Payne sensibly remarks, no one in England would speak of an English writer as "the Englishman."
Yet, in spite of his reputation, we know almost no details of the life of Gilbert, and are forced to content ourselves with the few facts to be gleaned from the scanty biographies of early writers and the inferences drawn from the pages of the Compendium itself. The date and place of his birth and death, and even the field of his medical activities are equally unknown. Bale, Pits and Leland, the earliest English biographers, tell us that Gilbert, after the completion of his studies in England, proceeded to the Continent to enlarge his education, and finally became physician to the great Justiciar, Hubert Walter, archbishop of Canterbury, who died in the year 1205. This would place him under the reign of King John, in the early part of the thirteenth century.
Dr. John Freind, however, the famous English physician and medical historian (1725), observing that Gilbert quotes the Arabian philosopher Averroes (who died in 1198), and believing that he also quotes a work of Roger Bacon and the surgical writings of Theodorius (Borgognoni) of Cervia (1266), was inclined to fix his period in the latter half of the thirteenth century, probably under the reign of Edward I. Most of the later historians of medicine have followed the views of Freind. Thus Eloy adopts the date 1272, Sprengel gives 1290, Haeser the same date, Hirsch says Gilbert lived towards the close of the thirteenth century, Baas adopts the figures 1290, etc.
The most recent biographers of Gilbert, however, Mr. C.L. Kingsford, and the late Dr. Joseph Frank Payne, after an apparently careful and independent investigation of his life, have reached conclusions which vary materially from each other and from those of the historians mentioned. Mr. Kingsford fixes the date of Gilbert at about 1250, while Dr. Payne reverts to the views of Bale and Pits and suggests as approximate figures for the birth and death of Gilbert the years 1170-80 to 1230. This discrepancy of twenty-five or thirty years between the views of two competent and unprejudiced investigators, as a mere question of erudition and interpretation, is perhaps scarcely worthy of prolonged discussion. But as both biographers argue from substantially the same data, the arguments reveal so many interesting and pertinent facts, and the numerous difficulties attending the interpretation of these facts, that some comparison of the different views of the biographers and some criticism of their varying conclusions may not be unwelcome.
[Footnote 1: In Leslie Stephen's "Dictionary of Biography."]
[Footnote 2: British Medical Journal, Nov. 12, 1904, p. 1282.]
In the first place then we must say that, as Gilbert is frequently quoted in the "Thesaurus Pauperum," a work ascribed to Petrus Hispanus, who (under the title Pope John XXI) died in 1277, this date determines definitely the latest period to which the Compendium can be referred. If, as held by some historians, the "Thesaurus" is the work of Julian, the father of Petrus, the Compendium can be referred to an earlier date only.
Now Gilbert in his Compendium (f. 259a) refers to the writings of Averroes (Ibn Roschd) regarding the color of the iris of the eye. Averroes died in the year 1198. There is no pretense that Gilbert was familiar with the Arabic tongue, and the earliest translations into Latin of the writings of Averroes are ascribed by Bacon to the famous Michael Scot, though Bacon says they were chiefly the work of a certain Jew named Andrew, who made the translations for Scot. Bacon also says that these translations were made "nostris temporibus," in our time, a loose expression, which may, perhaps, be fairly interpreted to include the period 1230-1250. But if, as Dr. Payne believes, Gilbert died about 1230, it seems improbable that he could have been familiar with the translations of Michael Scot. Accordingly Dr. Payne suggests that, after the death of his patron in 1205, Gilbert returned to the Continent, and, perhaps in Paris or at Montpellier, met with earlier Latin versions of the writings of the Arabian physician and philosopher. This is, of course, possible, but there is no historical warrant for the hypothesis, which must, for the present at least, be regarded as merely a happy conjecture of Dr. Payne. The presence of Gilbert upon the Continent, probably as a teacher of reputation, seems, however, quite probable. Littre has even unearthed the fact that during the 14th century a street in Paris near the medical schools, bore the name of the Rue Gilbert l'Anglois. A MS. in the Bibliotheque Nationale entitled "Experimenta Magistri Gilliberti, Cancellarii Montepessulani" has suggested also the idea that Gilbert may have been at one time chancellor of the University of Montpellier. Dr. P. Pansier, of Avignon, however, who has carefully examined and published this manuscript, reports that while it contains some formulae found also in the Compendium of Gilbert, it contains many others from apparently other sources, and he was unable to convince himself that the compilation was in fact the work of Gilbertus Anglicus. Dr. Pansier also furnishes us with a list of the chancellors of Montpellier, which contains the name of a certain "Gillibertus," chancellor of the university in 1250. He could find, however, no evidence that this Gillibertus was Gilbertus Anglicus, author of the Compendium Medicinae. On the whole then the visit of Gilbert to France early in the 13th century, and his access in this way to early translations of Averroes, while a convenient and plausible conjecture on the part of Dr. Payne, does not seem supported by any trustworthy historical evidence.
[Footnote 3: Janus, 1903, p. 20.]
The "Liber de speculis" mentioned by Gilbert (f. 126 c), and since the time of Freind generally accepted as the work of Bacon, is almost certainly not from the pen of that eminent philosopher. In addition to the fact that Bacon himself says he had (for obvious reasons) written nothing except a few tracts (capitula quaedam) prior to the composition of his Opus Magnum in 1267, the real author of the Liber de speculis is probably mentioned by Bacon in the following passage from the Opus Tertium:
"Nam in hoc ostenditur specialiter bonitas naturae, ut dicit auctor libri de speculis comburentibus."
[Footnote 4: Cap. XXXVI, p. 116, edition of Brewer.]
We must therefore agree with Dr. Payne that the Liber de speculis of Gilbert was at least not the work of Roger Bacon.
Dr. Freind regards the chapters of Gilbert on the subject of leprosy as borrowed substantially from the "Chirurgia" of Theodorius of Cervia, who wrote about the year 1266. This view has also been generally accepted by later writers. But Dr. Payne boldly challenges the view of Freind, declares that Theodorius copied his chapters from Gilbert, and asserts that Theodorius was a notorious plagiarist. Now, while the bold assertion of Dr. Payne cannot, of course, be accepted as proof of Gilbert's precedence in chronological order, if that precedence is otherwise established, it will explain the similarity of the chapters of the two writers very satisfactorily. For the present, however, this similarity can be adduced as evidence on neither side.
Again, Gilbert, with the enthusiasm of a loyal pupil, speaks (f. 47 b) of a certain Magister Ricardus, "omnium doctorum doctissimus," whose views on uroscopy certainly indicate a mind superior to his age. Now there were about this period at least two eminent physicians who bore the name of Ricardus. Of these the senior, a Frenchman, known also as Ricardus Salednitanus, is highly praised by Aegidius of Corbeil (Gilles de Corbeil, Aegidius Corboliensis), physician to King Philip Augustus of France (1180-1223). This Ricardus was a famous teacher at Salernum when Aegidius was in attendance at that famous university, therefore probably about the close of the 12th century. The second Ricardus, called Parisiensis, has been recently identified by Toply with Richard of Wendover, an English canon of St. Paul's, and at one time physician to Pope Gregory IX, who died in 1241. Toply believes him to have been also the author of the "Anatomia Ricardi," recently published. This Ricardus died in 1252.
Now to which of these Ricardi does the eulogistic language of Gilbert refer? Dr. Payne believes it to be the senior, Ricardus Salernitanus. Mr. Kingsford, on the other hand, thinks it to be Ricardus Parisiensis, who died in 1252. A Liber de urinis has been ascribed to each of them, but, it seems to me, with greater probability to Ricardus Salernitanus. If too the author of the "Anatomia Ricardi" was a contemporary of Gilbert, we might reasonably expect to find in the Compendium some evidences of Gilbert's acquaintance with that work. But Gilbert's discussion of anatomical questions is totally unlike that of the author of the "Anatomia," and betrays not the slightest evidence of knowledge of such a treatise. On the whole then I am inclined to agree in this question with Dr. Payne, and to consider the Ricardus of Gilbert identical with Ricardus Salernitanus, the famous professor of the School of Salernum. This conclusion is further justified by the fact, generally accepted by all modern writers, that Gilbert was himself a pupil of Salernum.
Singularly enough, both Dr. Payne and Mr. Kingsford profess to find in the Compendium some evidence that Gilbert sojourned in Syria for a certain period, though the circumstances of this sojourn are viewed differently by the two biographers. Dr. Payne thinks that the physician, after completing his education in England, proceeded to the Continent and extended his travels as far as Syrian Tripoli, where he met Archbishop Walter and became attached to his staff. As the prelate returned to England in 1192, this sojourn of Gilbert in Syria must have been about 1190-91, when, according to Dr. Payne's chronology, Gilbert could have been not more than about twenty years of age. Dr. Payne bases his story upon a certain passage in the Compendium, in which Gilbert says that he met in Syrian Tripoli "a canonicus suffering from rheumatic symptoms." I have been entirely unable to find the passage referred to in this story, in spite of a careful search of the text of the edition of 1510. But, admitting the existence of the passage in question, it proves nothing as to the date of this alleged Syrian sojourn. Tripoli was captured by the Crusaders in 1109, and continued under their control until its recapture by the Saracens in 1289, a period of nearly two hundred years. Gilbert's travels in Syria may then have occurred at almost any time during this long period, and his fortuitous meeting with Archbishop Walter has very much the appearance of a story evolved entirely from the consciousness of the biographer.
On the other hand, Mr. Kingsford bases his theory of Gilbert's sojourn in Syria upon a story adopted, I think, from Littre and found in the Histoire literaire de la France. The Compendium of Gilbert contains (f. 137a) a chapter giving the composition of a complex collyrium with which he professes to have cured the almost total blindness of Bertram, son of Hugo de Jubilet, after the disease had baffled the skill of the Saracen and Christian-Syrian physicians of his day. Now Littre avers that a certain Hugo de Jubilet was involved in an ambuscade in Syria in the year 1227, and that he had a son named Bertram. It is very natural, of course, to conclude that this Bertram was the patient recorded in the book of Gilbert. Kingsford says that Gilbert "met" Bertram in Syria, but the text of the Compendium says nothing of the locality of their meeting, which might have taken place almost anywhere in Europe, perhaps even at Salernum, a favorite resort of the invalided Crusaders in these times. Finally, Dr. Payne disposes effectually of the authenticity of the entire story by calling attention to the fact that the chapter referred to in the Compendium is marked plainly "Additio," without indicating whether this addition is from the pen of Gilbert or some later glossator.
Finally, I may suggest another line of argument, which, so far as I know, has not yet been advanced for the determination of the period of Gilbert.
The Compendium Medicinae of Gilbert is, of course, a compendium of internal medicine. But the book is also something more. Not less than fifty chapters are devoted to a comparatively full discussion of wounds, fractures and dislocations, lithotomy, herniotomy, fistulae and the various diseases on the border line between medicine and surgery. Not a single surgical writer, however, is quoted by name. Nevertheless the major part of these surgical chapters are either literal copies, or very close paraphrases, of the similar chapters of the "Chirurgia" of Roger of Parma, a distinguished professor in Salernum and the pioneer of modern surgery. The precise period of Roger is not definitely settled by the unanimous agreement of modern historians, but in the "Epilogus" of the "Glosulae Quatuor Magistrorum" it is said that Roger's "Chirurgia" was "in lucem et ordinem redactum" by Guido Arietinus, in the year of our Lord 1230. This date, while perhaps not unquestionable, is also adopted by De Renzi, the Italian historian of Medicine. The original MS. of Roger's work is said to be still in existence in the Magliabechian Library in Florence, but it has never been published in its original form. Roland of Parma, however, a pupil of Roger, published in 1264 what purports to be a copy of Roger's "Chirurgia" with some notes and additions of his own, and it is from this MS. of Roland that all our copies of Roger's work have been printed. Roger's "Chirurgia" was popularly known as the "Rogerina;" the edition of Roland as the "Rolandina." They are frequently confounded, but are not identical, though the additions of Roland are usually regarded as of little importance. In the absence of Roger's manuscript, however, they lead often to considerable confusion, as it is not always easy to determine in the printed copies of the "Rolandina" just what belongs to Roger and what to his pupil and editor. Now a careful comparison of the surgical chapters of Gilbert of England with the published text of the "Rolandina" leads me to the conviction that Gilbert had before him the text of Roger, rather than that of Roland, his pupil. If such is the fact, Gilbert's Compendium must have been written between 1230 and 1264, the dates respectively of the "Rogerina" and "Rolandina."
[Footnote 5: Haeser says that this MS. of Roger's "Chirurgia," made by Guido Arenitensium, was discovered by Puccinoti in the Magliabechian library, and that an old Italian translation of the same work is also found there. The latter was the work of a certain Bartollomeo.
The text used to represent Roger in the present paper is that published by De Renzi (Collectio Salernitana, tom. II, pp. 426-493) and entitled "Rogerii, Medici Celeberrimi Chirurgia." It is really the text published originally in the "Collectio Chirurgica Veneta" of 1546, of which the preface says:
"His acceserunt Rogerii ac Guil. Saliceti chirurgiae, quarum prior quibusdam decorata adnotationibus nunc primum in lucem exit, etc.," and adds further on:
"Addidimus etiam quasdam in Rogerium veluti explanationes, in antiquissimo codice inventas, et ab ipso fortasse Rolando factas." While I may recognize gratefully the surgical enthusiasm which led the editor to the publication of these "veluti explanationes," for my present purpose he would have earned more grateful recognition if he had left them unprinted. As the text now stands it is merely a garbled edition of the Rolandina. However, it is the best representative of the "Chirurgia" of Roger at present available. See De Renzi, op. cit., p. 425.]
From a careful review of the data thus presented we may epitomize, somewhat conjecturally, the life of Gilbert substantially as follows: He was probably born about 1180 and received his early education in England. On the completion of this education, about the close of the 12th century, he proceeded to the Continent to complete his studies, and spent some time in the school of Salernum, where it is probable that he enjoyed the instruction of Roger of Parma, Ricardus Salernitanus, and may have had among his fellow-students Aegidius of Corbeil. Probably after his return to England he served for a brief period on the staff of Archbishop Hubert Walter, after whose death in 1205, but at an unknown period, Gilbert returned once more to the Continent, where it seems probable he spent the remainder of his life. This comports best with his extensive European reputation, his surname "Anglicus" and the comparative dearth in England of any facts relating to his life. The date of the Compendium I am inclined to place about 1240, prior to the literary activity of Ricardus Parisiensis or Richard of Wendover, Roland of Parma, Roger Bacon and Theodorius of Cervia. We may place his death, conjecturally, at about 1250.
The first edition of the Compendium is a small quarto of 362 folios (724 modern pages), five by seven inches in size, printed in double narrow columns, in black letter, perfectly legible and clear. The pagination shows some errors, but the text itself is remarkably accurate, though the presence of a multiplicity of contractions and ligatures renders the reading somewhat difficult to the modern student. On the last page we find the following colophon:
Explicit compendium medicine Gilberti Anglici correctum et bene emendatum per dominum Michaelem de Capella artium et medicine doctorem: ac Lugduni Impressum per Jacobum Saccon: expensis Vincentii de Portonariis. Anno Domini M.D.x. die vero vigesima mensis Novembris.
The second edition (which I have not seen) is said to bear the title: "Laurea anglicana, sive compendium totius medicinae, etc," Geneva, 1608.
It should be noticed that the title "Laurea anglicana" is not mentioned in the original edition of 1510, but is apparently due to the exuberance of enthusiasm of the editor of the later edition, whose taste seems to have been more flamboyant.
Various manuscript works of greater or less authenticity are ascribed to Gilbert by different authorities. Of these Mr. Kingsford furnishes the following list:
1. "Commentarii in Versus Aegidii de Urinis," quoted by John Gaddesden and probably authentic.
2. "Practica Medicinae," mentioned by Pits, but of doubtful authenticity.
3. "Experimenta Magistri Gilliberti, Cancellarii Montepessulani," noticed on page 2, but authenticity doubtful.
4. "Compendium super Librum Aphorismorum Hippocratis." MS. in Bodleian.
5. "Eorundem Expositio." MS. in Bodleian.
6. "Antidotarium." MS. in Caius College.
To these he adds, on the authority of Bale and Pits:
7. "De Viribus Aquarum et Specierum."
8. "De Proportione Fistularum."
9. "De Judicio Patientis."
10. "De Re Herbaria."
11. "De Tuenda Valentudine."
12. "De Particularibus Morbis."
13. "Thesaurus Pauperum."
All of these latter may be regarded as doubtful.
The authorities named by Gilbert are Pythagoras, Hippocrates, Plato, Aristotle, Galen, Rufus, Maerobius, Boetius, Alexander of Tralles, Theodorus Priscianus, Theophilus Philaretes, Stephanon (of Athens?), the Arabians Haly Abbas, Rhazes, Isaac Judaeus, Joannitius, Janus Damascenus, Jacobus Alucindi, Avicenna and Averroes; the Salernian writers, quoted generally as Salernitani and specifically Constantino Africanus, Nicholas Praepositus, Romoaldus Ricardus and Maurus, and two otherwise unknown authors, Torror and Funcius, classed by Gilbert as "antiqui." The latter author is also said to have written a "Liber de lapidibus." Certainly this list suggests a pretty good medical library for a practitioner of the 13th century.
Dr. Payne calls attention to the fact that all these writers antedate the 13th century, and thus limit the period of Gilbert in antiquity. This is undoubtedly true with reference to authorities actually named, but does not exclude from consideration other writers quoted, but not named, whom we shall have occasion to refer to hereafter.
The Compendium opens with a very brief and modest foreword, couched in the following terms:
"Incipit liber morborum tam universalium quam particularium a magistro Gilberto anglico editus ab omnibus autoribus et practicis magistrorum extractus et exceptus, qui compendium medicine intitulatur."
It will be observed that no claim whatever for originality is presented by the author. He calls his book a compendium extracted from all authors and the practice of the professors, and edited only by himself. The same idea is more fully emphasized later (f. 55c), where he says:
"Sed consuetudo nostra est ex dictis meliorum meliora aggregare, et ubi dubitatio est, opiniones diversas interserere; ut quisque sibi eligat quam velit retinere."
The self-abnegation implied in these extracts must not, however, be interpreted too literally, for the editorial "dico" on numerous pages, and even an occasional chapter marked "Propria opinio," testify to the fact that Gilbert had opinions of his own, and was ready on occasion to furnish them to the profession. On the whole, however, the "Compendium" is properly classified by the author as a compilation, rather than an original work.
The Compendium is divided into seven books, and the general classification of diseases is from head to foot—the usual method of that day. The modern reader will probably be surprised at the comprehensiveness of the work, which, besides general diseases, includes considerable portions of physiology, physiognomy, ophthalmology, laryngology, otology, gynecology, neurology, dermatology, embryology, obstetrics, dietetics, urinary and venereal diseases, therapeutics, toxicology, operative surgery, cosmetics and even the hygiene of travel and the prevention of sea-sickness. Some of these subjects too are discussed with an acuteness and a common sense quite unexpected. Of course, scholastic speculations, superstition, charms, polypharmacy and the use of popular and disgusting remedies are not wanting. Even the mind of a philosopher like Roger Bacon was unable to rise entirely above the superstition of his age. But the charms and popular specifics of Gilbert are often introduced with a sort of apology, implying his slight belief in their efficacy. Thus in his chapter on the general treatment of wounds (f. 87a) he introduces a popular charm with the following words:
"Alio modo, solo divino carmine confisi, quidam experti posse curari omnes plagas hoc.
"Tres boni fratres per viam unam ibant, et obviavit eis noster dominus jesus christus et dixit eis, tres boni fratres quo itis, etc."
And again, in his discussion of the treatment of gout and rheumatism (f. 327b), Gilbert adds, under the title
"Quamvis ego declino ad has res parum, tamen est bonum scribere in libro nostro, ut non remaneat tractatus sine eis quas dixrunt antiqui. Dico igitur quod dixit torror: Si scinderis pedem rane viridis et ligaveris supra pendem podagrici per tres dies, curatur; ita quod dextrum pedum rane ponas supra dextrum pedem patientis, et e converso. Et dixit Funcius, qui composuit librum de lapidibus, quod magnes, si ligatus fuerit in pedem podagrici, curatur. Et alius philosophus dixit. Si accipiatur calcancus asine et ponatur ligatus supra pedem egri, curatur, ita quod dexter supra dextrum, et e converso. Et juravit quod sit verum. Et dixit torror quod si ponatur pes testudinis dexter supra dextrum pedem podagrici, et e converso, curatur."
We may believe, indeed, that Gilbert would have preferred to follow in the therapeutic footsteps of Hippocrates, had he not disliked to be regarded by his colleagues as eccentric and opinionated. For he says in his treatment of thoracic diseases (f. 193c):
"Etenim eleganter dedit Ipo. (Hippocrates) modum curationis, sed ne a medicis nostri temporis videamur dissidere, secundum eos curam assignemus."
Gilbert was a scholastic-humoralistic physician par excellence, delighting in superfine distinctions and hair-splitting definitions, and deriving even pediculi from a superfluity of the humors (f. 81d). Of course he was also a polypharmacist, and the complexity, ingenuity, and comprehensiveness of his prescriptions would put to shame even the "accomplished therapeutist" of these modern days. In dietetics too Gilbert was careful and intelligent, and upon this branch of therapeutics he justly laid great emphasis.
The first book of the Compendium, comprising no less than 75 folios, is devoted entirely to the discussion of fevers. Beginning with the definition of Joannicius (Honain ebn Ishak):
"Fever is a heat unnatural and surpassing the course of nature, proceeding from the heart into the arteries and injuring the patient by its effects."
Gilbert launches out with genuine scholastic finesse and verbosity into a discussion of the questions whether this definition is based upon the essentia or the differentia of fever; whether the heat of fever is natural or unnatural, and other similar subtle speculations, and finally arrives at a classification of fevers so elaborate and complex as to be practically almost unintelligible to the modern reader.
The more important of these fevers or febrile conditions are:
Ephemeral Hemitertian Double quartan Interpolated Synocha Causon synochides Epilala Quotidian Double tertian Quintan Continued Causon Putrid Lipparia Tertian Quartan Sextan Synochus Synochus causonides Ethica Erratica
Some of these names are still preserved in our nosologies of the present day; others will be recalled by the memories of our older physicians, and a few have totally disappeared from our modern medical nomenclature.
Interpolated fevers are characterized by intermissions and remissions, and thus include our intermittent and remittent fevers; synochus depended theoretically upon putrefaction of the blood in the vessels, and was a continued fever. Synocha, on the other hand, was occasioned by a mere superabundance of hot blood, hence the verse:
"Synocha de multo, sed synochus de putrefacto."
Causon was due to putrefaction of bile in the smaller vessels of the heart, diaphragm, stomach or liver, and was an acute fever characterized by furred tongue, intolerable frontal headache, tinnitus aurium, constant thirst, delirium, an olive-colored face, redness and twitching of the eyes and a full, frequent and rapid pulse. Epiala and lipparia were febrile conditions concerning which there seems to have been much difference of opinion, even in the days of Gilbert. Apparently they were distinguished by variations of external and internal temperature, or by chills combined with fever. Febris ethica is our modern hectic fever. In the discussion of this last variety we are introduced to the "ros" and "cambium" of Avicenna, apparently varieties of hypothetical humors.
All these fevers are regarded from the standpoint of Humoralism, and depend upon variations in the quantity, quality, mixture or location of the four humors, blood, phlegm, bile and black-bile (melancholia).
In the general treatment of febrile diseases, so-called preparatives and digestives are first employed to ripen the humors, after which evacuatives (emetics, cathartics, sudorifics, and occasionally even venesection) are utilized for the discharge of these peccant humors. Much emphasis is laid upon the dietetics of fevers, and this branch of treatment is highly elaborated. Complications are met by more or less appropriate treatment, and the condition of the urine is studied with great diligence. Venesection is recommended rather sparingly, and is never to be employed during the dies caniculares (dog-days) or dies Aegyptiaci, nor during conjunctions of the moon and planets, nor upon the 5th, 15th, 17th, 25th, 26th, or 27th days thereafter, etc.
Among the complications of fevers discussed by Gilbert, two seem sufficiently important to justify special attention. On folio 74b we find a section entitled "De fluxu materie per parotidas venas," in which he remarks that "Sometimes matter flows through the parotid veins behind the ears down to the neck and nares, and obstructs the passages for air, food and drink, so as to threaten suffocation." He cautions us against the use of repressives, "lest the matter may run to the heart," and recommends mollitives and dissolvents, such as butter, dyaltea, hyssop and especially newly shorn wool (lana succida), which, he says, is a strong solvent. Is this a reference to the septic parotitis not unfrequently seen in low fevers?
The following section, "De inflatione vesice et dolore ejus," discusses the retention of urine in fevers, and its treatment. Gilbert says: "Inflation of, and pain in the bladder are sometimes symptoms of acute fevers, since the humors descend into and fill the bladder." If this occurs in an interpolated (remittent) fever, he directs the patient to be placed in a bath of a decoction of pellitory up to the umbilicus, "et effundet urinam." If the complication occurs in one suffering from a continued fever, the bath should be made of wormwood and a poultice should be placed over the bladder and genitals, "et statim minget." The same effect may be produced by poultice mixed with levisticum (lovage) or leaves of parsley. Singularly enough the catheter is not mentioned, though this instrument, under the medieval name of argalia (cf. French algalie), is noticed frequently in the section devoted to vesical calculus.
With the second book of the Compendium the system of the discussion of diseases a capite ad pedes is commenced, and produces some curious associates. To the modern physician the sudden transition from diseases of the scalp to fractures of the cranium seems at least abrupt, if not illogical. It seems, therefore, wiser, in a hasty review like the present, to take up the various pathological conditions described by Gilbert in their modern order and relations, and to thus facilitate the orientation of the reader.
The second book then opens with a consideration of the hair and scalp, and their respective disorders.
The hair is a dry fume (fumus siccus), escaping from the body through the pores of the scalp and condensed by contact with the air into long, round cylinders. It increases rather by accretion than by internal growth, and its color depends upon the humors. Thus red hair arises from unconsumed blood or bile; white hair, from an excess of phlegm; black hair, from the abundance of black-bile (melancholia), etc. The use of the hair is for ornament, for protection and for the distinction of the sexes. Numerous prescriptions for dyeing the hair, for depilatories (psilothra), for the removal of misplaced hair and for the destruction of vermin in the hair are carefully recorded.
Three varieties of soaps for medicinal use are described, and the process of their manufacture indicated. The base of each is a lixivium made from two parts of the ashes of burned bean-stalks and one of unslaked lime, mixed with water and strained. Of this base (capitellum), two parts mixed with one part of olive oil form the sapo saracenicus. In the sapo gallicus the base is made with the ashes of chaff and bean-stalks with lime, and to it is added goat's fat, in place of the oil. The sapo spatareuticus is made in a similar manner, except that oil replaces the goat's fat and the soap is made only during the dog days, since the necessary heat is to be supplied by the sun alone.
Among the diseases of the scalp attention is given to alopecia, dandruff (furfur), tinea caries and various pustular affections, fanus (favus), rima, spidecia, achora, etc. Caries was a pustular disease, in which bristle-like hairs formed a prominent feature. Rima was a name applied by the physicians of Salernum to a superfluity of hair. In addition to these diseases of the scalp, we find also descriptions of gutta rosacea, morphoea and scabies, a fairly extensive dermatology for this early day. In favus, Gilbert tells us that, after the removal of the pustules, there remain foramina, from which exudes a poisonous substance, resembling honey. Of course his system of treatment is rich in variety and comprehensiveness.
We may notice here too a few chapters on Toilet or Decorative Medicine, a branch of art to which modern physicians have devoted perhaps too little attention, with the natural result that it has fallen largely into the hands of charlatans of both sexes. Gilbert's chapter "De ornatu capillorum" offers the following sensible introduction: "The adornment of the hair affords to women the important advantages of beauty and convenience; and as women desire to please their husbands, they devote themselves to adornment and protect themselves from the charge of carelessness. In order, therefore, that our ministry may not be depreciated, and that we may not render ourselves liable to the accusation of ignorance, let us add a few words on the subject of the dressing of the hair and the general care of the person".
Accordingly Gilbert advises ladies who desire to retain or renew the charms of youth to soften the skin and open its pores by the use of steam baths and careful washing in warm water, followed by drying the surface with the finest cloths (panno mundissimo). If necessary, superfluous hair is to be removed by suitable depilatories, color to be restored to the pale cheeks by a lotion of chips of Brazil-wood soaked in rose-water and applied with pads of cotton; or, if the face is too red, it may be blanched by the root of the cyclamen (panis porcinus, sowbread) dried in an oven and powdered. A wealth of remedies for freckles, moles, warts, wrinkles, discolorations and other facial blemishes, with foul breath and fetidity of the armpits, is carefully recorded, and would suffice to establish the fortune of any of our modern specialists in female beauty. Finally a long chapter entitled "De sophisticatione vulvae" introduces us to a phase of decoration and sophistication which I would fain believe little known or studied in the development of modern civilization, in which we are prone at least to follow the advice of Hamlet, to
"Assume a virtue, if you have it not."
At all events, we may congratulate ourselves that the details of these disgusting cess-pools of medical art have disappeared entirely from the pages of our modern text-books. Even Gilbert considers it advisable to preface this gruesome chapter with a sort of "Caveat emptor" apology to the reader:
"Ut tamen secundum ordinem procedamus, in primis cognosactur cognoscere desiderantibus, ne dolus dolo patrocinetur, vel simplex dolose muscipula claudatur."
[Footnote 6: This apparent anachronism carries us back to the history of the mythical Island of Brazil, which appeared upon our charts as late as the middle of the 19th century.]
In the department of neurology Gilbert, after a philosophical discussion of the nature and variety of pain, devotes considerable chapters to the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of headache, hemicrania, epilepsy, catalepsy, analepsy, cerebral congestion, apoplexy and paralysis, phrenitis, mania and melancholia, incubus or nightmare, lethargy and stupor, lippothomia or syncope, sciatica, spasm, tremor, tetanus, vertigo, wakefulness, and jectigation (jactitation, formication, twitching).
The third book of the Compendium opens with several chapters on the anatomy and physiology of the eye and the phenomena of vision. According to Gilbert, the eye consists of three humors, the albugineous (aqueous), the crystalline lens and the vitreous humor, and seven tunics, apparently
1. The conjunctiva 2. The albuginea or sclerotic 3. The cornea 4. The secundina (choroid) 5. The rethilea (retina) 6. The aranea (iris) 7. The uvea perforata (posterior layer of iris),
though the definitions are not in all cases quite clear and definite. The tela aranea is said to take its origin from the retina, the retina from the optic nerve, and the latter from the rethi (rete, network) involving the substance of the brain. The cornea arises from the sclerotic tunic, the uvea and secundina take their origin from the pia mater, and the conjunctiva from a thin pellicle or membrane which covers the exterior of the cranium and is nourished by a transudation of the blood through the coronal suture. This pellicle is also said to have a connection with the heart, which arrangement furnishes a decidedly curious explanation of the mechanism of sympathetic and maudlin lachrymation. For, as Gilbert tells us, when the heart is compressed this pellicle is also compressed, and if any moisture is found beneath the pellicle it is expressed into the substance of the lachrymal gland by the constriction of the heart, and men in sorrow therefore shed tears. And again, if the heart is much dilated or elevated (by joy), this pellicle is also dilated or elevated, and if any moisture is found beneath it, it is expressed in the form of tears. Accordingly, men who are too joyful shed tears. Still further, drunken men, who are notoriously "moist," and have a superfluity of fluid between the pellicle and the skin of the cranium, are prone to weeping on slight provocation, and their tears are nothing more than an expression of this moisture, which makes its exit, not through the substance of the eye, but through the "lachrymal angle." Q.E.D.
This odd demonstration is followed by a succession of optical questions, which are discussed and answered in true scholastic style, with no little acuteness of observation. Thus: "Utrum visus fiat intus suscipiendo?" Is vision accomplished by something received into the eye? "Utrum color fit de nocte?" Does color exist at night? To the latter question Gilbert replies that in the darkness color exists in posse, but not in esse. Again: "Why do some animals see at night, some in the day only and some only in the twilight?" This phenomenon he ascribes to "the clearness and subtilty of the visual spirits, or to the strength, weakness, grossness or turbidity of the organs of vision." Some animals, he says, have (visual) spirits, subtle and clear as fire, and these animals see perfectly at night because the visual spirits (spiritus visibilis) are sufficient to illuminate the external air. "Why do objects in water seem nearer than those in air?" Gilbert explains this as follows: "Nothing appears distant, except as perceived through an extensive intervening medium. But our judgment is largely guided by the transparency of this medium, since the medium itself is not perceived with much accuracy, except when it is transparent. Accordingly, as the lucidity of air is greater than that of water, an object looks more distant through air than through water."
"Why does not a single object appear double, inasmuch as we have two eyes?" To this he replies: "From the anterior part of the brain two optic nerves pass to the two eyes. But these two nerves unite at a certain point into one. Now, since the two nerves are of equal length, two images proceeding from a single object do not make the object seem double, but single, since the two images are united into one, and accordingly one object is seen as one image."
Other physiological speculations are introduced by the questions: "May one see an object not actually present?" "Why do some animals see best objects at a distance, others those near at hand?" "Why are objects seen in their proper position?" All these questions are answered in accordance with the scholastic formulae, and, not infrequently, with considerable acuteness.
A chapter entitled "De signis oculorum" also introduces us to a curious discussion of ocular physiognomy. Thus:
"When we see a man with large eyes, we argue that he is indolent."
"If his eyes are deeply situated in his head, we say that he is crafty and a deceiver."
"If his eyes are prominent, we say that he is immodest, loquacious and stupid."
"He whose eyes are mobile and sharp is a deceiver, crafty and a thief."
"He whose eyes are large and tremulous is lazy and a braggart (spaciosus?), and fond of women."
and so forth for an entire page of the Compendium.
Actual diseases of the eye are discussed in chapters on pain in the eyes, ophthalmia, pannus (including ungula, egilops and cataract), tumors of the conjunctiva, itching of the eyes, lachrymation, cancer, diseases of the cornea and uvea, diseases of the eyelids, lachrymal fistula and entropion. The treatment consists generally in ointments and collyria in abundance, but in fistula lachrymalis incision and tents of alder-pith, mandragora (malum terrae), briony, gentian, etc., are recommended, and entropion is referred directly to the surgeon.
The Latin term cataracta (also catarracta and catarractes) is applied to a disease of the eyes by Gregory of Tours (Hist. Franc., v. 6) as early as A.D. 650, and again by Constantine Africanus, of the school of Salernum, in 1075 (De Chirurg., cap. XXX). Singularly the word is not found in the "Chirurgia" of Roger of Parma, from whom Gilbert seems to have borrowed most of his surgical knowledge. Nor is it employed by Roland, Roger's pupil and editor. It recurs, however, in the Glossulae Quatuor Magistrorum (about 1270). But in all these writers cataracta seems to be included under the general term pannus, meaning opacities of every kind. Indeed Gilbert says, "Ungula, egilops, cataracta and macula are species of pannus, all arising from the same causes and cured by the same treatment." A few lines later, however, in distinguishing these various species, he adds: "Cataract arises from a humor collected between the tunics of the eye": and again it is said to be blood filling the veins of the eyes, and especially those of the conjunctiva, and derives its name a caracteribus (?). The truth is none of these writers seem to have any very definite knowledge of the distinction between the various opacities of the media of the eye, all of which were included under the general term pannus. But, what is more remarkable, Roger, Roland and The Four Masters make no mention of the possibility of surgical interference in these cases, but content themselves with elaborate collyria and ointments, or simply with internal treatment. Gilbert, on the other hand, while recommending these collyria and ointments, and even the internal remedies, adds the following:
"Interior autem macula, quae tela vocatur, subcornea situata, si vl'e (?) purgatione precendente et colliriis et pulveribus non removetur, acu torta immissa per caprinum angulum extrahatur aut inferius replicetur" (f. 137a).
And again (f. 141d):
"In uvea sunt largitas et constrictio et aqua sive cataracta.... Aqua quandoque per medium pupille descendit, inferius stans, subuvea apparens, quae perfecte curatur secundum quosdam immisso acus aculeo per pupillam, ut extra fluat aqua."
Chapters on the physiology of hearing, smelling and the sensation of touch are followed by a discussion of the symptoms and treatment of earache, abscess of the ear, discharges (bloody and sanious) from the ear, worms and other foreign bodies in the ear, tinnitus aurium, deafness, coryza, epistaxis, nasal polypi, ozaena, cancer of the nose, fissures and ulcers of the lips, foul breath, diseases of the tongue, toothache, etc.
Physiognomy, a favorite theme with our author, appears again in a considerable chapter on the physiognomy of the nose, mouth, face and the teeth.
"He who laughs frequently is kind and genial in all things and is not worried over trifles."
"He who laughs rarely is contrary and critical."
"He who has large ears is stolid and long-lived."
"He who has a large mouth is gluttonous and daring."
"He whose teeth are defective and small is weak in his whole body."
"He whose canine teeth are long and straight is a glutton and a rascal."
The department of genito-urinary diseases is introduced by a long chapter entitled "De approximeron," a formidable Latin word defined by Gilbert as sexual impotence. An elaborate discussion of the physiology of generation and the phenomena of impotence is followed by a collection of remedies for the condition, of which the best that can be said is that they are probably no less effective than most of the modern drugs recommended for the same purpose. Concerning a function over which so many fond superstitions still linger in the public mind we may, perhaps, charitably forgive Gilbert for the introduction of an empirical remedy for sterility, which, he assures us, he has often tried and with invariable success, and which enjoys the double advantage of applicability to either sex.
"Let a man, twenty years of age or more, before the third hour of the vigil of St. John the Baptist, pull up by the roots a specimen of consolida major (comfrey) and another of consolida minor (healall), repeating thrice the Lord's prayer (oratio dominica). Let him speak to no one while either going or returning, say nothing whatever, but in deep silence let him extract the juice from the herbs and with this juice write on as many cards as may be required the following charm:
"Dixit dominus crescite. [symbol: dagger]. Uthihoth. [symbol: dagger]. multiplicamini. [symbol: dagger]. thahechay. [symbol: dagger]. et replete terram. [symbol: dagger]. amath.
"If a man wears about his neck a card inscribed with these identical words written in this juice, he will beget a male. Conversely, if a woman, she will conceive a female" (f. 287b).
Gilbert, however, cautions the bearer of this potent charm of the possible dangers of satyriasis incurred thereby, and offers suitable remedies for so alarming a condition.
Chapters on satyriasis, gomorrhea (gonorrhea in its etymological sense, seminal emissions), with a third entitled "De pustulis et *apostematibus virgae" complete this department of medical art. The last chapter recognizes the venereal origin of the pustules and ulcers discussed, but furnishes no direct evidence of Gilbert's belief in the existence of a specific venereal poison.
While Gilbert is very scrupulous in his examination of the gross appearances of the urine in most diseases, his discussion of the diseases of the kidneys and bladder includes only pain in the kidneys, abscess of the kidneys, renal and vesical calculus, hematuria, incontinence of urine, dysuria and strangury.
The chapter on hematuria presents a very curious specimen of medieval pathology. Gilbert says: "The escape of blood in the urine is due sometimes to the liver, sometimes to the bile, sometimes to the kidneys and loins, sometimes to the bladder. If the blood is pure and clear, in large quantity, mixed perfectly with the urine and accompanied by pain in the right hypochondrium, it comes from the liver. Such urine presents scarcely any sediment. If the blood comes from the lrili vein, it is also rather pure, but less pure than in the former case, nor is the quantity so great, while pain is felt over the region of the seventh vertebra, counting from below. If it comes from the kidneys, it is scanty and pure as it leaves the bladder, but soon coagulates and forms a dark deposit in the vessel, while pain is felt in the pubes and peritoneum.... If pus, blood and epithelium (squamae) are passed, and the odor is strong, it signifies ulceration of the bladder" (f. 275b).
[Footnote 7: In his chapter on embryology (f. 304c) Gilbert describes the lrili vein as follows: "The embryo is nourished by means of the lrili or lrineli vein, which does not exist in man. This vein has its origin in the liver and divides into two branches. Of these the superior branch bifurcates, and one of its branches goes to the right breast, the other to the left, conveying blood from the liver. This blood in the breast is bleached white (dealbatur) like milk, and forms the nourishment of the infant. The inferior branch of the lrili vein also bifurcates, sending one of its branches to the right cornu of the uterus, the other to the left. These vessels carry blood into the cotyledons, whence it is transmitted to the fetus and digested by its digestive faculty."]
Diabetes is defined as "An immoderate passage or attraction of urine from the liver to the kidneys and its passage through the kidneys, as the result of a warm or dry distemperature of these organs." The idea of some association of the liver and kidneys in the production of diabetes is at least as old as the eleventh century, and Gilbert's definition of the disease is undoubtedly borrowed from the "Practica" of John Platearius (A.D. 1075), of the school of Salernum. The symptoms, continual thirst, dryness of the mouth, emaciation, in spite of an inordinate appetite, frequent and profuse urination, are correctly given, but no knowledge of the presence of sugar in the urine is indicated.
Dyampnes (involuntary micturition) claims a page or more of explanation and treatment, and its frequent occurrence in old men and children is noticed.
In the department of the diseases of women chapters are devoted to amenorrhea, menorrhagia, hysteria (suffocatio matricis), prolapse, ulceration, abscess, cancer, dropsy and "ventosity" of the uterus (physometra).
In the allied department of obstetrics we find chapters on the signs of conception, on the urine in pregnant women, on difficult labor, prolapsus uteri, retention of the placenta, post partum hemorrhage, afterpains, and the oedema of pregnancy. The causes of difficult labor, according to Gilbert, are malposition, dropsy, immoderate size and death of the fetus, debility of the uterus and obstruction of the maternal passages. Malpositions are to be corrected by the hand of the midwife (obstetrix). Adjuvant measures are hot baths, poultices, inunctions, fumigations and sternutatories, and the use of certain herbs.
In the departments of general medicine not as yet entirely appropriated by specialists it will suffice to mention scrofula, pleurisy and pneumonia, hemoptysis, empyema, phthisis, cardiac affections, diseases of the stomach, liver and spleen, diarrhoea and dysentery, intestinal worms, dropsy, jaundice, cancer, rheumatism and gout, small-pox, measles, leprosy and hydrophobia, all of which claim more or less attention.
Peripneumonia and pleurisy are both inflammations of the chest, the former affecting the lungs, the latter the diaphragm and the pellicle which lines the ribs. The prominent symptoms of both diseases are pain in the chest or side, cough and fever and dyspnoea. Accidents or sequelae are hemoptysis, empyema and phthisis.
Empima (empyema) is the hawking-up of sanies, with infection of the lung and a sanious habit. Hence persons laboring under pneumonia or pleurisy are not necessarily empyemics, but when these diseases progress to such a point that blood and sanies are expectorated and the lung is infected, that is when the ulceration of the lungs fails to heal and corruption and infection occur, the disease becomes empima, and is with difficulty, or never cured.
Ptisis is a substantial consumption of the humidity of the body, due to ulceration of the lungs. For when a solution of continuity occurs in the lungs, the inspiratory and expiratory forces fail. Hence the lungs do not inspire sufficient air to mitigate the innate heat of the heart, and the heart fails to purify itself of the fumosity or fumous vapors generated in itself. Accordingly, deprived of the means of mitigating its heat or ventilating its fumosities, the spirits within it become unduly heated, and a consuming fire is generated in the entire body.
The symptoms of ptisis are a continued fever, greater or less, detected in the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, thirst, a roughness of the tongue, slenderness of the neck, wasting of the entire body, constipation, wasting and shrinking of the finger-nails and fingers, hollowness of the eyes, pain in the left scapula extending to the shoulder, pharyngeal catarrh with abundant and mucilaginous sputum and a tendency to lachrymation. If the sputum thrown upon the coals emits a fetid odor, it is a sign of confirmed ptisis, which is incurable. The disease when it occurs in youths and young persons rarely lasts longer than a year, often terminates in less time, and may sometimes, by the aid of medicine, be prolonged for a greater period. If the sputum received during the night in a vessel is flushed in the morning with warm water, while some impurities remain upon the surface, the putrid matter will sink to the bottom (sputum fundum petens), and the indications are fatal. Likewise sharpness of the nose, hollow eyes, slender nails, falling hair, flattened temples and diarrhoea are of evil omen. These patients converse while dying, and die conversing (moriendo loquentur, sed loquendo moriuntur). Gilbert, of course, supplies a formidable array of remedies for the disease, but tells us that the "very latest" is cauterization over the clavicles (Novissimum autem consilium est cauterium in furcula pectoris).
The varieties of difficulty of breathing are classified under the titles of asma, dispnea, orthomia, hanelitus and sansugium. The last title is given to a condition in which, as Gilbert says, "A superfluous humor is abundant in the superficies of the lung, which compresses that organ and renders it unable to dilate in inspiration. Hence it labors in inspiration like a leech, from which the dyspnea derives its name."
Under the single title of "cardiaca passio" are included all possible diseases of the heart. The symptoms of this disease are said to be "palpitation, twitching of the limbs (saltus membrorum), perspiration, weakness of the nerves, facial pallor, weakness of the body as in hectic fever or phthisis, excessive pain and faintness over the precordia, a disposition to sleep and often constipation." The treatment is, of course, entirely symptomatic.
Diseases of the digestive apparatus are discussed under the headings of difficulties of deglutition, canine appetite, bolismus (boulimia), disturbances of thirst, eructations, hiccup, nausea and anorexia, vomiting, anathimiasis (gastric debility), anatropha and catatropha (varieties of obstinate vomiting), pain in the stomach, abscess of the stomach, salivation, colic, dysentery and diarrhoea, intestinal worms, hemorrhoids, rectal tenesmus, prolapsus ani, fistula in ano, diseases of the liver, dropsy, jaundice and diseases of the spleen.
Abscess of the stomach sometimes manifests a circumscribed tumor, and accordingly, probably includes cancer of that organ. Approved remedies are the Al'mirabile, the stomatichon frigidum, calidum or laxativumvum, etc., stereotyped formulae, of which the composition is carefully recorded.
Dysentery is a flux of the bowels with a sanguinolent discharge and excoriation of the intestines. A variety called hepatic dysentery, however, lacks the intestinal excoriation. Diarrhoea is a simple flux of the bowels, without either the sanguinolent discharges or the intestinal excoriation. Lientery is a flux of the bowels with the discharge of undigested food, occasioned by irritability (levitas) of the stomach or intestines. Colical passion and iliac passion derive their names from the supposed origin of the pain in the colon or ileum, a remark which furnishes occasion for the statement that Gilbert divides the bowels into six sections, viz., the duodenum jejunum and ileum, and the orobus, colon and longaon (rectum).
Intestinal worms are not generated in the stomach, as Gilbert says, because of the great heat produced by the process of digestion. In the intestines they originate chiefly from the varieties of phlegm, e.g., saline, sweet, acid, natural, etc. The species mentioned specifically are lumbrici and ascarides or cucubitini, though the terms long, round, short and broad are also employed, and probably include the tape worm or taenia lata. The treatment of these parasites consists generally in the use of aromatic, bitter or acid mixtures, among which gentian, serpentaria, tithymal and cucumis agrestis are especially commended for lumbrici, and enemata of wormwood, lupinus, scammony, salt, aloes, etc., for ascarides.
The diseases of the liver, though not numerous, are allotted considerable space most of which is occupied by scholastic speculations and the usual rich supply of therapeutical suggestions.
Discrasia of the liver has several varieties, warm, cold, moist and dry, and seems nearly equivalent to our somewhat overworked term of "biliousness." Gilbert's favorite compounds for the relief of this condition are the Trifera sarracenica, the Electuarium psilliticum and above all the Dyantos Besonis.
Obstruction (oppilatio) of the liver or enfraxis is defined as a disease of the canals (pori), of which four are enumerated, to-wit, the meseraic, that of the convexity of the organ (gibbus—ubi sunt exitus capillarium venarum), the duct leading to the gall-bladder and that leading to the spleen. With an abundance of symptoms, it is singular that this comprehensive disease does not seem characterized by any constant or severe pain, as we might reasonably expect.
Abscess of the liver depends upon some vice of the blood, the bile, the phlegm or the black-bile. The general treatment is poultices and other maturatives, but, as the author adds rather sadly at the close, ultima cura est per incisionem.
Dropsy is discussed as an independent disease through the exhaustive speculations of thirty-two pages. Gilbert tells us it depends upon some fault of the digestive faculty of the liver, and he divides it into four species, to-wit, leucoflantia, yposarcha, alchitis and tympanitis, each of which has its special and appropriate treatment. In the dreary waste of speculative discussion it is cheering, however, to observe Gilbert's positive recognition of the sphere of percussion indicated in the passage:
"Et venter percussus sonat ad modum utris semipleni aqua et venta." (f. 250b.)
Ycteritia or jaundice receives equally thorough discussion through eight weary pages, including the usual polypharmacal treatment.
The spleen, Gilbert says, is sometimes the name of an organ, sometimes of a disease. As an organ it is spongy and loose in texture, and attracts and retains the superfluities of the black-bile, expelled from the liver for its own cleansing. Hence it is a servile and insensitive organ, and accordingly suffers different diseases, such as obstruction, tumors, hardening, softening, abscess, and sometimes flatulence or repletion. The symptoms and treatment of each of these morbid conditions, arising from either heat or cold, are discussed with exasperating thoroughness, and the chapter concludes with the composition and use of various specific remedies of compound character, bearing the impressive titles of Dyasene, Dyacapparis, Dyaceraseos (a mixture of cherry juice, honey, cinnamon, mastic and scammony) and Agrippa.
Scrofulous swellings are carefully considered in a chapter entitled "De scrophulis et glandulis." "Scrophulae and glandulae are hard swellings developing in the soft parts, as in the emunctory localities of the veins and arteries, particularly in the neck, armpits and groins, and sometimes in other places. They spring from the superfluities of the principal organs, which nature expels, as it were, to the emunctories and localities designed to receive this flux." ... "Hence they are often found the cause of scabies, tinea, malum mortuum, cancer, fistula, etc., and are called glandes. Sometimes, however, a dryer matter is finely divided and falls into several minute portions, from which arise many hard and globular swellings, called scrofulae from the multiplicity of their progeny, like that of the sow (scrofa). The disease is also called morbus regius, because it is cured by kings."
Gilbert advises that these swellings should not be "driven in" (repercutienda), but brought to suppuration generally by emollients and poultices. When softened they may be opened with a lancet and the pus allowed to escape gradually, but as this process is tedious, he prefers the entire removal of the glands with the knife, premissing, however, that no gland should be cut into which cannot be well grasped by the hand and pulled from its seat. This surgical manipulation is fully described, and is undoubtedly taken from the similar chapter of Roger. It is worthy of notice also that just at the close of this chapter, Gilbert mentions a swelling called "testudo," a gland-like, gaseous (ventosa) tumor, usually solitary and found in "nervous" localities, like the joints of the wrist and hand. He says it often occurs from fracture (cassatura?) of the nerves, is cured by pressure, friction or incision, but is not entirely free from danger. Possibly this may refer to ganglion. Now, Roger makes no mention whatever of "testudo," while Roland says:
"Nota quod quamvis Rogerius non designat inter glandulum et testudinem, scias igitur quod testudo fit ex majori parte flegmatica, minori melancholie, glandula vero a contrario," a statement which might readily suggest the suspicion that Gilbert had before his eyes the text of Roland, or that, at least, he had not acquired his knowledge of testudo from Roger, his usual surgical authority.
Gilbert's sections on goitre (bocium gulae) are interesting in themselves, and characteristic of the method adopted by him in his discussion of surgical or semi-surgical subjects. An introduction relative to the pathology of the disease and which seems to be original, is followed by a treatment, medical and surgical, adopted almost literally from the Chirurgia of Roger. Thus he says: "Goiter occurs most commonly among the inhabitants of mountainous regions, and is due to an amplification and dilatation of the veins, arteries and nerves, together with the soft tissues, occasioned by the north wind (ventum boreale), or some other confined wind, which during childhood has accumulated in (coadunabatur) and enlarged the part to the size of the goiter." After suggesting an analogy between the disease and the redness and turgidity of the neck produced by passion or in singing, he adds that some cases are due to an accumulation of spongy tissue between the veins and arteries, or to the use of flatulent food, and he even tells us that some old women know how to produce and remove goitrous swellings by means of certain suitable herbs known to them.
[Footnote 8: Cf. the French bosse de la gorge.]
Under medical treatment we find the following: "Dig out of the ground while chanting a pater noster, a nut which has never borne fruit. The roots and other parts pound well with two hundred grains of pepper, and boil down in the best wine until reduced in volume to one-half. Let the patient take this freely on an empty stomach until cured."
Another more elaborate prescription consists of a long list of ingredients, including burnt sponge, saponaria, the milk of a sow raising her first litter, with numerous simple herbs, and the sole object for which this nonsensical farrago is introduced here is to add that both these prescriptions are copied from the surgery of Roger. It is important too to remark here that we owe to Roger the introduction of iodine, under the form of burnt sponge, into the treatment of goiter.
In the failure of medical treatment, Gilbert directs the employment of surgical means, e.g., the use of setons, or, in suitable cases, extirpation of the goiter with the knife. If, however, the tumor is very vascular, he prefers to leave the case to nature rather than expose the patient to the dangers of a bloody operation. The whole discussion of goiter is manifestly a paraphrase of the similar chapter of Roger, who also introduced into surgical practice the use of the seton.
In Gilbert's chapter entitled "De arthretica passione et ejus speciebus," we are introduced to the earliest discussion by an English physician of that preeminently English disease—gout. We may infer, too, from the length of the discussion (thirty or more pages) that this was a disease with which Gilbert was not only familiar, but upon the knowledge of which he prided himself greatly. Indeed, it is one of the few diseases of the Compendium in which the author assumes the position of a clinician and introduces examples of the disease and its treatment taken from his own clientele. We shall, therefore, follow our author here rather more carefully and literally than usual, that we may learn the views of an English physician of the thirteenth century on, perhaps, the most characteristic disease of his countrymen.
Gilbert says: "Arthetica is a disease of the joints arising from a flux of humors descending into their continuity (concathenationem). The name is derived from the Latin artus, a joint, and the disease comprehends three species, viz., sciatica, disease of the scia, or the ligaments uniting the spine with the hip; cyragra, disease of the joints of the hands; and podagra, disease of the bones and joints of the foot, due to the descent of humors into their continuity. Sometimes, too, the disease affects other organs, occasioning pain in sensitive members, as, e.g., the head, and then derives its name from the part affected, as cephalea, emigranea or monopagia. Occasionally likewise some humor runs down (reumatizat) into the chest, spreading over the nerves of the breast or those of the spine between the vertebrae, and sometimes to other places. Hence the disease derives the general name gout (gutta), from its resemblance to a drop (gutta) trickling or falling downward and flowing over the weaker organs, which receive the humor. For gout arises particularly from rheumatic causes. Now, as the humors are rather uncontrollable (male terminabiles) fluids, they flow towards the exterior and softer parts, like the flesh and skin, which receive their moisture and being soft, dilatable and extensible, there results some swelling. But if the humors are hard and dry, they are confined within the interior of the organs, such as bones, nerves and membranes: and these, being hard in themselves, do not receive the moisture, nor suffer extension or dilatation, and thus no swelling results. Since, therefore, the material of this variety of arthetica, in which no swelling is present, is formed of grosser and harder substance and is found in the vicinity of hard and cold localities, it is dissolved slowly and the disease is not cured until this solution takes place. That form of the disease, however, in which there is swelling from a subtile and liquid material deposited in the soft parts is the more quickly cured. Hence swelling is the best sign of curability. This is most evidently true in podagra, unless the materies morbi, by reason of its scarcity, produces no enlargement of the affected part."