Front Page Titles (by Subject) CLIFTON'S PROOF OF THIS NOT BEING THAT DESCRIBED BY HIPPOCRATES - The Writings of Hippocrates and Galen
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
CLIFTON’S PROOF OF THIS NOT BEING THAT DESCRIBED BY HIPPOCRATES - Hippocrates, The Writings of Hippocrates and Galen 
The Writings of Hippocrates and Galen. Epitomised from the Original Latin translations, by John Redman Coxe (Philadelphia: Lindsay and Blakiston, 1846).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
CLIFTON’S PROOF OF THIS NOT BEING THAT DESCRIBED BY HIPPOCRATES
Clifton having in his preface attempted to overthrow the opinion of this Plague, being the same as Hippocrates has described under his Pestilential Constitution, his reasons are placed here, for the consideration of the reader.—Ed.
“To correct a mistake that several learned men have run into, I have added (by way of comparison), at the end of the malignant or pestilential year, the account of the plague of Athens by Thucydides, by which the reader will plainly see, that Hippocrates never intended a description of that plague, or of any other properly so called, but only of the raging ill-conditioned fevers, and other severe complaints, that then went about. There are indeed some circumstances concurring with Thucydides, such as the inflammations of the eyes, with sometimes a total loss of the sight; the disorders of the belly, and the private parts, &c.; but then no notice is taken of the violent heats in the head, the bloodiness of the throat, the sneezings and the hoarseness, the vomitings and the hiccups, the plungings into cold water and despondencies, (to pass by many other particulars,) mentioned by Thucydides; circumstances, that it was not possible for so curious an observer as Hippocrates to forget or overlook. Add to this, that the description here given contains nothing uncommon for such a country, or inconsistent with such a sultry wet season, and is supported by cases not at all from Athens, but from places far remote, and more upon the Thracian coast than any where else, such as Thasus and Abdera; places that Hippocrates chiefly resided at. Whereas, if the plague of Athens had been here intended, the cases would have been all related from the very place itself, and in a manner quite different from the present. I therefore conclude, that our learned countryman, Prideaux,a and all others of his opinion, are very much mistaken, when they look upon this section in Hippocrates, as a description of that terrible plague. But to consider the point a little farther. Thucydides observes, that the distemper broke out first in Lemnos, and many other places, before it came to Athens, beginning (by report) in that part of Ethiopia that lies above Egypt, and so came down into Egypt and Libya, and a great part of the King of Persia’s dominions. Nor did it leave the Greek islands till some considerable time after. Accordingly we find a letter from Artaxerxes to Hystanes, the Persian governor of the Hellespont, complaining of the plague being got among his army, and desiring at any rate the assistance of Hippocrates. Now this seems to be the same plague described by Thucydides; and yet, in the life of Hippocrates wrote by Soranus, we find another account very different; for the plague there mentioned, that gained him so much honour, is said to have begun among the Illyrians and Pœonians, and so came down into several parts of Greece. Now the Illyrians were a people that inhabited that part of the country which we call Servia, and Albania, bordering upon Dalmatia, Dardania (or Bosnia), Macedonia, and Pœonia; and the Pœonians bordered upon Macedonia to the south, Illyris to the north, Dardania to the west, and Thracia to the east; so that this plague (if any such there was) seems to have travelled from the north to the south; whereas the other travelled directly contrary, or at least from the southeast to the northwest. I conclude, therefore, that, if the Illyrian story is true, the description here given answers better to the state of diseases then; but that the whole story is false I am more inclined to believe, because the plague of Athens was the only one in those days recorded by men of credit. It is true, the Illyrians might have reason enough to complain of a very sickly season, and other countries might be attacked with the same, or even worse, disorders; all which might proceed from the plague originally, for any thing I can say to the contrary. For, as Thucydides observes, Lemnos and many other places were infected as well as Athens, the skill of the physicians availing nothing; and, if his account be true, the same winds that brought it there (supposing the wind to have had a share in the affair) might easily have carried it farther, Lemnos being but a little step from the Thracian shore one way, and the south parts of Macedonia another; though, in travelling there, the force and virulence of it might be so far broke as to produce no more than a very sickly season. But whether the malignant time here mentioned was actually at the time of the plague, or very near it, this at least is certain, that wet seasons, sultry heats, and calm weather, are always attended with bad diseases; and such was the year now in question; but, for want of a date (a great omission in Hippocrates) the precise time cannot certainly be known, though there is a great deal of room to believe, both from the title itself, χαταϛτασις λοιμωδης, (which, however, Galen suspects as spurious) and the nature of the diseases there mentioned (which certainly were of a very bad, or, if you please, malignant sort), that it was drawn up much about that terrible time, and perhaps the very year of the plague; yet not as a description of the plague itself (for then it would have been ϖεϱι λοιμου), but only of a malignant year, not many degrees removed from the other.”
We now return to Hippocrates.—Ed.
In Thasus, the son of Parion, who lived above the Temple of Diana, was seized with an acute fever, which at first was continual, burning, and attended with thirst. He was from the beginning comatose, and again watchful. His belly loose. His urine thin. The sixth day oily urine, with ramblings. The seventh, worse in all respects; no sleep; the urine as before; lightheadedness, together with bilious, fat, stools. The eighth, he bled a little at the nose; vomited æruginous stuff in a small quantity; and slept a little. The ninth, no alteration. The tenth, a remission of all the symptoms. The eleventh, a sweat, but not all over. He grew cold all over, and in a short time warm again. The twelfth, an acute fever; many bilious, thin stools; a thin cloud in the urine; and a rambling head. The seventeenth, great uneasiness, having had no sleep, but his fever did not increase. The twentieth, a sweat all over; no sleep; bilious stools; an aversion to food; and a coma. The twenty-fourth, a relapse. The thirty-fourth, no fever; the body not bound; but he grew hot again. The fortieth, no fever; the body bound, but not long; an aversion to food; a gentle fever again, but in the erratic way continually, sometimes present, sometimes not; for, if it left him or if he was easier, it returned again. What he eat was of the worst kind, and in a great quantity. After the return he slept badly, and was lightheaded. The urine was then thick, but turbid and bad. The body sometimes bound, sometimes lax. He was also continually feverish, had many thin stools, and the hundred and twentieth day he died.
This patient’s belly was constantly, from the first day, either lax with many bilious liquid stools, or bound with hot and undigested matter. The urine bad all along; and a coma for the most part, with pains, watchings, loathing of food, and a burning fever continually.
In Thasus, the woman that lived by the cold Spring, after being delivered of a daughter, and not cleansed, was taken with an acute fever the third day, and a chilliness. But, long before she was brought to bed, she had been laid up with a fever, and aversion to food. After the shivering, the fever became continual, and acute, attended with a sense of horror or chilliness. The eighth day and the following she was lightheaded, but came to herself again presently, and had many thin, watery, bilious stools, without thirst. The eleventh, she came to herself again, but was inclined to a stupidness; made a great deal of thin and black urine; and kept awake. The twentieth, was a little cold outwardly, and warm again presently; rambled a little, and kept awake. Her stools as before; and her urine watery, and plentiful. The twenty-seventh, neither fever, nor stool, but not long after a violent pain of the right hip that lasted long. She grew feverish again, and made watery urine. The fortieth, the hip was a little easier; but she had a continual cough, and very humid; no stool; a dislike to food; and the urine as before. The fever not entirely off, and the paroxysms in the erratic way, sometimes present, sometimes not. The sixtieth, the cough ceased without any sign; no concoction appearing in what was spit, nor any separation of what is usual, but the right jaw was convulsed. She was also comatose, and lightheaded again, but came to herself presently. Her aversion to food still continued; the jaw came to itself; the stools were a little bilious; the fever increased, not without chilliness; and the days following she lost her speech, recovered herself again, spoke, and died the eightieth.
This patient’s urine was all along black, thin, and watery. A coma came on, with fasting, despondency, watchings, anger, impatience, and melancholy.
In Thasus, Pythion, who lived above the Temple of Hercules, after labour, and weariness, and careless eating, was taken with a great shivering, and an acute fever. His tongue was dry, thirsty, bilious. No sleep. His urine blackish, with a thin cloud above, and no sediment. The second day about noon his extremities were cold, especially his hands and head. He lost his voice, and could not speak; was short-breathed; in a little time grew warm; was thirsty; had a quiet night; and sweated a little about the head. The third, a quiet day. In the evening, about sunset, he grew a little cold; had a very restless night and no sleep; and voided little hard pellets. The fourth, in the morning early, he grew easy again, but about noon worse in all respects. He was also cold; lost his voice and speech too; was worse and worse; in time grew warm again; made black urine, with a little floating cloud; had a quiet night, and slept. The fifth, he seemed to be easier, but complained of a weight in the belly with pain; was thirsty; and had an uneasy night. The sixth, in the morning early, he was quiet, but about sunset his pains increased, and he was worse; but, after a good discharge in the evening from a glyster, slept in the night. The seventh, he was qualmish in the day, and a little impatient; made oily urine; at night was much out of order, rambled, and got no sleep. The eighth, slept a little betimes in the morning, but presently grew cold, lost his speech, and breathed but faintly and less and less. In the evening was hot again, and delirious; but, as the day advanced, was a little easier. His stools simple, small, and bilious. The ninth, was comatose, and qualmish, when he was raised, but not very thirsty. About sunset was very restless, rambled, and had a bad night. The tenth in the morning early was speechless, very cold, very feverish, sweated much, and died.
His pains were upon equal days.
He that had a phrensy and was laid up the fifth day, vomited much green thin matter; was feverish and chilly; sweated much and continually all over; and had a weight and pain in the head and neck. He had also thin urine, with little clouds scattered up and down, that subsided not; thundering stools; rambled much; and got no sleep. The second day betimes in the morning he lost his speech; was very feverish; sweated, but did not lose his fever; trembled all over; and at night was convulsed. The third, was worse in all respects. The fourth, died.
In Larissa, one who was bald was taken suddenly with a pain in his right thigh, and nothing that was applied to it did him any good. The first day an acute and burning fever, which abated a little, but the pain still continued. The second, the pain of the thigh abated, but the fever increased. He was also somewhat impatient, without sleep, cold in his extreme parts, and made a great deal of water, but not good. The third, the pain of the thigh ceased, but he grew lightheaded upon it, greatly disordered, and full of tossing. The fourth, about noon, he died in a very acute manner.
In Abdera, Pericles was taken with an acute, continual, fever and pain. A great thirst succeeded, and a qualmishness; nor could he contain what he drank. He was also somewhat large-spleened, and heavy-headed. The first day, blood came from the left nostril; the fever raged much; and his urine was turbid, thin, copious, without a sediment after standing. The second, worse in all respects, but the urine was thick indeed, and rather subsided; and with respect to his qualmishness he was easier, and slept. The third, the fever abated. The urine was increased, digested, and had a great sediment. The night was pleasant. The fourth day about noon, a great hot sweat all over. The fever was carried off by it, and returned not again.
In Abdera, a virgin, who lived upon the Holy Way, was seized with a burning fever, thirst, and watchfulness. Her menses came down then for the first time. The sixth day she was very sick at her stomach, high-coloured, shivering a little, and restless. The seventh, no alteration. The urine thin indeed, but well-coloured; the belly quite easy. The eighth, she was deaf, very feverish, watchful, qualmish, shivering a little, but yet in her senses, and made the same urine. The ninth, and the following days, no alteration. The deafness remained. The fourteenth, the mind was disordered, and the fever abated. The seventeenth, she bled much at the nose; the deafness abated a little; but the following days she was qualmish, deaf, and lightheaded. The twentieth a pain in her feet came on; her deafness and delirium went off; she bled a little at the nose, sweated, and lost her fever. The twenty-fourth, she relapsed, and was deaf again; the pain in her feet remained, and she grew delirious. The twenty-seventh, sweated much, and lost her fever and deafness; the pain in her feet remained a little, but in other respects the crisis was perfect.
In Abdera, Anaxion, who lived by the Thracian Gates, was seized with an acute fever. His right side was continually in pain, attended with a dry cough, that brought nothing up the first days. A thirst came on, with a want of sleep, and urine that was well-coloured, much, and thin. The sixth day he was lightheaded, and received no benefit from warm applications. The seventh, was very uneasy. The fever increased, and the pains abated not. The cough was very troublesome, and a difficulty of breathing came on. The eighth, he was blooded in the arm, and that plentifully, as he ought. The pains abated, but the dry cough still continued. The eleventh, the fever abated; he sweated a little about the head; coughed still; and brought away from the lungs something more humid. The seventeenth, he began to spit a little concocted matter, and was relieved; but was thirsty, and the lungs were not well cleansed. The twentieth, he sweated, lost his fever, and after the crisis was easier. The twenty-seventh, the fever returned; and much digested matter came away by coughing. The urine had a large white sediment; the thirst went off, and sleep came on. The thirty-fourth, he sweated all over, had no fever, and was perfectly freed.
In Abdera, Heropythus was taken with a pain in his head as he was upon his legs, and not long after was forced to lie down. His house was by the upper path. An acute burning fever came on, with a vomiting of much bile at the beginning; a thirst; great uneasiness; and thin black urine, sometimes with, sometimes without, a cloud atop. The night was uneasy; the paroxysms of the fever uncertain; and for the most part out of the common course. About the fourteenth day he grew deaf; the fever increased; the urine, as before. The twentieth, and the following days, he was very lightheaded. The fortieth, bled much at the nose, and came more to himself. The deafness remained still, but was less. The fever abated. The following days he bled again often, and a little at a time. About the sixtieth his bleedings stopped; but in the right hip was a violent pain; the fever increased; and not long after pains attacked all the lower parts. It happened too, that the fever was either greater, and the deafness considerable, or that, upon an abatement of these, the pains in the lower parts, about the hip, were stronger. About the eightieth, there was a general remission, but it did not go quite off. The urine was well-coloured, and had a good sediment; and the deliriums were abated. About the hundredth, a great discharge of bilious matter downwards, that did not cease presently. These were succeeded by dysenteric complaints and pain; though in other respects he was very easy. In fine, the fever went off, the deafness ceased, and upon the hundredth day a perfect crisis happened in this burning fever.
Nicodemus, in Abdera, after venery and drinking, was seized with a violent fever. In the beginning he was qualmish, heartburnt, thirsty, with a burnt tongue, and thin black urine. The second day the fever increased. He was also chilly; qualmish; got no sleep; vomited bilious yellow stuff; made the same urine as before; had a quiet night, and slept. The third, every thing abated, and he was easy; but about sunset he was taken with an uneasiness again, and had a bad night. The fourth he shivered; was very feverish; in pain all over; made thin urine, with a cloud in it; and was very delirious. The seventh, easy again. The eighth, all the other complaints abated. The tenth, and the following days, he complained of pains, but not so much as before; and both pains and paroxysms were all along rather upon equal days. The twentieth, white thick urine, that subsided not upon standing; a great sweat; the fever seemingly spent: but about sunset he grew hot again, and had the same pains, with chilliness, thirst, and a little rambling. The twenty-fourth, much white urine, with a good sediment; and a great hot sweat all over, that put an end to the fever, and produced a good crisis.
A peevish, melancholy woman, in Thasus, was taken, after grieving upon some occasion, with watchings, dislike to food, thirst, and great uneasiness, while standing and walking about. She lived near Pylades’s, upon the Plain. The first day, as the night came on, she grew fearful, talked much, desponded, and had a little fever. The next morning early was much convulsed, and, upon the convulsions intermitting, was lightheaded, and talked obscenely. Her pains were many, great, and constant. The second day, no alteration; no sleep; the fever higher. The third, the convulsions ceased, but the coma and delirium remained. She waked again, got up, and could not contain herself; was very lightheaded, and very feverish. The same night she had a plentiful sweat, but not all over; the fever however left her; she slept, came to herself perfectly, and had a crisis. About the third day the urine was black and thin, and the cloud in it for the most part round and floating. At the crisis her menses came down plentifully.
In Lariffa, a maid was seized with an acute burning fever, attended with want of sleep, thirst, a fuliginous (or sooty) dry tongue, and urine that was well-coloured, but thin. The second day she was uneasy, and got no sleep. The third, had several watery stools, and the following days the like, without fatigue. The fourth, the urine was thin, a little in quantity, with an elevated cloud that subsided not. A delirium at night. The sixth, she bled very freely at the nose; shivered a little; sweated plentifully and hot all over; and the fever came to its crisis. But in the course of the fever, and upon the crisis happening, her menses came down then for the first time, she being a young virgin.
She was all along qualmish, subject to horrors, red in the face, and had a pain in her eyes, with a heaviness in her head. The crisis happened without a relapse, and her pains upon equal days.
Apollonius, in Abdera, was ill a long time, but not so as to be confined. He was a large-bowelled man, had an old pain about the liver a long while, and was at that time troubled with a jaundice, bloated, and of a whitish complexion. Upon eating beef and drinking intemperately, he was at first seized with a little warmth, and went to bed. But upon using milk plentifully, both goat’s and sheep’s, boiled and raw, and a bad diet withal, all his complaints were made considerably worse. For his fever was exasperated, and of what he took in, very little to speak of passed through him. His urine was thin and little; his sleep, nothing at all; but a bad kind of inflation, a violent thirst, a coma, a painful elevation of the right flank, a coldishness all about the extremities, a little rambling, with a forgetfulness of what he had said, and at last a strong delirium laid hold of him. About the fourteenth day from the time that he shivered, grew hot, took to his bed, and was mad; he bawled out, was greatly disordered, talked much, and then was silent. After this he grew comatose, and had many bilious, unmixed, crude stools. His urine was black, little, and thin; his uneasiness great; his stools various, sometimes black, little, and thin; at other times fat, crude, and acid; and at last milky to appearance. About the twenty-fourth he was easier; in other respects no alteration, but came a little to himself, (whereas, from the time he laid down, he remembered nothing) and presently after lost himself again. Every thing hurried on for the worse. About the thirtieth, he was very feverish; had many small stools; was delirious; cold in his extremities; and dumb. The thirty-fourth, he died.
This patient, during my attendance, was all along disordered in his belly; his urine thin and black; and he was comatose, watchful, cold in his extremities, and perpetually delirious.
A woman in Cyzicus, who was delivered with much difficulty of two daughters, and not well cleansed afterwards, was taken at first with a chilliness and acute fever, attended with a weight and pain of the head and neck. She could get no sleep from the beginning; was silent, sullen, and inflexible. The urine was thin, and without colour. She was also thirsty, and for the most part qualmish and uneasy. The belly irregular, sometimes loose, and sometimes bound. The sixth day at night she was very delirious, and got no sleep. About the eleventh, was mad, and came to herself again. The urine black, thin, and, after a while, oily. The stools many, thin, and turbid. The fourteenth, she was much convulsed; cold in her extreme parts; lost her senses; and had a suppression of urine. The sixteenth, was dumb; and the seventeenth, died.
In Thasus, Dealces’s wife, who lived upon the plain, was taken with a chilliness and acute fever, occasioned by sorrow. She was covered up from the beginning, and, without ever speaking to the last, felt about with her hands, plucked off, scratched, and gathered the nap of the clothes; cried, and presently after laughed; got no sleep; had no stool, though the belly was stimulated with something; drank a little at the request of others; made a little thin water; was but moderately feverish to the touch; and cold in her extremities. The ninth, was very delirious, and soon after recovered herself, but was silent. The fourteenth, her breathing was deep and seldom, long and short. The seventeenth, another stimulus was used to the belly; after which what was drank passed through, without any gathering together, or stoppage. She was insensible of every thing; and her skin was distended and dry. The twentieth, she talked much, and again recovered herself, but was afterwards dumb, and breathed short. The twenty-first she died.
This patient’s breathing was all along deep and slow. She was insensible of every thing; was always covered up; and either talked much, or was silent to the last.
In Melibæa, a young man, heating himself a long time with drink and venery to excess, was taken with a chilliness, a nauseousness, and want of sleep, but without a thirst. The first day, he had many stools, with a great flux of humours, and the following days many watery ones. The urine was thin, little, and without colour. The breathing seldom, deep, and long. The hypochondres distended, but somewhat soft, and that for a considerable length on both sides. He had also a continual palpitation of the heart to the last; made oily urine; rambled moderately; was composed again and quiet. His skin was dry and distended; his stools many, thin, bilious, and fat. The fourteenth, was worse in all respects; rambled, and raved much. The twentieth, was mad; threw his limbs about; made no water, and scarce kept his drink. The twenty-fourth, died.
[a ]See his Connexion, vol. ii. p. 569, the ninth edition, in 1725, where are these express words, viz.: “Lucretius has also given us a poetical description of it (meaning the plague), and Hippocrates has written of it as a physician. For that great master of the art of physic lived in those times, and was at Athens all the while this distemper raged there.”