People in ancient Greece had a major influence on how we live today in many ways, including in the areas of science, math, philosophy, astronomy, literature, theater, and medicine. The Greeks are known for the questions they asked about science and their ability to apply logic to find answers. Hippocrates was a Greek doctor who lived during ancient times, and he had a major influence on the development of medicine. He wrote many arguments and reports about diseases, and his recommended treatments have formed the foundation of medical practices today.
Math, Science, and Medicine
The ancient Greeks placed a strong emphasis on numbers because they thought that specific numbers had meanings. Alcmaeon was a scientific philosopher who connected illnesses with people’s lifestyle, nutrition, and even the environment. Greek people had enough money to give them the freedom to enjoy entertainment, culture, and impressive architecture in their buildings. Greeks were also very interested in the sciences and mathematics, and they wanted to understand these concepts. As philosophers considered matter and elements, Greek doctors began to delve into the possibility that medicine and religion were not intricately connected, as the Egyptians believed they were. Instead of focusing on repelling evil spirits to heal the sick, doctors began looking at physical cures to help their patients.
- Medicine in Ancient Greece: People in ancient Greece valued their health, and ideas about health had previously been largely based on religion and superstitions.
- History of Ancient Greek Medicine (PDF): The cult of Asclepius provided medical care in ancient Greece, devising treatments based on older theories.
- Ancient Greek Medicine: Medical practices looked at mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical reasons behind either health or lack of it.
- Health Care Practices in Ancient Greece: The Hippocratic Ideal: Hippocrates and Asclepius had natural approaches to medical practices that focused on the importance of harmony between people and their surrounding environment.
- Seven Unusual Ancient Medical Techniques: One medical practice in ancient Greece was called bloodletting, which involved draining blood if a doctor thought a patient had too much.
- What Is Ancient Greek Medicine? Greek physicians were the first to consider that illnesses had natural causes.
- Ancient Greek Medicine: Initially, the Greeks thought that illnesses were religious punishments. Eventually, Greek doctors looked for natural causes instead of spiritual causes.
- Ancient Greek Medicine: Asclepius to Hippocrates: Because people tended to die young in ancient Greece, doctors worked hard to figure out why people got sick and how to heal them.
- Medical Politics in Ancient Greece: Separating medicine and religion was an important step for Greek doctors, and this gave them the ability to explore scientific reasons for illness.
Ancient Greek doctors performed some surgical procedures on patients. A doctor might set a broken bone, amputate an arm or a leg, drain fluid from the lungs, or perform a procedure known as bloodletting. Bloodletting involved the draining of blood from a patient; doctors thought that having too much blood contributed to illness. Ancient surgeries were often performed as a result of war as doctors tried to save the lives of those involved in battles.
- History of Surgery: Greek surgeons performed surgeries such as bloodletting, amputations, and draining lungs of fluid.
- Chirurgia (Surgery): Surgery was rudimentary in ancient Greece because they did not have a full understanding of anatomy.
- Hippocrates and Greek Medicine: Learn more about Greek doctors and their practices, including the most famous Greek doctor, Hippocrates.
- Surgery: A Violent Profession: Without effective anesthesia, surgery in ancient Greece was very painful for patients.
- Surgery: Ancient Surgeons: In Greece and Rome, doctors turned to surgery as a last resort to assist patients.
- Military Medicine in Ancient Greece: Greek doctors used herbs to help treat pain and to stop bleeding.
- The Cataract Operation in Ancient Greece (PDF): Greek doctors are known to have performed cataract operations in the third century B.C.
- Advanced Ancient Knowledge: Brain Surgery 2,500 Years Ago: Evidence shows that Greek doctors performed skillful brain surgery.
- Signs of Brain Surgery Found in Ancient Greek Skull: Archaeologists have found the remains of patients who obviously had brain surgery performed on them by ancient Greek doctors.
- Surgery Before Common Era (PDF): Battlefield injuries in ancient Greece likely led to the development of surgical procedures to treat patients.
Hippocrates was a Greek doctor who made many contributions to medicine. He founded the first school of medicine, which was the first place where medicine was separated from philosophy and religion. Instead of believing that illness happened as a punishment from the gods, Hippocrates suggested that people got sick because of how or where they lived. Although Hippocrates did not understand a lot about anatomy and physiology, he believed in the importance of careful attention and technique as doctors treated their patients.
- Life and Works of Hippocrates: Hippocrates was born in 460 B.C., and he was a doctor during the classical period in Greece.
- Hippocrates Biography: Hippocrates learned about medicine from his father and from another doctor named Herodicos.
- Hippocrates the Physician: Hippocrates was a pioneer who separated medicine from religious superstitions, making medicine a science.
- Hippocrates of Kos, the Father of Clinical Medicine, and Asclepiades of Bithynia, the Father of Molecular Medicine: Hippocrates’ clinical observations were founded on the Pythagorean theory that states that nature consists of water, earth, wind, and fire.
- Hippocrates: Τhe Father of Medicine: Hippocrates treated the body as a whole instead of as separate parts, also believing in the importance of a good diet and rest.
- Hippocrates on the Infection of the Lower Respiratory Tract Among the General Population in Ancient Greece: Doctors did not understand viruses in ancient Greece, so this limited their ability to treat respiratory illnesses.
- Hippocrates’ Role in the Shift From Irrational to Rational Medicine in Ancient Greece: Applying logic to the practice of medicine, Hippocrates looked for natural reasons for his patients’ illnesses.
- Hippocrates: Timeless Still: Extensive education and training wasn’t necessary for doctors in ancient Greece if someone was born into a family of doctors.
- History of Hippocrates: Hippocrates wrote the Hippocratic collection, which summed up his studies and beliefs about medicine.