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William Davis, A Day in Old Athens

 

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Page 8

Notes


[1] A slight but significant witness to the general healthiness of the Greeks is found in the very rare mention in their literature of such a common ill as toothache.

[2] The most famous was at Epidaurus, where the Asclepius cult seems to have been especially localized.

[3] The "healing sleep" employed at these temples is described, in a kind of blasphemous parody, in Aristophanes's "Plutus." (Significant passages are quoted in Davis's "Readings in Ancient History," vol. I, pp. 258-261.)

[4] Somewhat as in the various Catholic pilgrimage shrines (e.g. Lourdes) to-day.

[5] We know comparatively little of these public physicians; probably they were mainly concerned with the health of the army and naval force, the prevention of epidemics, etc.

[6] Who was still alive, an extremely old man. He died in Thessaly in 357 B.C., at an alleged age of 104 years.

[7] For the unabridged translation of this oath, see Smith's "Dictionary of Antiquities" (revised edition), vol. II, p. 154.

[8] Seemingly a really serious operation was usually turned over by the local physician to a traveling surgeon, who could promptly disappear from the neighborhood if things went badly.

[9] Plato tells how Gorgias, the famous rhetorician, was sometimes thus hired. A truly Greek artifice—this substitution of oratory for chloroform!

[10] Both of these quotations probably date from later than 360 B.C., but they are perfectly in keeping with the general opinion of Greek quackery.

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