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On Ancient Medicine   

it had suited with man to eat and drink in like manner as the ox,
the horse, and all other animals, except man, do of the productions
of the earth, such as fruits, weeds, and grass; for from such things
these animals grow, live free of disease, and require no other kind
of food. And, at first, I am of opinion that man used the same sort
of food, and that the present articles of diet had been discovered
and invented only after a long lapse of time, for when they suffered
much and severely from strong and brutish diet, swallowing things
which were raw, unmixed, and possessing great strength, they became
exposed to strong pains and diseases, and to early deaths. It is likely,
indeed, that from habit they would suffer less from these things then
than we would now, but still they would suffer severely even then;
and it is likely that the greater number, and those who had weaker
constitutions, would all perish; whereas the stronger would hold out
for a longer time, as even nowadays some, in consequence of using
strong articles of food, get off with little trouble, but others with
much pain and suffering. From this necessity it appears to me that
they would search out the food befitting their nature, and thus discover
that which we now use: and that from wheat, by macerating it, stripping
it of its hull, grinding it all down, sifting, toasting, and baking
it, they formed bread; and from barley they formed cake (maza), performing
many operations in regard to it; they boiled, they roasted, they mixed,
they diluted those things which are strong and of intense qualities
with weaker things, fashioning them to the nature and powers of man,
and considering that the stronger things Nature would not be able
to manage if administered, and that from such things pains, diseases,
and death would arise, but such as Nature could manage, that from
them food, growth, and health, would arise. To such a discovery and
investigation what more suitable name could one give than that of
Medicine? since it was discovered for the health of man, for his nourishment
and safety, as a substitute for that kind of diet by which pains,
diseases, and deaths were occasioned.

And if this is not held to be an art, I do not object. For it is not
suitable to call any one an artist of that which no one is ignorant
of, but which all know from usage and necessity. But still the discovery
is a great one, and requiring much art and investigation. Wherefore
those who devote themselves to gymnastics and training, are always
making some new discovery, by pursuing the same line of inquiry, where,
by eating and drinking certain things, they are improved and grow
stronger than they were.

Let us inquire then regarding what is admitted to be Medicine; namely,
that which was invented for the sake of the sick, which possesses
a name and practitioners, whether it also seeks to accomplish the
same objects, and whence it derived its origin. To me, then, it appears,
as I said at the commencement, that nobody would have sought for medicine
at all, provided the same kinds of diet had suited with men in sickness
as in good health. Wherefore, even yet, such races of men as make
no use of medicine, namely, barbarians, and even certain of the Greeks,
live in the same way when sick as when in health; that is to say,
they take what suits their appetite, and neither abstain from, nor
restrict themselves in anything for which they have a desire. But
those who have cultivated and invented medicine, having the same object
in view as those of whom I formerly spoke, in the first place, I suppose,
diminished the quantity of the articles of food which they used, and
this alone would be sufficient for certain of the sick, and be manifestly
beneficial to them, although not to all, for there would be some so
affected as not to be able to manage even small quantities of their
usual food, and as such persons would seem to require something weaker,

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