Hippocrates

Hippocrates

Overview
Hippocrates of Cos or Hippokrates of Kos (Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

: ; Hippokrátēs; ca. 460 BC – ca. 370 BC) was an ancient Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 physician
Physician
A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...

 of the Age of Pericles
Age of Pericles
Fifth-century Athens refers to the Greek city-state of Athens in the period of roughly 480 BC-404 BC. This was a period of Athenian political hegemony, economic growth and cultural flourishing formerly known as the Golden Age of Athens or The Age of Pericles. The period began in 480 BC when an...

 (Classical Athens), and is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine
History of medicine
All human societies have medical beliefs that provide explanations for birth, death, and disease. Throughout history, illness has been attributed to witchcraft, demons, astral influence, or the will of the gods...

. He is referred to as the father of Western medicine in recognition of his lasting contributions to the field as the founder of the Hippocratic School of medicine. This intellectual school revolutionized medicine in ancient Greece
Medicine in Ancient Greece
The first known Greek medical school opened in Cnidus in 700 BC. Alcmaeon, author of the first anatomical work, worked at this school, and it was here that the practice of observing patients was established. Ancient Greek medicine revolved around the theory of humours...

, establishing it as a discipline distinct from other fields that it had traditionally been associated with (notably theurgy
Theurgy
Theurgy describes the practice of rituals, sometimes seen as magical in nature, performed with the intention of invoking the action or evoking the presence of one or more gods, especially with the goal of uniting with the divine, achieving henosis, and perfecting oneself.- Definitions :*Proclus...

 and philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

), thus establishing medicine as a profession.

However, the achievements of the writers of the Corpus
Hippocratic Corpus
The Hippocratic Corpus , or Hippocratic Collection, is a collection of around 60 early Ancient Greek medical works strongly associated with the physician Hippocrates and his teachings...

, the practitioners of Hippocratic medicine, and the actions of Hippocrates himself are often commingled; thus very little is known about what Hippocrates actually thought, wrote, and did.
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Quotations

Time is that wherein there is opportunity, and opportunity is that wherein there is no great time. Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity. However, knowing this, one must attend to medical practice not primarily to plausible theories, but to experience combined with reason. For a theory is a composite memory of things apprehended with sense perception.

Precepts, Ch. 1, as translated by W. H. S. Jones (1923)

Conclusions which are merely verbal cannot bear fruit, only those do which are based on demonstrated fact. For affirmation and talk are deceptive and treacherous. Wherefore one must hold fast to facts in generalizations also, and occupy oneself with facts persistently, if one is to acquire that ready and infallible habit which we call "the art of medicine."

Precepts, Ch. 2, as translated by W. H. S. Jones (1923)

Everything in excess is opposed to nature.

As quoted in Catholic Morality : Selected Sayings and Some Account of Various Religions (1915) by E Comyns Durnford, p. 90

To do nothing is sometimes a good remedy.

As quoted in A New Dictionary of Quotations on Historical Principles from Ancient and Modern Sources (1942) by H. L. Mencken :s: Aphorisms|Full text online at Wikisource

Sleep and watchfulness, both of them, when immoderate, constitute disease.

7:72
Encyclopedia
Hippocrates of Cos or Hippokrates of Kos (Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

: ; Hippokrátēs; ca. 460 BC – ca. 370 BC) was an ancient Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 physician
Physician
A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...

 of the Age of Pericles
Age of Pericles
Fifth-century Athens refers to the Greek city-state of Athens in the period of roughly 480 BC-404 BC. This was a period of Athenian political hegemony, economic growth and cultural flourishing formerly known as the Golden Age of Athens or The Age of Pericles. The period began in 480 BC when an...

 (Classical Athens), and is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine
History of medicine
All human societies have medical beliefs that provide explanations for birth, death, and disease. Throughout history, illness has been attributed to witchcraft, demons, astral influence, or the will of the gods...

. He is referred to as the father of Western medicine in recognition of his lasting contributions to the field as the founder of the Hippocratic School of medicine. This intellectual school revolutionized medicine in ancient Greece
Medicine in Ancient Greece
The first known Greek medical school opened in Cnidus in 700 BC. Alcmaeon, author of the first anatomical work, worked at this school, and it was here that the practice of observing patients was established. Ancient Greek medicine revolved around the theory of humours...

, establishing it as a discipline distinct from other fields that it had traditionally been associated with (notably theurgy
Theurgy
Theurgy describes the practice of rituals, sometimes seen as magical in nature, performed with the intention of invoking the action or evoking the presence of one or more gods, especially with the goal of uniting with the divine, achieving henosis, and perfecting oneself.- Definitions :*Proclus...

 and philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

), thus establishing medicine as a profession.

However, the achievements of the writers of the Corpus
Hippocratic Corpus
The Hippocratic Corpus , or Hippocratic Collection, is a collection of around 60 early Ancient Greek medical works strongly associated with the physician Hippocrates and his teachings...

, the practitioners of Hippocratic medicine, and the actions of Hippocrates himself are often commingled; thus very little is known about what Hippocrates actually thought, wrote, and did. There are also claims that point to Imhotep
Imhotep
Imhotep , fl. 27th century BC was an Egyptian polymath, who served under the Third Dynasty king Djoser as chancellor to the pharaoh and high priest of the sun god Ra at Heliopolis...

 of ancient Egypt as history's first physician. Nevertheless, Hippocrates is commonly portrayed as the paragon of the ancient physician. In particular, he is credited with greatly advancing the systematic study of clinical medicine
Clinical Medicine
Clinical Medicine is a peer-reviewed medical journal published bimonthly by the Royal College of Physicians. It was established in 1966 as the Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London. It was doubly named between 1998 and 2000, and since 2001 it has appeared as Clinical Medicine. Its...

, summing up the medical knowledge of previous schools, and prescribing practices for physicians through the Hippocratic Corpus and other works.

Biography


Historians agree that Hippocrates was born around the year 460 BC on the Greek
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 island of Kos
Kos
Kos or Cos is a Greek island in the south Sporades group of the Dodecanese, next to the Gulf of Gökova/Cos. It measures by , and is from the coast of Bodrum, Turkey and the ancient region of Caria. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within the Kos peripheral unit, which is...

 (Cos), and became a famous ambassador for medicine against the strong opposing infrastructure of Greece. For this opposition he endured a twenty year prison sentence where he wrote very well known medical publications such as The Complicated Body, encompassing many of the things we know to be true today. Other biographical information, however, is likely to be untrue (see Legends).

Soranus of Ephesus, a 2nd-century Greek gynecologist, was Hippocrates' first biographer and is the source of most information on Hippocrates' person. Information about Hippocrates can also be found in the writings of Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, which date from the 4th century BC, in the Suda
Suda
The Suda or Souda is a massive 10th century Byzantine encyclopedia of the ancient Mediterranean world, formerly attributed to an author called Suidas. It is an encyclopedic lexicon, written in Greek, with 30,000 entries, many drawing from ancient sources that have since been lost, and often...

of the 10th century AD, and in the works of John Tzetzes
John Tzetzes
John Tzetzes was a Byzantine poet and grammarian, known to have lived at Constantinople during the 12th century.Tzetzes was Georgian on his mother's side...

, which date from the 12th century AD.

Soranus wrote that Hippocrates' father was Heraclides, a physician; his mother was Praxitela, daughter of Tizane. The two sons of Hippocrates, Thessalus
Thessalus (physician)
Thessalus, , a physician from ancient Greece, and the son of Hippocrates, the famous physician and Trichologist. He was the brother of Draco, and father of Gorgias, Hippocrates III, and Draco II. He lived in the 5th and 4th centuries BC and passed some of his time at the court of Archelaus I of...

 and Draco
Draco (physician)
Draco was the name of several physicians in the family of Hippocrates.*Draco I. Lived 5th to 4th centuries BC, was the son of Hippocrates, the famous physician . He was the brother of Thessalus. Galen tells us that some of the writings of Hippocrates was attributed to his son Draco.*Draco II...

, and his son-in-law, Polybus, were his students. According to Galen
Galen
Aelius Galenus or Claudius Galenus , better known as Galen of Pergamon , was a prominent Roman physician, surgeon and philosopher...

, a later physician, Polybus was Hippocrates' true successor, while Thessalus and Draco each had a son named Hippocrates
Hippocrates (physician)
Hippocrates was the name of several physicians in the time of Ancient Greece, some of whom were in the same family as the celebrated Hippocrates of Cos ....

.

Soranus said that Hippocrates learned medicine from his father and grandfather, and studied other subjects with Democritus
Democritus
Democritus was an Ancient Greek philosopher born in Abdera, Thrace, Greece. He was an influential pre-Socratic philosopher and pupil of Leucippus, who formulated an atomic theory for the cosmos....

 and Gorgias
Gorgias
Gorgias ,Greek sophist, pre-socratic philosopher and rhetorician, was a native of Leontini in Sicily. Along with Protagoras, he forms the first generation of Sophists. Several doxographers report that he was a pupil of Empedocles, although he would only have been a few years younger...

. Hippocrates was probably trained at the asklepieion
Asclepieion
In ancient Greece and Rome, an asclepeion was a healing temple, sacred to the god Asclepius....

 of Kos
Kos
Kos or Cos is a Greek island in the south Sporades group of the Dodecanese, next to the Gulf of Gökova/Cos. It measures by , and is from the coast of Bodrum, Turkey and the ancient region of Caria. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within the Kos peripheral unit, which is...

, and took lessons from the Thracian
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

 physician Herodicus of Selymbria
Herodicus
Herodicus was a Greek physician of the fifth century BC, and a native of Selymbria. The first use of therapeutic exercise for the treatment of disease and maintenance of health is credited to him, and he is believed to have been one of the tutors of Hippocrates...

. The only contemporaneous mention of Hippocrates is in Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

's dialogue Protagoras
Protagoras (dialogue)
Protagoras is a dialogue of Plato. The traditional subtitle is "or the Sophists, probative". The main argument is between the elderly Protagoras, a celebrated sophist, and Socrates...

, where Plato describes Hippocrates as "Hippocrates of Kos, the Asclepiad
Asclepiad (Greek)
It is uncertain as to who an Asclepiad was. Some theories hold that they were priests of an Asclepion in ancient Greece. The Asclepiadae could also have been a guild in honour of Asclepius, the Greek god of healing, separate from the healing temples and closely related to Hippocratic tradition...

." Hippocrates taught and practiced medicine throughout his life, traveling at least as far as Thessaly
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

, Thrace
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

, and the Sea of Marmara
Sea of Marmara
The Sea of Marmara , also known as the Sea of Marmora or the Marmara Sea, and in the context of classical antiquity as the Propontis , is the inland sea that connects the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea, thus separating Turkey's Asian and European parts. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Black...

. He probably died in Larissa
Larissa
Larissa is the capital and biggest city of the Thessaly region of Greece and capital of the Larissa regional unit. It is a principal agricultural centre and a national transportation hub, linked by road and rail with the port of Volos, the city of Thessaloniki and Athens...

 at the age of 83 or 90, though some accounts say he lived to be well over 100; several different accounts of his death exist.

Hippocratic theory



Hippocrates is credited with being the first person to believe that diseases were caused naturally and not as a result of superstition, and gods. Hippocrates was credited by the disciples of Pythagoras
Pythagoras
Pythagoras of Samos was an Ionian Greek philosopher, mathematician, and founder of the religious movement called Pythagoreanism. Most of the information about Pythagoras was written down centuries after he lived, so very little reliable information is known about him...

 of allying philosophy and medicine. He separated the discipline of medicine from religion, believing and arguing that disease was not a punishment inflicted by the gods but rather the product of environmental factors, diet, and living habits. Indeed there is not a single mention of a mystical illness in the entirety of the Hippocratic Corpus. However, Hippocrates did work with many convictions that were based on what is now known to be incorrect anatomy
Anatomy
Anatomy is a branch of biology and medicine that is the consideration of the structure of living things. It is a general term that includes human anatomy, animal anatomy , and plant anatomy...

 and physiology
Physiology
Physiology is the science of the function of living systems. This includes how organisms, organ systems, organs, cells, and bio-molecules carry out the chemical or physical functions that exist in a living system. The highest honor awarded in physiology is the Nobel Prize in Physiology or...

, such as Humorism
Humorism
Humorism, or humoralism, is a now discredited theory of the makeup and workings of the human body, adopted by Greek and Roman physicians and philosophers, positing that an excess or deficiency of any of four distinct bodily fluids in a person directly influences their temperament and health...

.

Ancient Greek schools of medicine were split (into the Knidian and Koan) on how to deal with disease. The Knidian
Knidos
Knidos or Cnidus is an ancient settlement located in Turkey. It was an ancient Greek city of Caria, part of the Dorian Hexapolis. It was situated on the Datça peninsula, which forms the southern side of the Sinus Ceramicus, now known as Gulf of Gökova. By the fourth century BC, Knidos was located...

 school of medicine focused on diagnosis. Medicine at the time of Hippocrates knew almost nothing of human anatomy and physiology because of the Greek taboo
Taboo
A taboo is a strong social prohibition relating to any area of human activity or social custom that is sacred and or forbidden based on moral judgment, religious beliefs and or scientific consensus. Breaking the taboo is usually considered objectionable or abhorrent by society...

 forbidding the dissection of humans. The Knidian school consequently failed to distinguish when one disease caused many possible series of symptoms. The Hippocratic school or Koan
Kos
Kos or Cos is a Greek island in the south Sporades group of the Dodecanese, next to the Gulf of Gökova/Cos. It measures by , and is from the coast of Bodrum, Turkey and the ancient region of Caria. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within the Kos peripheral unit, which is...

 school achieved greater success by applying general diagnoses
Medical diagnosis
Medical diagnosis refers both to the process of attempting to determine or identify a possible disease or disorder , and to the opinion reached by this process...

 and passive treatments. Its focus was on patient care and prognosis
Prognosis
Prognosis is a medical term to describe the likely outcome of an illness.When applied to large statistical populations, prognostic estimates can be very accurate: for example the statement "45% of patients with severe septic shock will die within 28 days" can be made with some confidence, because...

, not diagnosis
Medical diagnosis
Medical diagnosis refers both to the process of attempting to determine or identify a possible disease or disorder , and to the opinion reached by this process...

. It could effectively treat diseases and allowed for a great development in clinical practice.

Hippocratic medicine and its philosophy are far removed from that of modern medicine. Now, the physician focuses on specific diagnosis and specialized treatment, both of which were espoused by the Knidian school. This shift in medical thought since Hippocrates' day has caused serious criticism over the past two millennia, with the passivity of Hippocratic treatment being the subject of particularly strong denunciations; for example, the French
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

 doctor M. S. Houdart called the Hippocratic treatment a "meditation upon death".

Humorism and crisis


Another important concept in Hippocratic medicine was that of a crisis, a point in the progression of disease at which either the illness would begin to triumph and the patient would succumb to death, or the opposite would occur and natural processes would make the patient recover. After a crisis, a relapse might follow, and then another deciding crisis. According to this doctrine, crises tend to occur on critical days, which were supposed to be a fixed time after the contraction of a disease. If a crisis occurred on a day far from a critical day, a relapse might be expected. Galen believed that this idea originated with Hippocrates, though it is possible that it predated him.

Hippocratic medicine was humble and passive. The therapeutic approach was based on "the healing power of nature" ("vis medicatrix naturae
Vis medicatrix naturae
Vis medicatrix naturae is the Latin translation of the Greek, νονσων φνσεις ιητροι, a phrase attributed to Hippocrates but which he did not actually use...

" in Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

). According to this doctrine, the body contains within itself the power to re-balance the four humours and heal itself (physis). Hippocratic therapy focused on simply easing this natural process. To this end, Hippocrates believed "rest and immobilization [were] of capital importance." In general, the Hippocratic medicine was very kind to the patient; treatment was gentle, and emphasized keeping the patient clean and sterile. For example, only clean water or wine were ever used on wounds, though "dry" treatment was preferable. Soothing balm
Balm
Balm can refer to:*Liniment, a topical medical preparation*Melissa , a plant genus, particularly the species commonly known as Lemon balm*Balm of Gilead, a medicinal resin from the North American species Populus candicans...

s were sometimes employed.

Hippocrates was reluctant to administer drugs and engage in specialized treatment that might prove to be wrongly chosen; generalized therapy followed a generalized diagnosis. However, potent drugs were used on certain occasions. This passive approach was very successful in treating relatively simple ailments such as broken bones which required traction
Traction (orthopedics)
In orthopedic medicine, traction refers to the set of mechanisms for straightening broken bones or relieving pressure on the spine and skeletal system.There are two types of traction: skin traction and skeletal traction....

 to stretch the skeletal system and relieve pressure on the injured area. The Hippocratic bench
Hippocratic bench
The Hypocratic bench or scamnum was a device invented by Hippocrates which used tension to aid in setting bones. It is a forerunner of the traction devices used in modern orthopedics, as well as of the rack, an instrument of torture.The patient would lie on a bench, at an adjustable angle, and...

 and other devices were used to this end.

One of the strengths of Hippocratic medicine was its emphasis on prognosis
Prognosis
Prognosis is a medical term to describe the likely outcome of an illness.When applied to large statistical populations, prognostic estimates can be very accurate: for example the statement "45% of patients with severe septic shock will die within 28 days" can be made with some confidence, because...

. At Hippocrates' time, medicinal therapy was quite immature, and often the best thing that physicians could do was to evaluate an illness and predict its likely progression based upon data collected in detailed case histories.

Professionalism


Hippocratic medicine was notable for its strict professionalism, discipline, and rigorous practice. The Hippocratic work On the Physician recommends that physicians always be well-kempt, honest, calm, understanding, and serious. The Hippocratic physician paid careful attention to all aspects of his practice: he followed detailed specifications for, "lighting, personnel, instruments, positioning of the patient, and techniques of bandaging and splinting" in the ancient operating room. He even kept his fingernails to a precise length.

The Hippocratic School gave importance to the clinical doctrines of observation and documentation. These doctrines dictate that physicians record their findings and their medicinal methods in a very clear and objective manner, so that these records may be passed down and employed by other physicians. Hippocrates made careful, regular note of many symptoms including complexion, pulse, fever, pains, movement, and excretions. He is said to have measured a patient's pulse when taking a case history to know if the patient lied. Hippocrates extended clinical observations into family history and environment. "To him medicine owes the art of clinical inspection and observation." For this reason, he may more properly be termed as the "Father of Medicine".

Direct contributions to medicine


Hippocrates and his followers were first to describe many diseases and medical conditions. He is given credit for the first description of clubbing of the fingers, an important diagnostic sign in chronic suppurative lung disease, lung cancer
Lung cancer
Lung cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. If left untreated, this growth can spread beyond the lung in a process called metastasis into nearby tissue and, eventually, into other parts of the body. Most cancers that start in lung, known as primary...

 and cyanotic heart disease
Cyanotic heart defect
A cyanotic heart defect is a group-type of congenital heart defects . The patient appears blue , due to deoxygenated blood bypassing the lungs and entering the systemic circulation...

. For this reason, clubbed fingers are sometimes referred to as "Hippocratic fingers". Hippocrates was also the first physician to describe Hippocratic face
Hippocratic face
The Hippocratic face is the change produced in the face by impending death, or long illness, excessive evacuations, excessive hunger, and the like....

 in Prognosis. Shakespeare famously alludes to this description when writing of Falstaff
Falstaff
Sir John Falstaff is a fictional character who appears in three plays by William Shakespeare. In the two Henry IV plays, he is a companion to Prince Hal, the future King Henry V. A fat, vain, boastful, and cowardly knight, Falstaff leads the apparently wayward Prince Hal into trouble, and is...

's death in Act II, Scene iii. of Henry V
Henry V (play)
Henry V is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to be written in approximately 1599. Its full titles are The Cronicle History of Henry the Fifth and The Life of Henry the Fifth...

.

Hippocrates began to categorize illnesses as acute, chronic
Chronic (medicine)
A chronic disease is a disease or other human health condition that is persistent or long-lasting in nature. The term chronic is usually applied when the course of the disease lasts for more than three months. Common chronic diseases include asthma, cancer, diabetes and HIV/AIDS.In medicine, the...

, endemic
Endemic (epidemiology)
In epidemiology, an infection is said to be endemic in a population when that infection is maintained in the population without the need for external inputs. For example, chickenpox is endemic in the UK, but malaria is not...

 and epidemic
Epidemic
In epidemiology, an epidemic , occurs when new cases of a certain disease, in a given human population, and during a given period, substantially exceed what is expected based on recent experience...

, and use terms such as, "exacerbation, relapse
Relapse
Relapse, in relation to drug misuse, is resuming the use of a drug or a dependent substance after one or more periods of abstinence. The term is a landmark feature of both substance dependence and substance abuse, which are learned behaviors, and is maintained by neuronal adaptations that mediate...

, resolution, crisis, paroxysm, peak, and convalescence
Convalescence
Convalescence is the gradual recovery and of health and strength after illness. It refers to the later stage of an infectious disease or illness when the patient recovers and returns to normal, but may continue to be a source of infection even if feeling better...

." Another of Hippocrates' major contributions may be found in his descriptions of the symptomatology, physical findings, surgical treatment and prognosis of thoracic empyema
Empyema
Pleural empyema is an accumulation of pus in the pleural cavity. Most pleural empyemas arise from an infection within the lung , often associated with parapneumonic effusions. There are three stages: exudative, fibrinopurulent and organizing. In the exudative stage, the pus accumulates...

, i.e. suppuration of the lining of the chest cavity. His teachings remain relevant to present-day students of pulmonary medicine
Pulmonology
In medicine, pulmonology is the specialty that deals with diseases of the respiratory tract and respiratory disease. It is called chest medicine and respiratory medicine in some countries and areas...

 and surgery. Hippocrates was the first documented chest surgeon
Cardiothoracic Surgery
Cardiothoracic surgery is the field of medicine involved in surgical treatment of diseases affecting organs inside the thorax —generally treatment of conditions of the heart and lungs .-Cardiac / Thoracic:...

 and his findings are still valid.

The Hippocratic school of medicine described well the ailments of the human rectum
Rectum
The rectum is the final straight portion of the large intestine in some mammals, and the gut in others, terminating in the anus. The human rectum is about 12 cm long...

 and the treatment thereof, despite the school's poor theory of medicine. Hemorrhoids, for instance, though believed to be caused by an excess of bile and phlegm, were treated by Hippocratic physicians in relatively advanced ways. Cautery and excision
Surgery
Surgery is an ancient medical specialty that uses operative manual and instrumental techniques on a patient to investigate and/or treat a pathological condition such as disease or injury, or to help improve bodily function or appearance.An act of performing surgery may be called a surgical...

 are described in the Hippocratic Corpus, in addition to the preferred methods: ligating
Ligature (medicine)
In surgery or medical procedure, a ligature consists of a piece of thread tied around an anatomical structure, usually a blood vessel or another hollow structure to shut it off. With a blood vessel the surgeon will clamp the vessel perpendicular to the axis of the artery or vein with a hemostat,...

 the hemorrhoids and drying them with a hot iron. Other treatments such as applying various salves are suggested as well. Today, "treatment [for hemorrhoids] still includes burning, strangling, and excising." Also, some of the fundamental concepts of proctoscopy
Proctoscopy
Proctoscopy is a common medical procedure in which an instrument called a proctoscope is used to examine the anal cavity, rectum or sigmoid colon. A proctoscope is a short, straight, rigid, hollow metal tube, and usually has a small light bulb mounted at the end...

 outlined in the Corpus are still in use. For example, the uses of the rectal speculum
Speculum
The term speculum, Latin for "mirror", and its plural specula, may refer to:* Speculum , a medical tool used for examining body cavities* Speculum , a journal of medieval studies published by the Medieval Academy of America...

, a common medical device, are discussed in the Hippocratic Corpus. This constitutes the earliest recorded reference to endoscopy
Endoscopy
Endoscopy means looking inside and typically refers to looking inside the body for medical reasons using an endoscope , an instrument used to examine the interior of a hollow organ or cavity of the body. Unlike most other medical imaging devices, endoscopes are inserted directly into the organ...

.

Hippocratic Corpus



The Hippocratic Corpus (Latin: Corpus Hippocraticum) is a collection of around seventy early medical works from ancient Greece, written in Ionic Greek. The question of whether Hippocrates himself was the author of the corpus has not been conclusively answered, but the volumes were probably produced by his students and followers. Because of the variety of subjects, writing styles and apparent date of construction, scholars believe Hippocratic Corpus could not have been written by one person (Ermerins numbers the authors at nineteen). The corpus was attributed to Hippocrates in antiquity, and its teaching generally followed his principles; thus it came to be known by his name. It might be the remains of a library of Kos, or a collection compiled in the 3rd century BC in Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

.

The Hippocratic Corpus contains textbooks, lectures, research, notes and philosophical essays on various subjects in medicine, in no particular order. These works were written for different audiences, both specialists and laymen, and were sometimes written from opposing view points; significant contradictions can be found between works in the Corpus. Notable among the treatises of the Corpus are The Hippocratic Oath
Hippocratic Oath
The Hippocratic Oath is an oath historically taken by physicians and other healthcare professionals swearing to practice medicine ethically. It is widely believed to have been written by Hippocrates, often regarded as the father of western medicine, or by one of his students. The oath is written in...

; The Book of Prognostics; On Regimen in Acute Diseases; Aphorisms; On Airs, Waters and Places; Instruments of Reduction; On The Sacred Disease; etc.

Hippocratic Oath



The Hippocratic Oath
Hippocratic Oath
The Hippocratic Oath is an oath historically taken by physicians and other healthcare professionals swearing to practice medicine ethically. It is widely believed to have been written by Hippocrates, often regarded as the father of western medicine, or by one of his students. The oath is written in...

, a seminal document on the ethics
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

 of medical practice, was attributed to Hippocrates in antiquity although new information shows it may have been written after his death. This is probably the most famous document of the Hippocratic Corpus. Recently the authenticity of the document's author has come under scrutiny. While the Oath is rarely used in its original form today, it serves as a foundation for other, similar oath
Oath
An oath is either a statement of fact or a promise calling upon something or someone that the oath maker considers sacred, usually God, as a witness to the binding nature of the promise or the truth of the statement of fact. To swear is to take an oath, to make a solemn vow...

s and laws that define good medical practice and morals. Such derivatives are regularly taken today by medical graduates about to enter medical practice.

Legacy


Hippocrates is widely considered to be the "Father of Medicine". His contributions revolutionized the practice of medicine; but after his death the advancement stalled. So revered was Hippocrates that his teachings were largely taken as too great to be improved upon and no significant advancements of his methods were made for a long time. The centuries after Hippocrates' death were marked as much by retrograde movement as by further advancement. For instance, "after the Hippocratic period, the practice of taking clinical case-histories died out," according to Fielding Garrison
Fielding H. Garrison
Colonel Fielding Hudson Garrison, MD was an acclaimed medical historian, bibliographer, and librarian of medicine. Garrison's An Introduction to the History of Medicine is a landmark text in this field....

.

After Hippocrates, the next significant physician was Galen
Galen
Aelius Galenus or Claudius Galenus , better known as Galen of Pergamon , was a prominent Roman physician, surgeon and philosopher...

, a Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 who lived from AD. 129 to AD. 200. Galen perpetuated Hippocratic medicine, moving both forward and backward. In the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

s adopted Hippocratic methods. After the European Renaissance, Hippocratic methods were revived in Europe and even further expanded in the 19th century. Notable among those who employed Hippocrates' rigorous clinical techniques were Sydenham
Thomas Sydenham
Thomas Sydenham was an English physician. He was born at Wynford Eagle in Dorset, where his father was a gentleman of property. His brother was Colonel William Sydenham. Thomas fought for the Parliament throughout the English Civil War, and, at its end, resumed his medical studies at Oxford...

, Heberden
William Heberden
William Heberden , English physician, was born in London, where he received the early part of his education.At the end of 1724 he was sent to St John's College, Cambridge, where he obtained a fellowship, around 1730, became master of arts in 1732, and took the degree of MD in 1739...

, Charcot
Jean-Martin Charcot
Jean-Martin Charcot was a French neurologist and professor of anatomical pathology. He is known as "the founder of modern neurology" and is "associated with at least 15 medical eponyms", including Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis...

 and Osler
William Osler
Sir William Osler, 1st Baronet was a physician. He was one of the "Big Four" founding professors at Johns Hopkins Hospital as the first Professor of Medicine and founder of the Medical Service there. Sir William Osler, 1st Baronet (July 12, 1849 – December 29, 1919) was a physician. He was...

. Henri Huchard
Henri Huchard
Henri Huchard was a French neurologist and cardiologist born in Auxon, Aube.He studied medicine at the University of Paris, later being appointed médecin des hôpitaux. During his career he was associated with the Bichat and Necker hospitals in Paris...

, a French physician, said that these revivals make up "the whole history of internal medicine."

The most severe form of hair loss and baldness is called the Hippocratic form.

Image


According to Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

's testimony, Hippocrates was known as "The Great Hippocrates". Concerning his disposition, Hippocrates was first portrayed as a "kind, dignified, old country doctor'" and later as "stern and forbidding". He is certainly considered wise, of very great intellect and especially as very practical. Francis Adams
Francis Adams (translator)
Francis Adams was a Scottish medical doctor and translator of Greek medical works.Adams had a practice in Banchory, Aberdeenshire, from 1819 to 1861...

 describes him as "strictly the physician of experience and common sense."

His image as the wise, old doctor is reinforced by busts of him, which wear large beards on a wrinkled face. Many physicians of the time wore their hair in the style of Jove
Jupiter (mythology)
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Jupiter or Jove is the king of the gods, and the god of the sky and thunder. He is the equivalent of Zeus in the Greek pantheon....

 and Asklepius. Accordingly, the busts of Hippocrates that we have could be only altered versions of portraits of these deities. Hippocrates and the beliefs that he embodied are considered medical ideals. Fielding Garrison, an authority on medical history, stated, "He is, above all, the exemplar of that flexible, critical, well-poised attitude of mind, ever on the lookout for sources of error, which is the very essence of the scientific spirit." "His figure... stands for all time as that of the ideal physician,” according to A Short History of Medicine, inspiring the medical profession since his death.

Legends


Most stories of Hippocrates' life are inconsistent with historical evidence and similar to stories told of other figures (such as Avicenna
Avicenna
Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Sīnā , commonly known as Ibn Sīnā or by his Latinized name Avicenna, was a Persian polymath, who wrote almost 450 treatises on a wide range of subjects, of which around 240 have survived...

 and Socrates
Socrates
Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary ...

), suggesting a legendary origin. Even during his life, Hippocrates' renown was great, and stories of miraculous cures arose. For example, Hippocrates was supposed to have aided in the healing of Athenians during the Plague of Athens
Plague of Athens
The Plague of Athens was a devastating epidemic which hit the city-state of Athens in ancient Greece during the second year of the Peloponnesian War , when an Athenian victory still seemed within reach. It is believed to have entered Athens through Piraeus, the city's port and sole source of food...

 by lighting great fires as "disinfectants" and engaging in other treatments. There is a story of Hippocrates curing Perdiccas
Perdiccas II of Macedon
Perdiccas II was a king of Macedonia from about 454 BC to about 413 BC. He was the son of Alexander I and had two brothers.-Background:After the death of Alexander in 452, Macedon began to fall apart. Macedonian tribes became almost completely autonomous, and were only loosely allied to the king...

, a Macedon
Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

ian king, of "love sickness
Love sickness
Being lovestruck is a non-medical term used to describe mental and physical symptoms associated with falling in love: 'love-struck. It means to be hit by love...you are hit in your heart by the emotion of love'....

". Neither of these accounts is corroborated by any historians and it seems unlikely that they ever occurred.

Another legend is that Hippocrates rejected a formal request to visit the court of Artaxerxes
Artaxerxes
Artaxerxes may refer to:The throne name of several Achaemenid rulers of the 1st Persian Empire:* Artaxerxes I of Persia, Artaxerxes I Longimanus, r. 465–424 BC, son and successor of Xerxes I...

, the King of Persia. Though ancient sources accept this as fact, some modern scholars doubt it. Another tale states that Democritus
Democritus
Democritus was an Ancient Greek philosopher born in Abdera, Thrace, Greece. He was an influential pre-Socratic philosopher and pupil of Leucippus, who formulated an atomic theory for the cosmos....

, supposed to be mad because he laughed at everything, was sent to Hippocrates to be cured. Hippocrates diagnosed him as merely having a happy disposition. Democritus has since been called "the laughing philosopher".

Not all stories of Hippocrates portrayed him in a positive manner. In one legend, Hippocrates is said to have fled after setting fire to a healing temple
Healing temple
Sleep temples are regarded by some as an early instance of hypnosis over 4000 years ago, under the influence of Imhotep. Imhotep served as Chancellor, and High Priest of the sun god Ra at Heliopolis...

 in Greece. Soranus of Ephesus, the source of this story, names the temple as the one of Knidos
Knidos
Knidos or Cnidus is an ancient settlement located in Turkey. It was an ancient Greek city of Caria, part of the Dorian Hexapolis. It was situated on the Datça peninsula, which forms the southern side of the Sinus Ceramicus, now known as Gulf of Gökova. By the fourth century BC, Knidos was located...

. However, centuries later, the Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 Greek grammarian John Tzetzes
John Tzetzes
John Tzetzes was a Byzantine poet and grammarian, known to have lived at Constantinople during the 12th century.Tzetzes was Georgian on his mother's side...

 wrote that Hippocrates burned down his own temple, the Temple of Cos, and speculated that he did it to maintain a monopoly
Monopoly
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

 of medical knowledge. This claim directly conflicts with the traditional account of Hippocrates' personality. Other legends tell of his resurrection
Resurrection
Resurrection refers to the literal coming back to life of the biologically dead. It is used both with respect to particular individuals or the belief in a General Resurrection of the dead at the end of the world. The General Resurrection is featured prominently in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim...

 of Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

's nephew; this feat was supposedly created by the erection of a statue of Hippocrates and the establishment of a professorship in his honor in Rome.

Genealogy


Hippocrates' legendary genealogy traces his paternal heritage directly to Asklepius and his maternal ancestry to Heracles
Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

. According to Tzetzes's Chiliades
Chiliades
The Chiliades is a work of the 12th century by John Tzetzes, a Byzantine grammarian.The Chiliades is based upon a collection of Letters , which has been called an index to the larger work, itself described as a versified commentary on the letters...

, the ahnentafel
Ahnentafel
An ahnentafel or ahnenreihe is a genealogical numbering system for listing a person's direct ancestors in a fixed sequence of ascent...

 of Hippocrates II is:

1. Hippocrates II. “The Father of Medicine”

2. Heraclides

4. Hippocrates I.

8. Gnosidicus

16. Nebrus

32. Sostratus III.

64. Theodorus II.

128. Sostratus, II.

256. Thedorus

512. Cleomyttades

1024. Crisamis

2048. Dardanus

4096. Sostatus

8192. Hippolochus

16384. Podalirius

32768. Asklepius

Namesakes


Some clinical symptoms and signs have been named after Hippocrates as he is believed to be the first person to describe those. Hippocratic face
Hippocratic face
The Hippocratic face is the change produced in the face by impending death, or long illness, excessive evacuations, excessive hunger, and the like....

 is the change produced in the countenance by death, or long sickness, excessive evacuations, excessive hunger, and the like. Clubbing, a deformity of the fingers and fingernails, is also known as Hippocratic fingers. Hippocratic succussion is the internal splashing noise of hydropneumothorax
Hydropneumothorax
Hydropneumothorax implies presence of both air and fluid in the pleural space Hydropneumothorax implies presence of both air and fluid in the pleural space Hydropneumothorax implies presence of both air and fluid in the pleural space ( i.e. between two layers of pleura. An erect chest x-ray will...

 or pyopneumothorax. Hippocratic bench
Hippocratic bench
The Hypocratic bench or scamnum was a device invented by Hippocrates which used tension to aid in setting bones. It is a forerunner of the traction devices used in modern orthopedics, as well as of the rack, an instrument of torture.The patient would lie on a bench, at an adjustable angle, and...

 (a device which uses tension to aid in setting bones) and Hippocratic cap-shaped bandage are two devices named after Hippocrates. Hippocratic Corpus
Hippocratic Corpus
The Hippocratic Corpus , or Hippocratic Collection, is a collection of around 60 early Ancient Greek medical works strongly associated with the physician Hippocrates and his teachings...

 and Hippocratic Oath
Hippocratic Oath
The Hippocratic Oath is an oath historically taken by physicians and other healthcare professionals swearing to practice medicine ethically. It is widely believed to have been written by Hippocrates, often regarded as the father of western medicine, or by one of his students. The oath is written in...

 are also his namesakes. The drink hypocras
Hypocras
Hippocras , sometimes spelled hipocras or hypocras, is a drink made from wine mixed with sugar and spices, most notably cinnamon, and possibly heated...

 is also believed to be invented by Hippocrates. Risus sardonicus
Risus sardonicus
Risus sardonicus is a highly characteristic, abnormal, sustained spasm of the facial muscles that appears to produce grinning.The name of the condition derives from the appearance of raised eyebrows and an open "grin" - which can appear malevolent to the lay observer - displayed by those suffering...

, a sustained spasming of the face muscles may also be termed the Hippocratic Smile.

In the modern age, a lunar crater has been named Hippocrates
Hippocrates (lunar crater)
Hippocrates is a lunar crater on the far side of the Moon. It is located in the northern region of the lunar surface, to the north of the crater Stebbins. To the southwest of Hippocrates are Kirkwood and the large Sommerfeld....

. The Hippocratic Museum
Hippocratic Museum
The Hippocratic Museum is a museum, on the Greek island of Kos. Its exhibits display the history of the Hippocratic Foundation of Kos, which is dedicated to transmitting knowledge about Hippocrates, as well as founding hospitals and institutes. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates is believed to...

, a museum
Museum
A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, or historical importance and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary. Most large museums are located in major cities...

 on the Greek island of Kos is dedicated to him. In the Harry Potter
Harry Potter
Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...

 series, the main healer
Physician
A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...

 on Arthur Weasley's ward was named Hippocrates Smethwyck. The Hippocrates Project
The Hippocrates Project
The Hippocrates Project is a program of the New York University Medical Center which works with modern technologies to "enhance the learning process"...

 is a program of the New York University
New York University
New York University is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan...

 Medical Center to enhance education through use of technology. Project Hippocrates
Project Hippocrates
Project Hippocrates is an effort of the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science and Shadyside Medical Center, "to develop advanced planning, simulation, and execution technologies for the next generation of computer-assisted surgical robots."...

 (an acronym of "HIgh PerfOrmance Computing for Robot-AssisTEd Surgery") is an effort of the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science
The School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA is a leading private school for computer science established in 1965. It has been consistently ranked among the top computer science programs over the decades. U.S...

 and Shadyside Medical Center, "to develop advanced planning, simulation, and execution technologies for the next generation of computer-assisted surgical robots." Both the Canadian Hippocratic Registry and American Hippocratic Registry are organizations of physicians who uphold the principles of the original Hippocratic Oath as inviolable through changing social times.

Further reading

.
  • Craik, Elizabeth M. (ed., trans., comm.), The Hippocratic Treatise On glands (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2009) (Studies in ancient medicine, 36)....
  • Pliny the Elder
    Pliny the Elder
    Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

    , Natural History: Book XXIX., translated by John Bostock
    John Bostock (physician)
    John Bostock MD FRS was a physician, scientist and geologist from Liverpool. He spent some time at New College at Hackney where he attended Priestley's lectures on chemistry and natural philosophy, before graduating in Medicine at the University of Edinburgh and practising medicine in Liverpool,...

    . See original text in Perseus program.





External links