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Greek Medicine &

Hippocrates & A Bit More

By Keelan Hinds
Ancient Greek Medicine
• Medicine was very important to the Ancient Greek. Ancient Greek Culture was such that
a high priority was placed upon healthy lifestyles, this despite Ancient Greece being
much different to the Greece of the modern World.
• Ancient Greece was much different to the Greece of today. In Ancient Times Greece
was a collection of City States. Each of these was independent from the others but
shared a similar culture and religious beliefs. Despite the lack of a coherent government
the Greeks developed a society that matched, if not bettered, that of the Ancient
• Medical practice in Ancient Greece, like Egypt, was based largely upon religious beliefs.
The Cult of Asclepios grew in popularity and was a major provider of medical care. This
cult developed old theories and introduced several treatments not too dissimilar from
modern 'alternative medicines'.
• The Ancient Greeks though made major strides in medical knowledge. The works of
Hippocrates and his followers led to several scientific facts being recorded for the first
time: and perhaps more significantly the work of these philosophers began a tradition of
studying the cause of disease rather than looking solely at the symptoms when
prescribing a cure.
• The legacy of the Ancient Greek world on medical practice has been great. Hippocrates
theory of the Four Humours was, for a long time, the basis upon which to develop
medical reasoning. Likewise the methodology employed by the Greeks has, to a large
extent, been retained and modified to form what we now consider to be conventional
Hippocrates Theory

• Greek physician, often called the founder of medicine. Important

Hippocratic ideas include cleanliness (for patients and physicians),
moderation in eating and drinking, letting nature take its course, and
living where the air is good. He believed that health was the result of
the ‘humours’ of the body being in balance; imbalance caused
disease. These ideas were later adopted by Galen.
• He was born and practised on the island of Kos, where he founded
a medical school. He travelled throughout Greece and Asia Minor,
and died in Larisa, Thessaly. He is known to have discovered
aspirin in willow bark. The Corpus Hippocratic/Hippocratic
Collection, a group of some 70 works, is attributed to him but was
probably not written by him, although the works outline his approach
to medicine. They include Aphorisms and the Hippocratic Oath,
which embodies the essence of medical ethics.
The Hippocratic Oath
• This is basically a oath sworn and taken by doctors saying they will treat patients fairly and
do no take advantage of the medical equipment. The oath is on the lines of this; I swear by
Apollo, the healer, Asclepius, Hygieia, and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, all
the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment, the following Oath and
agreement: To consider dear to me, as my parents, him who taught me this art; to live in
common with him and, if necessary, to share my goods with him; To look upon his children
as my own brothers, to teach them this art. I will prescribe regimens for the good of my
patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone. I will not
give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will
not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion. But I will preserve the purity of my life
and my arts. I will not cut for stone, even for patients in whom the disease is manifest; I will
leave this operation to be performed by practitioners, specialists in this art. In every house
where I come I will enter only for the good of my patients, keeping myself far from all
intentional ill-doing and all seduction and especially from the pleasures of love with women
or with men, be they free or slaves. All that may come to my knowledge in the exercise of
my profession or in daily commerce with men, which ought not to be spread abroad, I will
keep secret and will never reveal. If I keep this oath faithfully, may I enjoy my life and
practice my art, respected by all men and in all times; but if I swerve from it or violate it,
may the reverse be my lot.
The Four Humours
Four humours matched the four seasons;
• Autumn: Black Bile (Sign for Earth) Basically Causes Tiredness
• Spring: Blood (Sing for Air) Basically Causes Nose Bleeds And Headaches
• Winter: Phlegm (Sing for Water) Basically Causes' Sneezes and runny noses
• Summer: Yellow Bile (Sing for Fire) Basically Causes Dizziness, Vomiting and Headaches
To basically stop this from happening you must balance your four humours because, basically
to much of one humour causes the illness, so to stop this you must balance them out by
eating healthy and exercising more, If you don’t do this you have worse consequences of
like getting blood drained out of your body for example if you got to much blood in your
body they will drain blood out your body through a tube ?? Painful !!! and for winter to get
rid of the phlegm you open up the body, so basically you die when your cured, so you may
as well stick to balancing them out rather than getting cut up.