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Hippocrates, The Central Historical Figure In Greek Medicine

Hippocrates, the central historical figure in Greek medicine, was born in Kos between 470-460 B. C. He was born of an ancestor of Aselepios, the son of Apollo, named Heraklides. He greatened his education by traveling. He traveled often and widely before he settled in Kos to practice and teach medicine. Hippocrates taught in Athens and worked on squaring the circle and also worked on duplicating the cube. He grew far in these areas and although his work is not lost, it must have contained much of what Euclid later included in Books One and Two of the Elements. He believed that experience and mind with speech are the criteria of the knowledge.

And according to Hippocrates, the diseases are not due to the “wrath of God”, but to natural causes which bring disturbances in the function of the organism. He was set against any idea of sacerdotalism, the belief that priests can act as mediators between God and human beings, and also opposed the spirit of trade-unionism in medicine. He was concerned with the physician’s duties, not the “rights”. This brought on the greatest legacy of Hippocrates: the Hippocratic Oath. The Hippocratic Oath was the example for medical etiquette for centuries and endures in modified form today.

There is some uncertainty about when it was composed, the purposed for which it was intended, and the historical forces which shaped the document. It is said to have been written in the fifth century B. C. It’s principles have slightly changed, if at all, regardless of the place and time, social systems, or religious beliefs. It is the basis for graduates of medical schools and the health professions all over the world. Translated, the Hippocratic Oath is against suicide and abortion, which were in consonance with the principles of the Christian Church.

Suicide was not proscribed by ancient religions, mostly because they did not know of any eternal punishment for those who had ended their own lives. It is also against surgical procedures and is against the shedding of blood. The blood was where the soul was thought to reside. The second half of the Hippocratic Oath is the ethical half and is inconsistent with the principles and practices of Hippocrates. Hippocrates’ work was a breakthrough in medicinal history. He set an example of the ideal physician after which others, centuries after him, copy their existence.

It was said by Celsus that “Hippocrates fist gave the physician an independent standing, separating him from the cosmological speculator, or nature philosopher. He then advanced the idea that by observing enough cases, a doctor can soon predict the course of a disease. Hippocrates was associated with a group of medical treatises known as the Hippocratic Corpus. It consisted of some sixty medical treatises, in which, most were dated back to the later decades of the fifth century B. C. or to the early decades of the fourth. The Hippocratic Corpus is a library.

Some of the books included are Ancient Medicines or On Epilepsy. Ancient Medicine was written by an anonymous fifth century physician. But both of the books mentioned involve origin of disease and the intrusion of hypothetical philosophers into medicine. The picture of Hippocrates is a portrait as envisioned by a Byzantine artist. His portraits usually represent him with a noble face and an impressive body to match his intellectual attributes. There are many busts of Hippocrates but no original Greek portraits have survived, that is why evidence comes from Roman copies.

A certain fact that no one with know of is that during the beginning of the Peloponnesian War, he took part in the efforts to check the great plague, which devastated Athens. The evidence is not to clear on that subject though. In conclusion, Hippocrates was an important person in history. He had many accomplishments during his life time, that lasted until 380-360 B. C. Some of which were: he was regarded the father of medicine, he was an excellent geometer, and he came across the Hippocratic Oath. But although he was very genius, some said he was “stupid and lacking in sense. “

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