In ancient times a knowledge of the art of medicine was held by its possessors as secret, membership in the order of physicians being restricted and obtained only by initiation under the conditions and in the manner prescribed. In ancient Greece the right of the healing art was held by the order of the Asclepiadæ; and the Hippocratic oath, among its solemn requirements and inculcations of virtue and morality, has the following: I will impart a knowedge of this art to my own sons, to those of my teachers, and to disciples bound by a stipulation and oath according to the law of medicine, but to no others." In times still more remote, among the Hindus the right of the knowledge of medicine was hereditary, confined to the higher class, with physical and moral purity as requisites for initiation.
In the progress of events in modern times changes have occurred.
STAPLES F. CONCERNING MEDICAL EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES; A BRIEF HISTORY.. JAMA. 1896;XXVII(21):1098–1102. doi:10.1001/jama.1896.02430990022001h
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