Antiquity refers to what is ancient or obsolete. When applied to physicians, it traditionally refers to those who practiced in a bygone, distant, ignorant age. However, the mere passage of time IS NOT sufficient reason to defame an age and its people as obsolete! It is a wrong assumption to dismiss the physicians of those ancient times as any more ignorant or obsolete than those of today!
The testimony of [some] contemporary writers about medicine in Babylon, Assyria and Persia [and Egypt, China, India, and Latin America] indicates that what we term the physician of antiquity was an active, capable, professional man, able to meet all the contingencies of his practice at least as competently as the ordinary country doctor today (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, p. 197).
This may seem a shocking statement in the light of recent advances in medicine. But ancient medicine was advanced too! Recent discoveries prove that the ancient practice matched many facets of its modern counterpart, technique for technique! It is an unforgettable experience to plunge into the mists of antiquity to study a civilization whose peoples lived fully 2000 years before Jesus Christ only to find today's diseases and today's cures! Their age seems somehow not so distant or remote, when one realizes they faced the very same diseases and sought to conquer them through identical techniques! Astounding evidence of the genius of the first two Egyptian dynasties has been preserved for us in the form of intellectual and technological discoveries of those early centuries. The artifacts of Egypt — an accurate calendar, mathematics, the ability to survey, and thus geometry, irrigation, writing and paper have partly formed the foundation on which modern civilization depends. Medicine is not to be excluded from these historical developments! "Hence the probability is strong that the medical traditions of the Greeks were wholly derived from the schools of the Egyptians" (Hamilton, The History of Medicine, Surgery and Anatomy, p. 35). Yes, the origin of medicine in the post-Flood era belongs to Egypt and its early rulers! It is well established that among all peoples of antiquity, the Egyptians enjoyed the reputation of being excellent physicians. Thus Homer extols the Egyptian practice: "Each is a physician with knowledge beyond all men" (Homer, Odyssey, IV, p. 231). Since the days of the Old Kingdom there existed not only a class of Egyptian physicians, but also medical specialization. Herodotus, writing of his travels to Egypt noted,
Medicine is practiced among the Egyptians on a plan of separation. Each physician treats a single disorder, and no more. Thus the country swarms with medical practitioners, some undertaking to cure diseases of the eye, others of the head, others again of the teeth, others of the intestines, and some those which are not local (Herodotus, The Persian Wars, p. 155).
This on-the-spot observation has long been discounted as whimsical speculation. Herodotus must have imagined it all! However, in spite of such skepticism, archaeological discoveries have corroborated these reports! The only question which remained was, did Herodotus' or Homer's accounts of Egyptian medical excellence apply to the 1500 years of medical history preceding their age. The answer is YES! Their observations were correct! Medicine was a highly specialized, advanced practice 4000 years ago.
Ancient Physicians Confident!
The study of ancient literature reveals a high degree of confidence, both on the part of the physician to treat the disease, and on the part of the patient to receive satisfactory treatment. Notice the confidence toward physicians expressed in a letter to Ashurbanipal, a king of Assyria, by one of his servants: "Today one of the maids became very ill. She would not eat a bite of food and suffered from pains in the head. May it please your Royal Highness to direct that a good doctor be invited to attend her?" (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, p. 197). Such would appear to be a very modern appeal! Notice now the letter from a physician to the father of a young patient:
Hearty greetings to the King, my Lord, from Arad-Nana, physician. Hearty greetings also to the little lad whose eyes are sore. I placed a bandage on his face. Yesterday evening, I took the bandage off and removed the dressing, and there was blood on the dressing, as much as would cover the point of the little finger. To which ever of the gods this benign action is due, his command surely has been heeded. Hearty greetings! Let the King, my Lord, rest assured: in a week or so, the boy will be well again (ibid., p. 198).
This Assyrian doctor seems to write with absolute assurance in his skill! And these examples of doctor-patient confidence in the medical practice of their age do not stand alone! Many similar letters have been translated revealing that the writers knew their work so well, as to be able to write about their patient's ill health authoritatively and assuredly. Few iatrogenic fatalities are recorded! "None of the eight hundred remedies found in the Ebers Papyrus appear to have actually killed anyone of those whom they were intended to benefit. THIS IS STRANGE" (Bryan, The Papyrus Ebers, p. 55). This is indeed strange in modern times where fully twenty per cent of all disease is iatrogenic! Astoundingly enough, sufficient material has been uncovered to state that the professional skill and ability of the doctors was such that "THE PROPORTION OF CURES TO DEATHS OF PATIENTS APPEARS HIGHER THAN IT IS TODAY"! (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, p. 197). Even in light of the facts, this assertion will seem impossible to some. However, its accuracy may even be demonstrated from the law of the day: the Code of Hammurabi! In ancient times, regulations concerning the practice of medicine involved much more than simple liability. The laws rigidly held doctors personally responsible for their professional work. The liabilities for any unskillful practice or deviation from the accepted regime included fines and personal physical punishment. Any physician inept at or lax in his work faced well-known dire consequences! Notice these few excerpts from the Code of Hammurabi: Article 196: "IF a man has destroyed the eye of a patrician, his own eye shall be destroyed. Article 197: "IF he has broken the bone of a patrician, his bone shall be broken. Article 198: "IF he has destroyed the eye of a plebeian, or broken a bone of a plebeian, he shall pay one mina of silver. Article 218: "IF the doctor has treated a gentleman for a severe wound... and has caused the gentleman to die... one shall cut off his hands" (Johns, The Oldest Code of Laws, pp. 43-47). Though these laws appear overly strict and harsh today, they would effectively guarantee no lack of skill among physicians. And such codes strictly regulating medical practice were common throughout all the Old World. In China, for example, physicians who failed to help patients of high degree were put to death! The very fact these laws were instituted and could be practically maintained, together with the fact there was no paucity of practicing physicians, is evidence of a consistently high rate of success! Obviously, the ONLY physicians were successful ones! Even operating under the threat of such harsh consequences, medicine flourished! And with good reason! When the records are properly understood, it becomes plain these physicians depended on a medical practice, which would be considered competent by today's standards!
Pharmacology of Egypt
"It is clear from the study of the medical papyri that medicine advanced considerably amongst the Egyptians and from them [some of their] medical... knowledge has descended to us... while probably MUCH OF IT WAS LOST IRRECOVERABLY" (Selwyn-Brown, The Physicians Throughout The Ages, p. 205). In spite of certain losses, Egyptologists recognize the ability, learning, and remarkable interest then manifested in the development of medicine. Enough of a record does remain to allow a responsible comparison between ancient and modern medicine. The full complement of medical practice possessed by these people is astounding — especially in the light of knowledgeable comparison. Surely "the past is worth our study and ever more so the further we advance" (ibid., p. 203). As we advance in our understanding of medical history, further skepticism becomes ridiculous — the evidence of a highly developed practice is here for all to see! The MEDICAL PAPYRI previously mentioned — principally the Ebers Papyrus, the Smith Papyrus, the Kahun Papyrus, and the Berlin Papyrus — provide an insight into the pharmacopoeia available to the physician. From these works it is apparent he had at his disposal an immense variety of drugs, minerals, and other substances with which to fight disease. These textbooks (the papyri) instructed him in how to mix his raw materials into effective medicines. In addition, they told him what remedies to use for what symptoms. In modern terminology, the art of diagnosis was being practiced.
Once translated, the Smith Papyrus revealed a startling fact currently essential to accurate diagnosis: the ancient physician understood the importance of the human heart and of counting the pulse! They realized the effect of the heart-beat reached out to all limbs. The Ebers Papyrus also commented on this important subject. The Title of one chapter is: "The secret of the physician — the knowledge of the movements of the heart and the knowledge of the heart." A symbol for the heart was included in the Egyptian hieroglyphs. Noting this, a number of scholars postulated that the Egyptians must have been among the first ANATOMISTS in history — some 3500 years before its official recognition as a science in 1300 A.D. Many other hieroglyphs supported this postulation as special symbols were found for other organs of the body: stomach, liver, windpipe, spleen, bladder, and the womb. Early physicians definitely were not as ignorant of anatomy as they were once assumed to be. It became apparent the Egyptians recognized at least two basic facts from their study of anatomy: 1) that the heart's pumping action affected all parts of the body, and 2) that blood vessels or "channels" led from the heart to all other parts of the body. Though research sources are limited, it is now evident much basic anatomical knowledge was then extant!
Science of Accurate Prescription
One of the most fascinating aspects of ancient medicine, which developed from the translation of the Ebers Papyrus, was the information it gave on the variety of medicines and drugs. "Medicines were prescribed in all the forms still in use today" (Castiglioni, A History of Medicine, p. 52). Inoculations, pills, suppositories, liquids, inhalations, poultices, gargles, fumigations, enemata, and balms were popularly administered externally and internally. The farther specialists looked into the matter, the more amazed they became! Over eight hundred prescriptions were carefully set forth in the Ebers Papyrus alone (see Bryan, The Papyrus Ebers, p. 15). A few of the prescriptions are extremely simple with one substance directed to be taken. The majority, however, are more complex including a dozen or more drugs. The longest of them in this particular papyrus consists of thirty-seven ingredients! These were not just silly magical recipes as had at first been thought, but legitimate prescriptions. "Ebbell and his successors did not succeed in deciphering all the names of Egyptian drugs. The ntjw resin, the isd fruit, the netr plant, and many other terms for which cross-references or contextual hints were lacking, remained mere groups of letters. They may have represented drugs no longer known today, or substances known today under other names. But the number and kind of drugs which were gradually identified justified the statement that the EGYPTIANS KNEW AND USED AT LEAST ONE THIRD OF THE MEDICINAL PLANTS LISTED IN MODERN PHARMACOPOEIAE" (Thorwald, Science and Secrets of Early Medicine, p. 60). It is necessary to list only a few: poppy, henbane, mandrake, jimson-weed, celery, turpentine, pomegranate, linseed, sycamore, castor-oil, thyme, cardoamom, caraway, and garlic. So from limited sources, a wealth of medicaments was found which figure prominently in our pharmacopoeia today! To attempt to compile a complete list from just this one papyrus would be impossible as the identity of a considerable number of substances is not known. According to Reginald Thompson, 180 drugs listed in Babylonian medical tablets are yet unidentified. Our knowledge of these ancient medicines is limited. However, there is no doubt that their physicians knew the effective properties of those substances as they carefully measured the components of all their medicines.
Prescriptions were written out in due form and sometimes at great length, fully equaling those of the most enthusiastic therapeutist in our own day. It was rather interesting to find that the symbol for ½ tenat, often used in their prescriptions, is identical with that indicating a drachm for us... (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, p. 207).
Thus, the Egyptians were the ORIGINATORS OF EXACT PRESCRIPTION!
The pharmacopoeia of Egypt was based on three sources: Plant, Mineral, and Organic substances. Setting aside the mineral materials, the scope of the two other pharmacopoeias is amazing! Some medical investigators have declared ancient materia medica ineffective. The reason perhaps is that they forget these drug sources should be collected in particular seasons of the year and at particular periods of their growth — not indiscriminately. When used in different combinations, they produce altogether different effects. These principles must be considered to correctly judge effectiveness of the ancient medicines. Chemists have now correctly analyzed the plant and mineral substances to determine their effectiveness according to the manner in which they were anciently used. Again the results of research proved amazing! Numerous prescriptions included modern ANESTHETICS and SEDATIVES! The name mandragora or mandrake is commonly found in the drug lists. Even as late as the Middle Ages it was used as a sedative for operations. Only recently, however, have the two active agents in the plant, which induce the sought for unconsciousness in a surgical patient been identified. These agents are atropine, and scopolamine, which have a numbing effect on the central nervous system. The poppy is also mentioned as a painkiller. Even the history of modern medicine includes dependence on opium, morphine, codeine, narcotine and papaverine. Another significant item on the prescription lists was a plant closely related to mandragora-henbane. This plant, too, was used around the world as a sleep-inducing agent for thousands of years. It was used by surgeons to deaden the pain of operations. Analyzation of henbane found it to contain scopolamine. In addition to mandragora, poppy, and henbane, other plants yielded the precious pain-relieving sedatives. Common among these was stramonium or jimson weed. Used by the Egyptians, this plant also contains two effective chemicals: hyoscyamine and atropine. "But the more this subject [analysis of ancient drugs] is studied, the more obvious appears to have been the great knowledge possessed by the doctors and chemists of... these ancient times" (ibid., p. 207). Unfortunately much of their knowledge is unintelligible to us or has simply been lost.
It is often argued that the role of germs in pathology could not have been grasped in ancient times. It is generally believed that bacteriology and the microscope could not have been known to such remote times. The possibility of their development in antiquity is generally never given the dignity of serious consideration. However,
That system must have had its microscope or some magnifying device, for without it they could not have talked of germs floating in the blood, and of malaria and other fevers being caused by germs conveyed by flea bites. [Ancient Indian writers referring to]... disease by contagion, sexual intercourse, evacuation of towns during epidemics, isolation of the people of the house where there is a death from some infectious disease, cleaning and sterilizing the instruments used for an operation [this principle as rediscovered by Seemmelwise in 18th century], could not have been destitute of the knowledge of bacteriology. That Ayurveda [ancient Indian medical writings] had its Bacteriology is certain from the fact that INOCULATION FOR SMALLPOX was known to it hundreds of years before Jenner taught it to Western medicine (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, p. 276).
Each man possesses a net. By day it serves him to catch fish, while at night he spreads it over the bed in which he is to rest.... The gnats [insects], which if he rolls himself up in his dress or in a piece of muslin, are sure to bite through the covering, do not so much as attempt to pass the net (Herodotus, The Histories, p. 74).
Ancient Egyptians possessed mosquito netting! Did they understand that disease may be communicated by insects? Why should we doubt it? The Roman author Varra wrote, "intermittent fever" was not due to climatic conditions as commonly assumed, but that it was brought on by bestiolae, (small animals) — in other words, insects! They carried the agents of the fever, as they did for many other diseases. This was millenia before Gorgas, who, at the construction of the Panama Canal, demonstrated "for the first time" (at least in our modern age) that fever could be carried by the mosquito! Bacteriology was an established fact of ancient times!
We are able to construct a reasonably complete picture of ancient surgery from the medical papyri. From current records it appears the development of surgery in the old world reached its apex in India. Old Indian surgery contained practically all the operations known to the modern Western surgeon! Ancient Hindu surgeons performed such difficult operations as rhinoplasty (a type of plastic surgery), lithotomy, abdominal surgery (without infection), Caesarean section, cataract removal, and even BRAIN SURGERY — which is reputed to be one of the greatest achievements of Western medicine. That Western medicine owes its surgery to India is clear from the fact that countries from which Occidental medicine has taken its inspiration, were not so proficient at surgery. Some current operations, like rhinoplasty and lithotomy, originated in India centuries before Western medicine even existed in name. "In surgery, India seems to have attained a special proficiency, and in this department, European surgeons might perhaps even at the present day still learn something from them, as indeed they have already borrowed from them..." (Selwyn-Brown, The Physician Throughout The Ages, p. 275). Since the Edwin Smith Papyrus is the oldest and most complete single treatise on surgery in antiquity, its reference to Egyptian surgery will be the primary example. "Though the papyrus contains no clue as to the author's name, Breasted believes that there is good internal evidence that this surgical treatise was written in the Old Kingdom" (circa 2500 B.C.), (Castiglioni, A History of Medicine, p. 55-56). Surgery commenced in Egypt in its most remote age — the FIRST DYNASTY! This papyrus carries the account of forty-five traumatic lesions and of some surgical diseases of the thorax. Consequently, it constitutes a most valuable book in the history of surgery! This record is much older than any similar Indian account. No doubt surgical knowledge was originally gleaned from Egypt. In the papyrus, all the cases are accurately described, beginning with the objective examination, the diagnosis, prognosis, and the subsequent treatment. "The clinical observations are so accurate and clear that it does not seem possible to the physician who reads these pages today that five thousand years have passed from the time when an acute observer and expert operator collected the results of his rich experience to serve him in teaching" (ibid., p. 56)! Circumcision was also practiced by the Egyptians in ancient times. "In the... cemetery of Naga-adder, one hundred miles north of Luxor, Elliot Smith found that all male corpses were circumcised" (ibid., p. 54). Even this brief account gives an impressive affirmation of the state of surgery in ancient Egypt!
Miscellaneous Medical Developments
Incense was as popular in the Middle and Far East anciently as it is today. The famous incense trade routes, which gave rise to the mystery and intrigue highlighted in Hollywood movies, wound their way from India across the deserts of Arabia to ready markets in Egypt. Great amounts of incense were consumed along the Nile! The Temple of Amon in Thebes reputedly burned 2189 jars and 304,093 bushels of fragrant resins in one year! Today incense is primarily associated with religion. As a result, its ancient import has gone unnoticed. Anciently, incense was a tool of medicine! Chemists have discovered that the burning of incense produces phenol — commonly called CARBOLIC ACID. When introduced into the operating room in the nineteenth century, it was hailed as the first antiseptic. When, in fact, ancient nations had sought operative hygiene through similar antisepis millenia ago! In 1898 Sir Flinders Petrie discovered another medical textbook — the Kahun Papyrus. Only three pages long, it was obviously but a portion of a more extensive work. He took his new find to London where it was deemed a significant discovery. The Kahun Papyrus was original indeed — the medical remedies it set forth dealt exclusively with women's diseases. Petrie had found a textbook on GYNECOLOGY! Specific references were included which any modern gynecologist would recognize: typical bladder disturbances which accompany pregnancy, phlebitis, abdominal cancer, hemorrhages, menstrual irregularities, tumors and inflammations of various female organs. One of the most amazing discoveries in this field of medicine, was a prescription intended to prevent pregnancy. Initially, at face value, it received only skepticism and ridicule. The prescription read: "acacia spikes ground fine with dates and honey, rubbed on a wad of fibres and inserted deep into her vagina...." Apparently no one had considered analyzing this composition scientifically. Recently, laboratory analysis has proved, much to the researcher's astonishment, that acacia spikes contain a substance which forms lactic acid when dissolved in a fluid. Many present-day contraceptive preparations contain the same lactic acid! Even in this facet of feminine hygiene, ancient women were surprisingly up-to-date!
Antibiotics — 4000 Years Ago!
In 1928 Alexander Flemming identified a new chemical substance — penicillin. The medical world hailed this discovery as revolutionary! Here was a drug which possessed antibiotic properties. Physicians and chemists had been searching for years to isolate a drug, which could effectively, safely combat the spread of harmful bacteria. Apparently penicillin was the answer. In 1900 among certain medical men, chemotherapy was in disrepute. Physicians in every country were speaking their minds on the subject; powerful books were written against the use of drug therapy. Drugs were not considered safe or effective. However, with the advent of penicillin, a stampede ensued in laboratories worldwide to discover similar new chemicals to fight disease. The discovery of the antibiotic soon became known as the most important in the recent history of drug therapy! The modern physician now possessed, for the first time, a highly effective means to stop the spread of toxic bacteria. The Age of Antibiotics was born!
Or, Was It Merely Rediscovered?
As astounding as this discovery seemed to the physician of 1928, the working principle of antibiotics was not new! The word antibiotic simply means "against life" (Chambers, Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary, p. 42). An antibiotic, then, is inimical to life; it is a substance which inhibits the growth of an organism. THIS PRINCIPLE WAS COMMON KNOWLEDGE 4000 YEARS AGO!
Herodotus, writing of the building of the Pyramid of Cheops, noted:
An inscription is cut upon it [the pyramid] in Egyptian characters recording the amount spent on radishes, onions, and leeks for the laborers, and I remember distinctly that the interpreter who read me the inscription said the sum was 1600 talents of silver [approximately $4,000,000] (Herodotus, The Histories, II, p. 125).
Why should such an enormous amount be spent on these particular vegetables? And possibly even more incongruous — why record such insignificant detail on the pyramid? For a long time, no one paid attention to this comment in The Histories. Certainly no serious historian ever gave it any medical significance. In 1948, the Swiss scientists Karrer and Schmidt effected an experiment which enabled them to grasp the astounding import of the quotation. These men discovered that radish seeds contained a chemical called raphanin — which definitely possessed antibiotic properties! The radish contained a natural antibiotic. Raphanin proved to be an effective destroyer of bacteria — including the cocci and coli. Radish juice produces the same effect on the bacteria. Furthermore, the chemicals allicin and allistatin were located in leeks (garlic) and onions. These, too, are antibiotic in nature and effective against dysentery, typhoid fever and cholera. The distribution of radishes, garlic, and onions in such quantities now projected to the scientists a definite medical purpose! Sad experience had no doubt taught the Egyptians that serious epidemics of dysentery, typhoid fever, and cholera could break out among the masses of pyramid workers quartered so closely together. Strict measures of sanitation would have to be observed to keep such infectious diseases from breaking out at the building site and spreading throughout the population. In addition, these vegetables which contained a natural antibiotic were used to prevent the potential epidemics. Obviously these ancient people understood the potential dangers of intestinal bacteria and the efficacy of certain substances in controlling the ever-present threat of epidemic. To cite three vegetables, which have inherent antibiotic properties, admittedly, is not sufficient of itself to prove ancient existence of modern chemotherapy. But it is an interesting singular discovery — considering only scattered fragments from the vast medical libraries of the ancients have been unearthed! Investigation has discovered more. Notice!
All ancient medicine was not nearly so pleasant or simple! In fact, medical historians have termed a sizeable, complex section of Egyptian pharmacopoeia "sewer pharmacology." Numerous prescriptions call for fly and pelican droppings, human urine, lizard excrement, human fecal matter, gazelle's dung — and most frequently of all, the excrement of the crocodile. Through exhaustive clinical analysis, modern medical historians admitted to finding a rational explanation for much of ancient materia medica, but this bizarre treatment was clearly foolishness! There could be no practical value in such medication (see Rawlinson, History of Ancient Egypt, p. 306). And there was no mistaking the intention of these men. The repulsive preparations were used as prescribed! The Ebers Papyrus, alone, contains over fifty prescriptions in which fecal matter and urine are important components. These medicaments were to be used internally, as well as externally. Many of the prescriptions are astonishingly specific in expressly recommending the excretions from particular animals to treat a singular disease. For example: "To drive out the nesit disease — crush two testicles of a black ass, rub in wine and let the patient drink" (Bryan, The Papyrus Ebers, p. 32). Human excrement mixed with yeast-of-sweet-beer and honey is recommended as a dressing for wounds! Another example called for male semen as a flavoring agent in a mixture to relieve abdominal obstruction! Such putrid examples dominate ancient prescriptions! Abominable, repulsive, confounding! The natural response of historians, into the middle of the twentieth century, was to label such medicine sewer pharmacology. Nevertheless, the physicians in those early days were confident in these weird prescriptions; recoveries are recorded, and even recalling the strict code of Hammurabbi, it is obvious the filth had an effect! The ancient secrets remained a mystery. No one knew how these drugs could produce any practical effect. The mysterious ingredient of the excremental drugs remained hidden until 1948. It was in this year that Dr. Benjamin M. Duggar, Professor of Plant Physiology at Wisconsin University, discovered a new antibiotic drug — aureomycin. This discovery was to have a devastating effect on the modern evolution of ancient medicine! Overnight, aureomycin became a wonder drug. It unleashed swift, certain annihilation upon various types of bacteria. The interesting aspect to history was not its discovery, but how and where it was discovered. Its composition was profoundly reminiscent of ancient prescriptions. Dr. Duggar had extracted aureomycin from a type of soil found particularly in the vicinity of cemeteries! This particular soil produced a special fungi which had the annihilating effect upon disease bacteria as did the molds from which penicillin was derived. A fact of chemistry was now clear to modern science, which had been employed anciently: certain waste products resulting from the metabolism of molds have an annihilating effect on bacteria. Further investigation showed that bacteria living in a human or animal body, release their excretory products into the excrement of the animal. It is now known that the excrement of every animal contains different antibiotic substances! The same principle holds true for mud and soils in which once living material is in the process of decay. The question now argued by medical historians is, did the Egyptians develop antibiotic drugs? The answer is, as SYNTHETIC laboratory products, no. The point is, anciently, physicians did know that certain metabolic waste products retarded the growth of disease bacteria. This working formula, the inherent nature of our antibiotics, also formed the backbone of ancient medical practice! Further proof that they did appreciate this principle is found in the fact that they had collected and CODIFIED the effect on specific diseases of every living creature's excrement: fecal and urine, male and female, human and animal. History now shows that the Egyptians, though often in crude form, anciently used substances, which the mid-twentieth century held to be the latest achievements of science! Such discoveries are staggering to say the least! The physicians of antiquity were not ignorant or obsolete. Though living in a bygone age, the ancient man of medicine possessed not only confidence in his practice, but also the CAPABILITY to meet the needs of his patients as a most "modern" physician!