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RHAZES'S TREATISE on the SMALL
POX and MEASLES.
of the causes of the small-pos; and how it comes to
pass, that no mortal, except by chance here and there one, escapes from this disease : also a brief account of what Galen has mentioned concerning it.
S to those physicians, who affirm, that the moft
excellent Galen has made no mention of the small-pox, and therefore that he did not know this diftemper ; surely they have either never read his works at all, or only very cursorily; nay, most of them do not kBow, whether what he plainly says of it, is to be understood of that disease. For Galen, in a certain treatise, says, this ** does good this and that way, and also against the small-pox. And in the beginning of the fourteenth book, Of pulses, that the blood is putrefied in an extraordinary degree, and that the inflammation runs so high, that it burns the skin ; so that the small-pox, and pestilent carbuncle are bred in it, and quite consume it.
And in the ninth treatise of the book of the use of the parts, he observes, that the superfluous parts of aliments, which are not turned into blood, and remain in the members, putrefy, and in time increasing do ferment; whence, at last, are generated the peftilential carbuncle, the small-pox, and confluent infiammations. Lastly, in the fourth part of his commentary up
on the Timæus of Plato, he says, that the ancients gave the name Pasy porn to every thing which pro, duces rednels, as the carbuncle, and small-pox; and that these diseases are bred in those in whom bile abounds.
But as for those who allege, that he has proposed no remedy or cure, nor explained the nature of this distemper, they indeed say what is true : for he mentions no more than what we have cited. But God knows, whether he might not have done it in some other books, which have not yet appeared in Arabic.
As for my own part, I have with great diligence inquired of those who understand both the Syriac and Greek language, and desired them to inform me concerving this matter : but not one of them could tell me more than what I have set down. But this indeed I very much wonder at, and why he passed over this. distemper in silence ; especially since it was frequent in his time, and therefore there was great reason for his prescribing remedies against it, as he was so diligent in finding out the causes and cures of diseases.
The moderns have, it is true, proposed some medicines for the cure of the finall-pox, but not distinct. ly and clearly enough ; neither has any one of them explained the cause of it, and why, except here and there one, nobody escapes it; nor shewed the methods of cure in a right order. Upon which account, I hope that the good man who encouraged me to undertake this work, will have his recompense; and that my reward will be doubled, when I shall have described whatever is necessary to the cure of this discafe in due method, assigning to every thing its proper place, by the help of God.
Wherefore Wherefore let us begin to recite the efficient caufe of this distemper ; and why it happens, that scarcely any one mortal escapes it. And then we will pursue separately, in the subsequent chapters, the other things which relate to it; and, with God's assistance, shall fiy on each head whatever is necessary for its cure.
I say then *, that the body of man, from the time of his nativity, till he arrives at old age, continually tends to driness; and that therefore the blood of infants and children, and, in proportion, the blood of young men, abounds much more with humidity, than the blood of old men, and is also hotter. And this indeed Galen teaches us, in his commentaries upon the aphorisms, where he says, the heat of chil. dren is indeed greater in quantity, than the heat of young men ; but the heat of young men is more violent in quality. This also is evident from the force of their natural actions, as the digestion of their food, and accretion in children.
Therefore, the blood of children may be compared to new wine, in which the fermentation leading to ripeness is not yet begun; and the blood of young men to the fame, fermenting and emitting steams, till it is quiet and ripe. And, lastly, the blood of old men is like to wine, whose strength is gone, so that it becomes vapid, and begins to grow four.
Now, the fmall-pox arises, when the blood putrefies and ferments, and the fermenting particles are thrown out of it; the blood of children, like to new wine, being changed to that of young men,
• Here begins the translation of the anonymous Greek interpreter.
which is as wine perfectly ripened. And this fermentation and ebullition is the disease.
And this is the reason why children, especially males, rarely escape being seized with it. For, without doubt, as the wine naturally ferments till it comes to perfection ; so the blood undergoes the same alteration, in passing from its first to its second state. And there seldom happens a temperament in an infant or child, in which such a change can be made in a small time, and without manifest signs of it: as may be judged from their diet, which in infants is milk; and in children, not milky, but their food is stronger, in proportion, than that of other ages, and more compounded. To which it may be added, that in these there is, after food, a greater motion of the humours. For these reasons, very few children go into life without this distemper. Besides this, great alterations are made here, by different temperaments, manners of life, and habits; as also by the constitution of the ambient air, and state of the blood, both as to quantity and quality : for in fome this flows quicker, in others flower ; in fome it abounds, in others it is deficient; in some it is very bad, in others in a better condition.
As to young men, whereas the change in their blood is already made, its maturation finished, and the particles of moisture, which should cause putrefaction, are now exhaled ; hence it follows, that this disease cannot be generated in them, at least but very feldom, that is, in such whofe blood still abounds with too much humidity, or is very corrupt, with a violent inflammation; or who, perhaps, when they were children, had been attacked with the chickenVOL. II. Y
pox, when their blood had not yet passed from thie first state to the second ; or lastly, who have a moderate heat, that is, without much moisture; and when they had the chicken-pox, were of a dry temperament, and lean.
In an advanced age, the distemper will scarcely appear, unleis perhaps in putrid, malignant, and pestilential conflitutions of the air, in which this disease chiefly rages. For such an air disposes bodies' very much to heat and mcisture; and an inflamed air promotes eruptions, by blowing up the spirit in the ventricles of the heart, and communicating to it the like dispofition, which, by the force of the heart, is fent into the blood, which is in the arteries; and brings it into the fame state of corruption.
Thus we have sufficiently, though fuccinctly, treated of the causes of the small-pox, We shall now proceed to thew, what bodies are most disposed to this disease and the mealles.
Odies inclined to this disease are generally such
as are moist, pale, and fleshy; the well-caloured alfo, especially, if they are ruddy and tending to brown, are disposed to it, if they are loaded with flesh. So are likewise those who are freqüently liable to acute and continual fevers, to running of the eyes, red pimples, and boils, proceeding from the eating of sweet things; as dates, honey, figs, grapes, and all those sweets in which there is a grofs hu