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2. Strombeck DR. Small Animal Gastroenterology. Davis, California: Stonegate Publishing, 1979: 304. 3. Murtaugh RJ, Jacobs RM.

Serum amylase and isoamylase and their origins in healthy dogs and dogs with experimentally induced pancreatitis. Am J Vet Res 1985; 46: 742. 4. Hardy RM. Acute pancreatitis: a review. Proc Am Anim Hosp Assoc 1974: 324. 5. Cameron JL, Capuzzi DM, Zuidema GD, Margolis S. Acute pancreatitis with hyperlipemia - Evidence for a persistent defect in lipid metabolism. Am J Med 1974; 56: 482. 6. Havel RJ. Pathogenesis, differentiation and management of hypertriglyceridemia. Adv Intern Med 1969; 15: 117.

7. Lindsay S. Entenman C, Chalkoff IL. Pancreatitis accompanying hepatic disease in dogs fed a high fat, low protein diet. Arch Pathol 1948; 45: 635. 8. Haig TH. Experimental pancreatitis intensified by a high fat diet. Surg Gynecol Obstet 1970; 119: 914. 9. Anderson NV. Pancreatitis in dogs. Vet Clin North Am (Small Anim Pract) 1972; 2: 79. 10. Kronfeld DS. Canine Nutrition. University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine. 1985: 13. 11. Hill FWG, Kidder DE. Fat assimilation in dogs, estimated by a fat balance procedure. J Small Anim Pract 1972; 13: 23.



The Discovery of Chiron's Cave, a Prehistoric School of Medicine for Animals and Humans
Walter Hausmann and Wolfgang Jochle

Chiron the centaur, mythical inventor of medicine for animals and humans, and emblem of numerous veterinary associations worldwide, is possibly an historic personality of the prehomeric period (ca 1300 B.C.) Only 600 to 700 years later did the legend form that centaurs (in antique Greek: "hunters on horseback of the wild bull") were wild creatures, half horse and half man, and associated with uncontrolled libido and its socially destructive forces. According to tradition, literary as well as folkloric, Chiron taught his medicine to the ruling class of his time in a specially prepared cave in the Pelion Mountains (=the healing mountains) of Eastern Thessalia. Following leads from ancient authors and local traditions, a cave fitting the location and description was discovered in 1981 by the senior author. Details about its location, and observations about its surroundings, including ancient and modern place names indicate once more that Chiron, the centaur, stands for an historic personality. Chiron, the centaur, the mythical inventor of 0medicine for animal and man, is the emblem of numerous veterinary associations worldwide, including the World Association for the History of Veterinary Medicine, the National Veterinary Medical Association of Britain and Ireland, the Veterinary History
Grubfeldweg 32, D-8924 Steingaden, Federal Republic of Germany (Hausmann); 10 Old Boonton Road, Denville, New Jersey 07834 (Jochle). Presented at the XXIII World Veterinary Congress, Section 17, History of Veterinary Medicine, Montreal, 1987.
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Society, London, the Centaur Society, Bristol, the Australian Veterinary Association, the Veterinary Association, Pretoria, SA, the Polish Veterinary Association, and many others. Chiron's role as the "inventor"of medicine in general, based to a large extent on pharmacognosy or ethnopharmacology, and that of veterinary medicine specifically is deeply rooted in ancient mythology and legend. Sources are not only several ancient authors, but also local, age-old traditions in the Pelion Mountains of Northern Greece, which are perpetuated verbally today. These ancient Greek legends and their oral preservation into our days provided us with leads about the historic figure of Chiron, his master pupil Asklepios, and the location of Chiron's cave where he taught medicine for men as well as animals. Chiron and Asklepios* are historic personalities to Homer (1). They belong to the prehomeric period and lived possibly in the 13th century B.C. The members of the tribe of the centaurs were not monsters with a man's head, torso and arms and horse's body and legs. This legend developed much later, in the 7th and 6th century B.C. In the antique Greek language, the word "Kentaur" stands for "hunter on horseback of the wild oxen". King Ixion of Thessalia was said to have promised rich rewards for those who killed the wild oxen devastating his fields. Legend has it that the "Kentaurs" were especially successful in reaping these rewards. Legends often have an historic nucleus. Our assumption that Chiron and Asklepios are indeed historical personalities is shared by others. Today, historians generally accept that mythical
*Asclepius, or Aesculapius in Roman tradition.

figures of the late Mycenaean period were historic personalities. The Greek philosopher Euhemero (311-298 B.C. in the service of King Kassandros) took the lead to demystify the gods venerated by the Greeks: he declared that they were originally outstanding personalities (2), a point of view shared much later by Isaac Newton. Benseler, a classical scholar, in 1879, mentioned in his "Greek Dictionary" that the centaurs were a tribe which had settled between Mount Ossa and the Pelion Mountains in Eastern Thessalia (3). Much later they were called "those with the legs of horses", probably because they were accomplished horseback riders. Georges, another classical scholar, also in 1879, in his "Latin Dictionary", calls the centaurs a tribe living in forests and mountains, who excelled as huntsmen on horseback (4). In their study on "Asclepius. A collection and interpretation of the testimony", E.J. and L. Edelstein in 1945 (5) presented numerous pieces of evidence that Asklepios, the prince of Trikke, was actually a student and pupil of Chiron. Since then, the first Asklepios- Treatment Center, built by Asklepios himself, has been uncovered in Trikalla, as the town is called today. Further information on Chiron and the centaurs has been presented by C.W. Schwabe (6). When combining older information with the results of recent research, the following picture about the earliest development of Western medicine emerges: Chiron was the chief of a tribe invading Northern Greece on horseback, probably from Thracia (2,7). Although horses are documented several centuries earlier in Greece, they were used as draft animals only. Chiron's appearance seems to coincide with the earliest appearance of a horse with a rider from the Lower Helliadic IlIb phase of Mycenae, i.e. about 1300 B.C. (8). Chiron may have brought with him knowledge from earlier Indo-Germanic and Asiatic traditions as well, combining medical approaches to injuries and diseases in humans and animals. Chiron obviously became a teacher of this knowledge, possibly supplemented by his own experiences. All sources agree that he used a cave as a center for his "School", and that his pupils were the princes of the surrounding kingdoms and principalities. Only this ruling class had the time, the funds, and the motivation to study: they strove to stay healthy, i.e. in power; and they were interested in securing the health of their large livestock holdings. As Sigerist (9) pointed out, herds of livestock represented tangible evidence of health. The loss of a cow or of a bull sometimes represented to the owner a greater loss than that of which could be replaced without financial a child sacrifices. Schwabe (6) sees Chiron as the educator and warden of the sons of leading Greek families temporarily held hostage by the centaurs. Starting with Chiron, medicine split quickly into two branches or schools: that of Chiron's descendants, embracing the school of Chironids and the school of Asklepios. The Chironids were mostly active on the Magnesia peninsula, (again in the Pelion Mountains) as well as in Demetrias, a town close by, which was

founded in 294 B.C. This indicated that Chiron's descendants worked locally as healers for man and beast for at least one thousand years. Thereafter, their

trail is lost (2,7,10,11). This did not happen with the second branch of Chiron's school, the school of Asklepios. Starting, as Chiron did, in caves as the place for exercising the art, Asklepios himself may have already moved into specially equipped buildings. Several of his sons and daughters became physicians. Their descendants quickly spread the body of knowledge about healing across Greece and its islands: of the Asklepieions, originally places of veneration of Asklepios, some became "health spas" and others "schools of medicine". Hippocrates (460-370 B.C.) is a direct offspring of this school, which Greek physicians later brought to Rome. One of Rome's greatest physicians, Galenus, stands in the same tradition. But long before Hippocrates this branch of an originally general medical tradition Asklepios treated men and beasts alike had split into a medical and veterinary branch. Greek veterinary medicine spread equally around Europe in the confines of the Roman Empire. Names of veterinarians in Chiron's tradition are: Apsyrtos, Theomnestos, Pelagonios, Columella, Chiron the Younger, and Vegetius Renatus (2,7,10). Several of these authors refer to a book on equine medicine, supposedly written by Chiron, which is lost. The chapters said to come from Chiron include those on glanders, febrile diseases, epistaxis, blood letting and about many medicinal plants. This indicates a significant body of empirical knowledge. But as Pindaros describes, the medical art Chiron commanded was fourfold: "All of those approaching him, with hereditary defects, or injured at their limbs by the cut of the iron, or hit by stones, or hurt by the summer's heat or by winter's cold: he absolved them from their pain and had them returning (sound). Some he cured with calming incantations; others with soothing and healing potions; or he bandaged limbs with curing herbs. Others were cured by the knife." (2) Hence, Chiron knew about psychotherapy, the use of drugs, and he used surgery a word etymologically linked to his name. If Chiron was an "historical" personality, where was his place, especially his cave, serving as "medical school"? Homer, in his Iliad, knew that Chiron lived in the Pelion Mountains. Pindar places Chiron's cave on the Magnesia Peninsula. Further details are to be found by Nikandros, a physician in the 2nd century B.C. He mentions the wooded valley of Pelethron repeatedly: here, according to tradition, was Chiron's cave, where he lived, for some years together with Asklepios. There was also Chiron's plantation of medicinal herbs and there Asklepios raised the snake which later became his attribute (2,7,11). We (W. Hausmann and Mrs. Hausmann), as a result of having studied these ancient authors, became convinced that this cave may still exist and were almost obsessed with finding it. Inquiries directed to local archeological authorities were disappointing: Chiron hence was regarded by them as a mythical figure the search for the cave a futile exercise. Help came from local farmers, herdsmen and shepherds, and from age-old Thessalic legends placing Chiron's cave somewhere in the mountains between the village of

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Malaki down at the shore and the small hamlet of Tsangarada higher up in the mountains (Figure 1). Following this guidance, on August 25, 1981, we discovered Chiron's cave close to the village of Milies (or Mileae) in a deep-cut wooded valley, the so called Peletronic valley (Figure 2).


Figure 2. A close-up of the Pelethronic valley in which Chiron had his dwelling. It takes its name from a medicinal herb Chiron discovered, which in Greek is called "Pelethronia", in Latin "Centaureum" and with its scientific name "Erythrea centauricum". Its name in English is "Feverwort", in German "Tausendguldenkraut". In veterinary medicine it was a previously widely used stomachicum, or stomachic tonic. The cave is at the foot of the cliff, covered by trees.

Figure 1. These maps show Greece in her entirety, and in the insert the peninsula of Magnesia in the Northeastern Greek province of East Thessalia. To the West is the Gulf of Pagasae, to the East the Aegean Sea. The capital city is Volos; its ancient name was Iolkos. The cave is located West of Milies, or Mileae.

The cave itself is a typical cave dwelling; on its right side a bedplate for two has been carved out of the rock, exactly as legend had it (Figures 3 and 4). The cave is about 12 feet wide, 24 feet deep and 15 feet high. It is located at a little mountain stream with crystal clear water and very close to an age-old path, which horses can travel from the cave at an altitude of 360 m (about 1200 feet) down to the shore (12). The valley is studded with pine, beech, chestnut, and apple trees. Green, flower-covered meadows abound. We are convinced that digging in and around the cave would yield valuable findings. Since only the Greek government has
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Figure 3. The entrance to the cave dwelling. The entrance was closed with a wall and had a door. Today it serves as a barn for mountain sheep. One has to imagine that such caves were furnished with some pieces of furniture, with rugs, hides and skins. Such cave dwellings are still in use in the Canary Islands. One should be reminded that even Zeus was
born at Crete in
a cave.


nci !t%

- ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O

Figure 4. Chiron's Cave: On the side is a smaller cave; above there are caverns out of reach. Carved out of the rock is a bedplate for Chiron and Chariklo, his wife.

the authority to excavate, it is hoped that the general interest in this, the cradle of Western Medicine, will move local and/or national authorities to initiate a concerted exploration of this find. Having located Chiron's cave is not so remarkable. It is amazing that it happened only recently, since there are so many pointers to it. Local legends are a rather reliable source of information, as our endeavor has shown: the locals were quite familiar with Chiron's cave, even under this name. That local traditions can relate to historic happenings that occurred millenia earlier has been scientifically proven. Examples in the vicinity of Chiron's cave are: In spring, the village Makrinitza in the Pelion Mountains celebrates the resurrection of Adonis. This feast relates to dionysic mysteries, which according to legend Melampous introduced into Thessalia - who as a local king and animal healer was a pupil of Chiron. In Volos, the capital of the Magnesia district, the voyage of the Argonauts is re-enacted every July: several of Chiron's pupils participated in this journey. In the little town of Tirnavos a large procession is performed during Lent exhibiting a big phallus, in order to assure fertility in men, animals and the field. This tradition comes from orphic mysteries, which were installed by Orpheus, again a legendary pupil of Chiron. A recent, but unrelated, discovery once more substantiates the fact that local traditions may have an historic background: in a cave in Bavaria, locally called the "virgin's cave", archeologists discovered skeletons from young women obviously sacrificed to the gods at about 4000 B.C. Local traditions have told of it for almost 6000 years.

There is another piece of evidence pointing toward the authenticity of this cave as "Chiron's cave". The nearby village named Mileae was once called Maleae. Maleae is also the name of an area in the Southeast of the Peloponnesus, an area to which Chiron withdrew when fleeing from the Lapiths and where he died. He apparently took the name of his old residence into exile. Another tribal leader of the centaurs, Pholos, retreated to the border of Elis and Arcadia, where Mount Pholoe still gives witness to him. Chiron, the symbol of Veterinary Medicine, was possibly one of the most learned men of his time, and judging from the lasting impression he made he probably also was one of its most prominent philosophers. A Chinese metaphor seems apt at this point to illuminate the difference between a learned man and a true philosopher: "The learned man is like a raven feeding its offspring: it disgorges from its crop what it has eaten before. The true philosopher is like a silk worm, which does not void leaves from the mulberry tree, but silk." Why the centaurs in general over time became for the ancient world symbols for half-man half-horse like monsters, and why they were associated with uncontrolled libido and its socially destructive forces, is a story that awaits investigation.

1. Homer. Iliad 4,219.11.832 and 2,731.f.4,191.219. 2. Hausmann W. Chironica Ars. Antike Autoren ueber Cheiron. Dtsch Tieraerztl Wochenschr 1982; 89: 393. 3. Benseler GE. Griechisch-Deutsches Schul-Worterbuch. 6. Auflage. Leipzig: Verlag B.G. Teubner, 1879. 4. Georges KE. Ausfuhrliches Lateinisch-Deutsches Worterbuch in vier Banden. Leipzig: Hahn'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1879. 5. Edelstein EJ, Edelstein L. Asclepius. A Collection and Interpretation of the Testimony. Baltimore: John Hopkins Press, 1945. 6. Schwabe CW. Cattle, Priests and Progress in Medicine. Minnesota University Press, 1978. 7. Hausmann W. Cheiron. Eine weitere Sammlung und Auslegung von Zeugnissen. Dtsch Tieraerztl Wochenschr 1984; 91: 24. 8. Wiesner J. Archaeologia Homerica. Band 1, Kapitel F. Fahren und Reiten. Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1968: Fl 14-F1 17. 9. Sigerist HE. A History of Medicine. L. Primitive and Archaic Medicine. New York: Oxford University Press, 1967: 4. 10. Hausmann W. Die Erfinder der Tierheilkunde. Die Cheironsage und ihr Symbolgehalt. Dtsch Tieraerztl Wochenschr 1976; 83: 414. 11. Hausmann W. Thessalien - ein Schauplatz der Medizingeschichte. Tieraerztl Umsch 1981; 36: 824. 12. Hausmann W. Die medizinische Hohlenschule des Cheiron. Antike Welt. Z Archaologie 1983; 1: 59.


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