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through the zeal of some members of the profession, to the detection in England and Scotland of additional examples of these curious remains of our Roman medical predecessors in these islands.
Description of Individual Roman Medicine-Stamps found in Scotland
No. I.—The Scottish specimen of medicine-stamp to which I have above adverted was discovered some years ago at Tranent in East Lothian, not far distant from the old, and doubtlessly, in former times, extensive Roman town or settlement at Inveresk. The stamp now belongs to the Museum of the Society of Scottish Antiquaries.
It was presented to the Museum by the late Mr Drummond Hay, formerly one of the Secretaries of the Society. From Mr Hay's notes it appears that it was found amid a quantity of broken tiles, brick, and other debris of an old (and probably Roman) house, near the church of Tranent. For many years after being deposited in the Antiquarian Museum its character remained undiscovered, till the present excellent Secretary to the Society, my esteemed friend Mr Daniel Wilson, was led, in reading the descriptions of other similar stamps, to ascertain its true character.
The stamp itself is, as usual with these seals, cut upon a greenish coloured steatite. The stone is of the figure of a parallelogram, with inscriptions cut upon two of its sides. There is a roundish projection at either extremity of the stone, as seen in the accompanying lithograph (Plate I., No. I., Figs. 1, 2, 3), where the stone and letters of the two inscriptions are, in every respect, faithfully copied from the original as to form and size. The letters are, as in all other similar medicine-stamps, cut incuse and reversed, so as to read from left to right, when the inscriptiou was stamped upon any impressible material. Fig. 2 shows one of the inscriptions as it appears cut intagliate upon the stone. Fig. 3 presents an accurate copy of this inscription as it is seen when stamped upon wax. Fig. 1 is an equally faithful copy of the second inscnption placed on the opposite side of the stone. It will be observed that, as in the original, the size of the lettering varies on the two sides.
The inscriptions on the sides (1 and 2) read as follows, when we separate the individual words composing them from each other.
1. L. VALLATINI EVODES AD CI-
2. L. VALLATINI APALOCRO-
Let us endeavour to interpret each of these inscriptions in detail, supplying the elisions and contractions which exist in almost all Roman inscriptions, but which are less in this seal than in most others. ■
1. hudi VALLATINI EVODE8 AD CICATRICES ET ASPeRITUDINes.
—The Evode8 of Lucius Vallatinus for cicatrices and granulations.
Several of the collyria derived, as I have already observed, their designation from some special physical character. The present instance is an example in point, the appellation Evodes (fvd>8«) being derived from the pleasant odour (»0, well, and 8fa, I smell) of the composition. Marcellus, in his work "De Medicamentis," specially praises the collyrium known under the name of Evodes; and that too in the class of eye diseases mentioned on the Tranent seal. For, in his collection of remedies for removing ulcers, cicatrices, &c, of the eyes and eyelids, he recommends (to use his own words) u prascipue hoc quod quidam Diasmyrnon, nonnulli Evodes, quia boni odoris est, nominant. And he directs the Evodes to be dissolved and diluted in water, and introduced into the eyes with a probe, or after inverting the eyelid, when it was used with the view of extenuating recent cicatrices of the eyes, and removing granulations of the eyelids,—" ex aqua autem ad cicatrices recentes extenuendas, et palpebrarum a8peritudinem tollendatn teri debet, et subjecto specillo aut inversa palpebra, oculis inseri."1
Scribonius Largus had previously described, in nearly the same words, the collyrium,—" quod quidam iv&tts vocant," and its uses in recent cicatrices and granulations, &c. Both these authors give the same recipe for the composition of the Evodes,—viz.,'pompholyx, burnt copper, saffron, myrrh, opium, and other ingredients, rubbed down in Chian wine. Its agreeable odour was probably owing to a considerable quantity of spikenard being used in its composition.2 Galen gives two other collyria, of a different composition, and for other affections, as known at his time under the same name of Evodes,— the one termed the " Evodes of Zosimus," the other the "diasmyrnon Evodes of Syneros."8
2. L. VALLATINI APALOCROCODES AD DIATHESIS. — Tile mild
Crocodes of L. Vallatinus, for affections of the eyes.
The term diathesis in this inscription is used in a different sense from that in which we now employ the same word in modern medicine. At the present day, we apply the term diathesis to designate the tendency or predisposition to some special disease, or class of diseases. In the times of the Roman physicians, it was often used as synonymous with disease itself; and in the Latin translations of the Greek texts of Galen, Aetius, &c, it is hence rendered usually by the general word "affectus," " affectio," &c. The first sentence in Paulus ^Eginetus's chapter on Ophthalmic Diseases, affords an instance in point: "Quum dolores vehementiores in oculis fiunt, con
1 Medictc Artis Principcs, p. 270.
2 MediciB Artis Principes: Scribonii Largi de Compositione Modicamentorum Liber. Comp. xxvi., p. 198.
3 Galeni Opera Omnia. (Kuehn's Edit.) Vol. xii., pp. 753 and 774.
qualifying term to the Crocodes. Several of the collyria have the Latin adjective u lene," and "leve," placed before them, in order to certify their mild nature. Scribonius Largus gives a whole division of collyria, headed " Collyria composita levia." Aetius has a chapter, "De Lenibus Collynis." The expression apalo, as a part and prefix to Crocodes, would seem to indicate the same (juality in the crocodes sold by Vallatinus, the term being in all likelihood derived from the Greek adjective an-aXor, or the corresponding Latin adjective apalus (mild, soft). Homer frequently uses the word as signifying soft, delicate, and especially as applied to different parts of the body (See Iliad, book iii. 371; xvii. 123, &c.); and, indeed, Aetius employs the Greek adjective therapeutically in the sense of mild, and as applied to collyria. In the treatment of acute inflammatory ulcers of the eye, after inculcating the usual antiphlogistic treatment, he adds, " collyria vero tenera (wroXa) ulcerato oculo infundantur."1
I am indebted to the kindness of Mr Birch for the impressions of two unpublished oculist-stamps, found in England, and contained in the British Museum. Their forms and inscriptions are represented in Plate I., Nos. II. and III.; and I shall describe them imder these numbers.
No. II. This large stamp consists (Plate I., No. II.s) of a flat quadrilateral stone, about an inch and a-half broad, and engraved upon three of its sides. A portion of one corner of the stone is broken off; but it is easy to supply the deficiency which is thus produced in one of the inscriptions. The three inscriptions read as follows:—
1. Sex: JUL: SEDATI
2. SEX: JUL: SEDATI CRO-
3. (Sex): JUL: Sedati Cro-
The name of the oculist—Sextus Julius Sedatus—is imperfect on the 3d or broken side, the prsenomen " Sex" being wanting on that side in the first line, and the middle syllable " cod of the word Crocodes being also wanting, from the same cause, in the second line.
The restored reading of this 3d side—viz., Sexti Julii Sedati Crocodes Ad DiATHESea—need not be dwelt upon, as it is so very similar to that on one side of the Tranent stone. The other two sides contain the names of two new varieties of crocodes.
1 Cornarius' Latin edition of Aetius, 1549, p. 371; and Venice Greek edit., p. 126.
2 The central figure shows the size of the stone, and the intagliate inscription on one side. The other figures show its three inscriptions as they read from left to right when stamped on wax.
One of these varieties —the Crocodes Paccianum—received its name from Paccius the oculist, who either invented this special collyrium, or brought it into repute. In the list of his ophthalmic medicines, Galen gives formulae for various collyria, invented by Paccius, such as the Sphragis Paccii,1 Ascleptadeutn Paccii,2 Collyrium ex terra Samia Paccii Ophthalmici ad affectus intensos (tmrtTantyas 8ui&<rfis).3 Galen does not give any receipt for the Crocodes of Paccius; but it was evidently a collyrium duly esteemed at the time at which he wrote; for, in his chapter on ulcers of the eyes, he specially names the "Crocodes Paccianum," * and recommends its use in cases in which the accompanying inflammation has already ceased, and at the stage when a stimulating application becomes necessary.
The other variety of crocodes used by Sedatus is the Crocodes 1» Dialepidos. A formula for Dialepidos is given by Marcellus,8 with the crocus as the first ingredient mentioned in its composition. The Dialepidos derived its name from its containing the scales (Afrridor) of burnt copper, or the black peroxide of that metal,—a preparation which Dioscorides (lib. v., cap. 89) describes as useful in eye diseases; and which Galen declares to be a u medicamentum multo utilissimum," xii. p. 223.
No. HI. The second undescribed Roman medicine-stamp, contained in the British Museum (see Plate I., No. III.) is small and broken. It is only engraved on one side, and the inscription does not contain, as usual, the name of the oculist who possessed and employed it. The inscription reads as follows :—
COLLYR. P. CLOC
If extended, the inscription would probably run thus,—Collyrwhi Post caiAginem oculorum. Several of the prescriptions found in * these medicine-stamps are collyria, professing to be useful against and after (ad and post) caliginem.
No. IV. The first Roman medicine-stamp discovered in Great Britain was described about 130 years ago by Mr Chishull in the learned "Dissertatio De Nummo Ck<»iii," which he addressed to Haym, and which this last-mentioned author has published in the preface to his second volume of the u Tesoro Brittanico."
The stamp had been found some years previously at Colchester, a well known and extensive Roman colonial station. Mr Chishull
1 Kuehn's Galen. Tom. xii., p. 751.
* Ibid. P. 772. 3 ibid. P. 760.
* Ibid. Tom. xi., p. 715.
5 Medics Artis Principes: De Medicamentis Liber. P. 280.