Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  8 (1884), 31–37.

The Dagger. A Story of the Time of Sextus Pompey

John MacMullen


Short Fiction


Medical Practitioners, Status, Ancient Authorities

    In a melodramatic story which takes place during the first century BC, the victim of an accidental stabbing is taken to the house of a Roman nobleman 'who owned a very able Greek physician, and who hired him out at a high price to those who needed him. He had been purchased by the father of his present owner, who had remarked him as a very bright and intelligent young slave. Noticing his turn for medicine, he had him carefully educated in that art, in which he became an enthusiast; but he was never allowed to purchase his freedom, though he offered a high price for himself, his former as well as his present owner both preferring to hire him out at high prices, and thus repay themselves for their expenditure'. Amidst frequent invocations of the god Æsculapius, the slave-doctor diagnoses the onset of a 'Brain-fever' and is able to save the patient. (36)

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