Works of Hippocrates and Galen

Easton Press Hippocrates books

The Genuine Works of Hippocrates - Francis Adams

Franklin Library Hippocrates books

The Works of Hippocrates and Galen - Great Books of the Western World - 1979

Hippocrates biography

Hippocrates (c. 460 – c. 370 BCE), revered as the "Father of Western Medicine," was an ancient Greek physician whose life and work significantly influenced the course of medical history. Born around 460 BCE on the island of Kos in the Aegean Sea, he became a pivotal figure in the development of medical practice and ethics. Little is known about Hippocrates' early life, but his contributions to the field of medicine have left an enduring legacy. He received his education in the healing arts, possibly from his father, a physician, and later traveled extensively to gather medical knowledge. Hippocrates lived during the classical Greek period, around the 5th and 4th centuries BCE, a time when ancient Greece was a center of intellectual and cultural development.

Hippocrates is most famous for the Hippocratic Corpus, a collection of medical writings traditionally attributed to him. This compilation of works covers a wide range of medical topics and lays the foundation for the principles of ethical medical practice. The most well-known aspect of the Hippocratic Oath, a solemn pledge taken by physicians, is found in this collection. The oath emphasizes ethical conduct, patient confidentiality, and the commitment to do no harm. Central to Hippocrates' approach was the idea that diseases had natural causes, and their understanding required careful observation and systematic study. He believed in the importance of considering environmental factors, diet, and lifestyle in the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses. This emphasis on empirical observation and rational inquiry represented a significant departure from earlier mystical and supernatural explanations for diseases. Hippocrates advocated for the careful observation of patients and their symptoms. His emphasis on clinical observation and documentation helped shift the practice of medicine from superstition and divine explanations to a more empirical and rational basis.

Hippocrates' influence extended beyond his writings. He established a medical school on the island of Kos, where he imparted his teachings to aspiring physicians. His dedication to the scientific method and the ethical practice of medicine helped shape the foundations of Western medical philosophy. While the exact details of Hippocrates' death remain unknown, his impact on the field of medicine endured through the centuries. His teachings and principles laid the groundwork for the scientific study of diseases, setting the stage for the development of modern medicine. The name "Hippocrates" became synonymous with the ideals of integrity, compassion, and the pursuit of knowledge within the medical profession, and his legacy continues to be celebrated in the annals of medical history.

How to pronounce Hippocrates

The name "Hippocrates" is pronounced as hi-POK-ruh-tees. The emphasis is on the second syllable, "POK," and the final "es" is pronounced like "eez." So, it's hi-POK-ruh-tees.

Hippocratic Oath

Hippocratic Oath is Perhaps the most famous aspect of Hippocrates' legacy is the Hippocratic Oath, a set of ethical guidelines for physicians. Though the authorship is debated, the oath outlines principles of medical ethics, including confidentiality, avoiding harm, and prioritizing the well-being of the patient.

Hippocratic Corpus

This is a collection of around 60 medical texts, written in Ionic Greek, attributed to Hippocrates and his followers. The texts cover various aspects of medicine, including anatomy, pathology, surgery, and medical ethics. While it's unclear how many of these texts were actually written by Hippocrates himself, they represent a foundational body of work in the history of medicine.


Hippocrates emphasized the concept of holism in medicine, treating the patient as a whole rather than focusing solely on individual symptoms. This holistic approach was revolutionary for its time and laid the groundwork for a more systematic and scientific approach to medicine.

Hippocrates and his followers developed the theory of the four humors, suggesting that the balance of bodily fluids (blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile) influenced a person's health. This theory remained influential in Western medicine for centuries. Hippocrates' ideas and teachings had a profound and lasting impact on the development of Western medicine. His emphasis on ethical principles, the importance of observation, and a holistic approach to healthcare have influenced medical practice for over two millennia.

Works of Hippocrates

Hippocrates of Kos, the Father of Western medicine, is credited with advancing the systematic study of clinical medicine, summing up the knowledge of previous schools and prescribing practices for physicians through the Hippocratic Corpus and other works.

It is impossible to be certain which, if any, of the works in the Hippocratic corpus were written by Hippocrates himself (c.430 BC). His fame was such that many Greek medical writings became attributed to him. What they have in common is not dogma but, rather, constructive debate between one another. They also share a concern with meticulous observation and an insistence on physical, not supernatural, causation of illness. The writers were the pioneers of rational medicine; their ideas, dominant for centuries, still reveal to us the ideal of ethical practice, as well as the origins not just of Western medicine but of scientific method.

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