Hippocrates

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Hippocrates

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
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