[Note how this passage disproves the point Pliny is trying to make.]
I will not mention many famous doctors like Cassius, Calpetanus, Arruntius and Rubrius. Their annual salaries were a quarter of a million sesterces. When Nero was emperor, people rushed to Thessalus, who overturned all previous theories and when he walked about in public he was followed by as big a crowd as an actor or chariot-driver. Next came Crinas of Massilia, who decided what his patients could eat according to the astrologers' almanacs.
There is no doubt that these doctors, in their hunt to gain fame by means of some new idea, did not hesitate to buy it with our lives. Consequently those wretched quarrelsome consultations at the bedside of patients. Consequently also the gloomy inscription on monuments: "It was the crowd of doctors that killed me".
Medicine changes every day and we are swept along on the puffs of the clever brains of the Greeks. People can live without doctors (though not, of course, without medicine). It was not medicine which our ancestors hated, but doctors. They refused to pay fees to profiteers in order to save their lives. Of all the Greek arts, it is only medicine which we serious Romans have not yet practiced.
Pliny, 'Natural History' (c.AD 50)
1. What can Pliny tell historians about medicine in Roman times?
2. Were doctors in Roman times hated or fêted?
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