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Hippocrates of Cos

Hippocrates of Cos (460-377?): famous Greek physician.

Hippocrates of Cos
Hippocrates of Cos

Hardly anything is known about Hippocrates of Cos, except for the fact that his reputation as the greatest physician of all times had already been firmly established in the fourth century. It is likely that he was born in 460, but the year of his death is a mystery, although 377 has been mentioned.

Not even his own writings can be used to gain knowledge about the man, because the Corpus Hippocraticum was collected in the second century, and contains spurious material.

However, it is certain that Hippocrates made medicine an independent discipline and did much for its professionalisation. One of his principles was that one could not study an illness in isolation, but had to study the patient as a whole. For several diseases, he discovered the cause in a wrong way of life.

The Hippocratic Oath

I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfil according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant:

If I fulfil this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.note

This page was created in 2005; last modified on 10 August 2015.