(460-377 B.C.)

Hippocrates, a physician in ancient Greece, is the father of modern medicine. He was born on the Greek island of Kos. His 60 medical expositions were gathered and kept in the library of Alexandria, Egypt.

Modern medical theories formed in the 1800s were based on Hippocrates' principles of medical science. Hippocrates developed his medical theories on rational and scientific principles, believing that diseases only had natural causes, not supernatural ones. He also regarded the human body as an entire organism. Hippocrates treated patients in a holistic manner, meaning treatment with proper diet, fresh air, clean living conditions and habits.

Some medical techniques Hippocrates used were quite liberal for his time. He bored holes into skulls to alleviate pressure from tumors and used tar as a crude antiseptic for wounds. His oath, the Hippocratic Oath, is used today by graduating medical students, affirming the relationship between doctor and patient, and the doctor's duty to humanity.

Hippocrates was responsible for the saying, Life is short, the art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgement difficult, according to Spuumbenda.

Hippocrates was also the name of a tyrant of Gela.

He attained the throne in 498B.C. following the assassination of his brother Cleander. He formed a large army of mercenaries and set about subduing his Greek and Sicel neighbours. His empire stretched in a band from the south to the east coast of Sicily. He was allied with the city of Zancle however in 493B.C. he assisted refugees from Samos in capturing the city. In 492 he defeated the Syracusans in battle at the Helorus River. However he was unable to capture Syracuse itself and he decided to allow Corinth and Corcyra to mediate a peace between them. Hippocrates was killed by Sicels in 491B.C. close to Hybla.

There was also a mathmatician and astronomer named Hippocrates towards the end of the fifth century B.C..

Hippocrates made several advances in the field of geometry and he compiled the first "Elements" of Geometry, which contained several ideas echoed in Euclid's work. Aristotle tells us that he developed a theory of comets.

Hip*poc"ra*tes (?), n.

A famous Greek physician and medical writer, born in Cos, about 460 B. C.

Hippocrates' sleeve, a conical strainer, made by stitching together two adjacent sides of a square piece of cloth, esp. flannel of linen.


© Webster 1913.

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