Diagnose Thyself: Why Be a Doctor?

Galen, On the Opinions of Hippocrates and Plato 9.5.5-7

“For some men practice the art of medicine for the money, and some do it because of the exemption from taxes. But some pursue medicine because of their love for humanity [philanthrôpia] just as there are those who do it for the fame or honor medicine attracts. Therefore doctors are named by the fact that they are all craftsmen of health in common, inasmanuch as they perform their craft for different reasons—one will be called a lover of humanity [philanthrôpos], another titled a lover of honor [philotimos], while another is considered a lover of reputation [philodoxos] and another is a money maker.

The aim of a doctor for doctors, then, is not fame or wealth, as Mênodotos the Empiricist wrote. This is a goal for Mênodotus but not for Diocles or Hippocrates or Empedocles nor even a few others of those ancient doctors—however so many ministered to people because of their love of humanity [philanthrôpia]. Left bare among these kind of examples—and they are abundant in Hippocrates and Plato—the particular features and the common traits of each craft may be examined.”

τινὲς μὲν γὰρ ἕνεκα χρηματισμοῦ τὴν ἰατρικὴν τέχνην ἐργάζονται, τινὲς δὲ διὰ τὴν ἐκ τῶν νόμων αὐτοῖς διδομένην ἀλειτουργησίαν, ἔνιοι δὲ διὰ φιλανθρωπίαν, ὥσπερ ἄλλοι διὰ τὴν ἐπὶ ταύτῃ δόξαν ἢ τιμήν.  ὀνομασθήσονται τοιγαροῦν ᾗ μὲν ὑγιείας εἰσὶ δημιουργοὶ κοινῇ πάντες ἰατροί, καθόσον δὲ τὰς πράξεις ἐπὶ διαφόροις ποιοῦνται σκοποῖς, ὁ μέν τις φιλάνθρωπος, ὁ δὲ φιλότιμος, ὁ δὲ φιλόδοξος, ὁ δὲ χρηματιστής.

οὔκουν τοῖς ἰατροῖς τὸ τέλος ἐστὶν ὡς ἰατροῖς ἔνδοξον ἢ πόριμον, ὡς Μηνόδοτος <ὁ> ἐμπειρικὸς ἔγραψεν, ἀλλὰ Μηνοδότῳ μὲν τοῦτο, Διοκλεῖ δ’ οὐ τοῦτο, καθάπερ οὐδὲ ῾Ιπποκράτει καὶ ᾿Εμπεδοκλεῖ οὐδ’ ἄλλοις τῶν παλαιῶν οὐκ ὀλίγοις ὅσοι διὰ φιλανθρωπίαν ἐθεράπευον τοὺς ἀνθρώπους. γυμνασάμενος οὖν ἐν τοῖς τοιούτοις τις παραδείγμασι, πάμπολλα δ’ ἐστὶ παρ’ ῾Ιπποκράτει καὶ Πλάτωνι, ῥᾳδίως κατόψεται τά τε ἴδια τέχνης ἑκάστης καὶ τὰ κοινά.


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From medievalists.net

Filthy Friday: The Scepter of Priapus

Priapea, XXV:

“This scepter, which was cut from a tree

will never again be green with leaves.

This scepter which lusty ladies look for

and even kings desire to hold,

which our noble sodomites shower with kisses

will wend its way through the thief’s guts

all the way to his rod, his testicular hilt.”

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Hoc sceptrum, quod ab arbore est recisum
nulla et iam poterit virere fronde,
sceptrum, quod pathicae petunt puellae,
quod quidam cupiunt tenere reges,
quoi dant oscula nobiles cinaedi,
intra viscera furis ibit usque
ad pubem capulumque coleorum.

Hippocratic Precept: Don’t Blackmail Sick People for Money

Corpus Hippocratica, Precepts 4.10

“The way you address a patient requires some kind of a theory too. For, if you begin talking about payment, then something else occurs in every situation. You will leave the sick person with the kind of impression that you will abandon him and leave if there is no agreement and that you don’t care and you will not apply any relief in the present.

Therefore, you should not make an issue about payment. For we believe that this kind of thought is harmful when someone is sick, and even more so if the sickness is intense. For the swiftness of a sickness which does not provide ample time for changing your mind urges the one who practices medicine well not to seek profit but to think more of reputation. It is, therefore, better to rebuke patients who have been saved rather than to blackmail those who are facing ruin.”

παραινέσιος δ’ ἂν καὶ τοῦτ’ ἐπιδεηθείη τῆς θεωρίης· εἰ γὰρ ἄρξαιο περὶ μισθαρίων· ξυμβάλλει γάρ τι καὶ τῷ ξύμπαντι· τῷ μὲν ἀλγέοντι τοιαύτην διανόησιν ἐμποιήσεις τὴν, ὅτι [οὐκ] ἀπολιπὼν αὐτὸν πορεύσῃ μὴ ξυνθέμενος, καὶ ὅτι ἀμελήσεις, καὶ οὐχ ὑποθήσῃ τινὰ τῷ παρεόντι. ἐπιμελεῖσθαι οὖν οὐ δεῖ περὶ στάσιος μισθοῦ· ἄχρηστον γὰρ ἡγεύμεθα ἐνθύμησιν ὀχλεομένου τὴν τοιαύτην, πουλὺ δὲ μᾶλλον, ἢν ὀξὺ νόσημά τι· νούσου γὰρ ταχυτὴς καιρὸν μὴ διδοῦσα ἐς ἀναστροφὴν οὐκ ἐποτρύνει τὸν καλῶς ἰητρεύοντα ζητεῖν τὸ λυσιτελές, ἔχεσθαι δὲ δόξης μᾶλλον· κρέσσον οὖν σωζομένοισιν ὀνειδίζειν ἢ ὀλεθρίως ἔχοντας προμύσσειν.

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Alluding to ‘Brutus and Caesar’

Alexander Hamilton, For The Time Piece
[New York, May 22, 1798]

“A most unprovoked & wanton attack upon me appeared in the Time pi[e]ce of yesterday under the signature of William Keteltas. Were this man as well known elsewhere as in his own state his attack would [be] treated with silent contempt. As it is, a very slight notice only can be taken of it. It is barely necessary to state that where he is known, the doubt is whether he is most madman or knave, that he is so contemptible as to have been the missionary of a party to go three hundred miles into the Western parts of this state, with saddle bags full of addresses to be distributed for an electioneering purpose, and that his present publication is replete with gross falshoods. By the allusion to Caesar and Brutus he plainly hints at assassination. Though his fears may be the only, it is not doubted that they will be a full security that he will not attempt to be the assassin. But while he is conscious that the worthlessness of his character renders it impossible to descend to his level he may be assured he will not find me unprepared to repel attack and that he is despised and defied.”

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Alexander Hamilton by John Trumbull, 1792

The Problem with the Ides of March: Not Enough Cicero, Not Enough MURDER

Cicero, Epistulae Familiares 10.28.1 (To Trebonius)

“How I wish that you had invited me to that most sumptuous feast on the Ides of March! We would now have no little scraps if you had. But now you have with them such difficulty in preventing that divine benefit which you bestowed upon the Republic from exciting some complaint. But, though it is hardly right, I am on occasion angry with you, because it was by you – a noble man indeed – it was by you and by your good service that this pest [Marc Antony] was led away and still lives. Now you have left behind more trouble for me alone than for everyone else.”

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Quam vellem ad illas pulcherrimas epulas me Idibus Martiis invitasses! reliquiarum nihil haberemus. at nunc cum iis tantum negoti est ut vestrum illud divinum <in> rem publicam beneficium non nullam habeat querelam. quod vero a te, viro optimo, seductus est tuoque beneficio adhuc vivit haec pestis, interdum, quod mihi vix fas est, tibi subirascor; mihi enim negoti plus reliquisti uni quam praeter me omnibus.

Cicero on the “Unforgettable Ides of March”

Cicero, Letters to Atticus (14.4) 10 April 44

“But should all these things befall us, the Ides of March may console. Our heroes too accomplished most gloriously and magnificently everything it was in their power to do. For the rest, we need money and troops, neither of which we have.”

Sed omnia licet concurrant, Idus Martiae consolantur. nostri autem ἥρωες quod per ipsos confici potuit gloriosissime et magnificentissime confecerunt; reliquae res opes et copias desiderant, quas nullas habemus


Cicero, Letters to Brutus  I.15 (23) 14 July 43

“Therefore, come here, by the gods, as fast as possible; Convince yourself that it would do your country no greater good if you come quickly than you did on the Ides of March when you freed your fellow citizens from slavery.”

subveni igitur, per deos, idque quam primum, tibique persuade non te Idibus Martiis, quibus servitutem a tuis civibus depulisti, plus profuisse patriae quam, si mature veneris, profuturum.


Cicero, Letters to Brutus, 1.15 (23) July 43

“After the death of Caesar and your unforgettable Ides of March, Brutus, you will not have lost sight of the the fact that I said that one thing was overlooked by you—how much a storm loomed over the Republic. The greatest disease was warded off thanks to you—a great blight was cleansed from the Roman people—and you won immortal fame for your part. But the mechanism of monarchy fell then to Lepidus and Antonius—one of whom is more erratic, while the other is rather unclean—both fearing peace and ill-fit to idle time.”

Post interitum Caesaris et vestras memorabilis Idus Martias, Brute, quid ego praetermissum a vobis quantamque impendere rei publicae tempestatem dixerim non es oblitus. magna pestis erat depulsa per vos, magna populi Romani macula deleta, vobis vero parta divina gloria, sed instrumentum regni delatum ad Lepidum et Antonium, quorum alter inconstantior, alter impurior, uterque pacem metuens, inimicus otio.

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The death of Julius Caesar in the Roman Senate by Vincenzo Camuccini


Preferring Death to Fear on the Ideas of March

Velleius Paterculus, History of Rome 2.57

“The advice of Pansa and Hirtius should be praised based on what happened. They always admonished Caesar that he should hold by means of weapons what he earned with weapons. But as he was always saying that he would prefer to die instead of feeling fear–because he was expecting the clemency which he had doled out–he was caught by surprise by people who did not feel such gratitude, despite the fact that the gods provided him with many signs and indications of future danger.

For the soothsayers gave him advanced warning that he should be especially careful of the Ids of March; his wife Calpurnia was terrified by a dream and was begging him to stay home; and there were also notes given to him informing of the conspiracy, which he did not take the time to read. But the power of fate is ultimately inescapable; it corrupts the plans of any one who decides to change their fortune.”

1LVII. Laudandum experientia consilium est Pansae atque Hirtii, qui semper praedixerant Caesari ut principatum armis quaesitum armis teneret. Ille dictitans mori se quam timere malle dum clementiam, quam praestiterat, expectat, incautus ab ingratis occupatus est, cum quidem plurima ei praesagia atque indicia dii immortales futuri obtulissent periculi. Nam et haruspices praemonuerant, ut diligentissime iduum Martiarum caveret diem, et uxor Calpurnia territa nocturno visu, ut ea die domi subsisteret, orabat, et libelli coniurationem nuntiantes dati neque protinus ab eo lecti erant. Sed profecto ineluctabilis fatorum vis, cuiuscumque fortunam mutare constituit, consilia corrumpit.


Suetonius, Divus Julius, 81-82

“For these reasons and because of his own health, Caesar dithered for a while on whether he should stay home and postpone what he had proposed to do in the senate; but then, because he was encouraged by Decimus Brutus that he should not fail to appear at a meeting which was full and already long-awaiting his arrival, he left home at nearly the fifth hour.

When a little message describing the conspiracy was handed to him along the way by some person, he added it to the other texts which he was holding with his left hand as if he were about to read them soon. Then, once many sacrifices had been made and he was not able to get a good reading, he went into the Senate house dismissing the signs and laughing at Spurinna, claiming he was a liar because the Ides of March had come upon him with no injury at all—even though he said that they certainly had come, but they had not yet passed.

As he was sitting down, the conspirators stood in a circle about her as a mark of her office. Then Tillius Cimber who had taken on the first part for himself, came closer as if he was going to ask something. When Caesar was trying to put him off with a gesture for another time, Cimber grabbed his toga by both shoulders. As one of the Cascas stabbed him from one side below the throat, he was shouting, “this is force!” Caesar grabbed Cascas’ arm and punctured it with his stylus, but when he tried to leap up, he was slowed by another wound. When he noticed that he was sought on all sides by drawn daggers, he drew his toga down from his head and pulled it down with its fold to his legs with his left hand so he might fall more decently once the lower half of his body was covered. In this way, he was stabbed 23 times even though he uttered no word but only a groan after the first strike. Some have recorded that when he saw Marcus Brutus rushing at him he said in Greek kai su teknon?”

Ob haec simul et ob infirmam valitudinem diu cunctatus an se contineret et quae apud senatum proposuerat agere differret, tandem Decimo Bruto adhortante, ne frequentis ac iam dudum opperientis destitueret, quinta fere hora progressus est libellumque insidiarum indicem ab obvio quodam porrectum libellis ceteris, quos sinistra manu tenebat, quasi mox lecturus commiscuit. Dein pluribus hostiis caesis, cum litare non posset, introiit curiam spreta religione Spurinnamque irridens et ut falsum arguens, quod sine ulla sua noxa Idus Martiae adessent; quanquam is venisse quidem eas diceret, sed non praeterisse.

LXXXII. Assidentem conspirati specie officii circumsteterunt, ilicoque Cimber Tillius, qui primas partes susceperat, quasi aliquid rogaturus propius accessit renuentique et gestu in aliud tempus differenti ab utroque umero togam adprehendit; deinde clamantem: “Ista quidem vis est!” alter Cascis aversumvulnerat paulum infra iugulum. Caesar Cascae brachium arreptum graphio traiecit conatusque prosilire alio vulnere tardatus est; utque animad­vertit undique se strictis pugionibus peti, toga caput obvolvit, simul sinistra manu sinum ad ima crura deduxit, quo honestius caderet etiam inferiore corporis parte velata. Atque ita tribus et viginti plagis confossus est uno modo ad primum ictum gemitu sine voce edito, etsi tradiderunt quidam Marco Bruto irruenti dixisse: καὶ σὺ τέκνον;

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