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Hippocrates was a Greek Physicist and iconic figure in the history of medicine. Find out all about his life, work and medical contributions in this brief biography.

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Famous as
Physicist, Philosopher, White Magic Exponent, Medicine Expert and a School of Thought.
Nationality
Greek
Born on
460 BC
Born in
Kos, Ancient Greece
Died on
370 BC
place of death
Larissa, Ancient Greece
father
Heraclides
mother
Praxitela
children
Thessalus, Draco
Works & Achievements
Physicist, Philosopher, White Magic Exponent, Medicine Expert and a School of Thought.
Hippocrates
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Hippocrates is a radiant name in the history of medicine. The outstanding individual brought a new form into the field of ancient Greek medicine. Hippocrates’ most relevant and historical contribution is the Hippocratic School of medicine. This school changed the traditional means and modes of medicine in Greece. His tremendous achievements and efforts in systematic study of clinical medicine made him a great historical figure. Hippocrates is an exemplary name in the list of ancient physicians. The very commonly known ‘Hippocratic Oath’ has been derived from and credited to the first physician of human history " Hippocrates. Other achievements and noteworthy feats of the great physician include ‘The Hippocratic Corpus’ which is a collection of ancient Greek medical works strongly related and associated with Hippocrates and his teachings. Hippocrates was revered for being the first individual ever to have mixed philosophy with medicine. The gentle, meditative and prognosis ways of medicinal treatments were founded by Hippocrates making him much loved and criticised by common men and individuals of other fields of treatment respectively.

Hippocrates Childhood & Life
There is confusion regarding the dates and works surrounding Hippocrates. There have been very few records (date wise notes and proofs) found on his medicinal works, theories and life. According to most historians Hippocrates was believed to have been born somewhere around 460 BC in Kos or Cos, an island in Greece. Hippocrates’ fame gathered around medicine. He was the father of medicine. Greek politics and governance had opposed Hippocrates’ theories and approaches. For this reason the great physician had spent two decades in state prison. Hippocrates wrote his very famous book of medicine 'The Complicated Body' when he was in prison.

Traces and References of Hippocrates have been found in writings of Aristotle, John Tzetzes and Suda (a Greek encyclopaedia). According top some other biographical writings on Hippocrates it has been found that Hippocrates had a great family of physician and doctors as his ancestors and predecessors.

Hippocrates was probably the first medicine man to have started thinking that diseases are common and natural occurrences and not due to some external forces like superstition or gods. Pythagoras and his disciples had credited Hippocrates for associating philosophy and medicine. Hippocrates stated that disease was created by environmental factors, diet, and living habits. This has been affirmed by the ‘Hippocratic Corpus’ (a collection of several medical works completed in ancient Greek eras having strong association to Hippocrates and his teachings). Plato’s works have mention of Hippocrates.
 
Work
The world and philosophy of Hippocratic medicine was very different from modern medicine. Hippocrates worked mostly in lines of anatomy, humorism and physiology. Hippocrates and his Hippocratic medicine were themed on ‘crisis’. The term crisis was a point of progression of an illness that either had the power to kill a person or a patient could recover from it naturally. Hippocrates is believed to the person to have propounded this theory. Hippocratic medicine stood on therapeutic approach. The theory of crisis was the founding base for Hippocrates and his medicine. Hippocratic therapy followed nature and believed in the healing power inherent in nature. Hippocrates worked on being kind with his medicine while treating a patient. The main foundation stone of Hippocratic medicine was its humble and passive nature. Humorism and Crisis theory of Hippocrates focused on simple easing ways in natural therapeutic process. Hippocratic treatment was believed to be gentle and always aimed at keeping the patients clean and sterile.

The ancient Greek society was completely unaware of anatomical dissection and other bodily detection involved in treatment and medicinal cures. Medicine during Hippocrates’ time had nothing to do with human anatomy and physiology. This was solely because of the existence of Greek taboo forbidding the dissection of humans. It was in the studies of Hippocrates that mankind found the initial stages of general diagnosis and passive form of treatments. Hippocrates’ Koan school of medicine achieved tremendous success in right treatment because of their focus on patient care and prognosis, not diagnosis. Clinical practises became widely known because of Hippocrates. It was possible for Hippocrates (he opposed Greek infrastructure to develop the field of medicine) to introduce passive treatment (as nothing else was possible) as Greek taboo made human dissection forbidden.

Hippocrates never administered drugs. He was completely against this. He was so stuck up with his philosophy in medicine that he never engaged in specialized treatment because of the fear of wrong choice of treatment. Hippocrates belonged to a very ancient age when medicinal therapy was not known or existed in a very immature state.
 
Practice and Contributions
 
Hippocrates mentioned and described several diseases for the first time. Hippocratic medicine is known for its very professional approach. Hippocrates had written in his ‘On the Physician’ that physicians should follow certain norms like honesty, calmness, seriousness, thorough understanding and well-kempt appearances. A Hippocratic physician was always found to follow and maintain right techniques in bandaging, lighting, proper usage of instruments, positioning a patient properly and several other specifications.

Hippocrates mentioned and described clubbing of fingers as a very significant diagnostic sign of chronic suppurative lung disease, lung cancer and cyanotic heart disease. ‘Clubbed Fingers’ are symptoms widely and commonly known as ‘Hippocratic fingers’.

Other diseases described (and successfully treated on prognosis) by Hippocrates are suppuration or formation of pus in the lining of the chest cavity, rectal ailments and Hemorrhoids. The Hippocratic School of medicine treated illnesses by categorizing them as acute, chronic, endemic and epidemic. Hippocrates had used the terms exacerbation, relapse, resolution, crisis, paroxysm, peak, and convalescence to categorize illnesses in his own terms. Hemorrhoids was treated by Hippocratic physicians in advanced ways if treatment.

Although the Hippocratic school was poor in its medicinal fields and theories (due to the backward ancient era) the human rectum ailments and the possible treatments were described by the Hippocratic school.

There are several accounts of treatment methods written in ‘Hippocratic Corpus’. Several methods like Cautery and excision along with ligation have been mentioned in the Corpus. It has been mentioned that ligating the hemorrhoids and drying them with a hot iron treats hemorrhoids successfully. Various forms of balms and ointments have been suggested for treating ailments. The modern day usage of burning, strangling, and excising in treating hemorrhoids was first mentioned in the Hippocratic Corpus associated with Hippocrates. Hippocratic Corpus is an ancient collection of medical works that are believed to have been written by Hippocrates and his followers. The date, authors and bulk volumes cannot be affirmed or credited to any one person. So the general belief has been that all the records and medical writings are directly related with Hippocrates and his ideas and principles.
 
References
Hippocrates and his ideas are referred even today. The ‘Hippocratic Oath’ is a historical practice where doctors take oaths and swear to follow and practice medicinal paths ethically. The Hippocratic Corpus has a mention of rectal speculum which is regarded as the earliest reference to endoscopy. Hippocrates started the introduction and expansion of clinical observations into family history and environmental factors along with pulse reading of patients. These measures have been adopted and are referred even today. Modern day case histories bear fruits of the Hippocratic era. The ancient practice of clinical inspection and observation rampant during Hippocrates’ time has modern day relevance.
 
Death
Hippocrates is believed to have died in 370 BC in Larissa, Greece. Some records state that the Greek physician died at the age of 83 or 90. Some other accounts claim that Hippocrates had lived more than 100 years.

HIPPOCRATES TIMELINE

460 :

Hippocrates was born in Kos, Greece in 460 BC.

370 :

Hippocrates died in Larissa, Greece in 370 BC.

Pictures of Hippocrates

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