Translator’s Preface

Anutius Foësius on coming (1594) to the surgical section of his Hippocrates says that some will find fault with him for editing treatises so fully discussed by many eminent writers: they will call his work futile and superfluous. Some will also cry out upon his notes as fragmentary, superficial and useless. Such fears are more natural in one who looks back not only on Foës himself and his contemporaries, but on the translation of Adams, the great edition of Petrequin, and the labours of Littré and Ermerins, nowhere more complete than when dealing with these treatises; while behind them all loom the thousand pages of Galenic Commentaries and the dim light of the illustrations of Apollonius. He is overwhelmed by his material, and cannot hope to do more that attempt a fairly accurate translation with fragmentary notes condensing the more important discussions of preceding editors.

The recent revolution in surgery due to anaesthetics, asepsis, radiography and other practical and scientific progress tends to put a modern surgeon rather out of touch with the great ancients. It makes him, perhaps, less able to appreciate their achievements, and more conscious of their unavoidable errors. On the other side, recent criticism