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Hippocrates, 460–357 B. C.
[Mentioned in Science and Health, pp. 158, 163]
Hippocrates, often referred to as the Father of Medicine, was born on the island of Cos, in the Aegean Sea. On this island and near a medicinal spring stood one of the temples of Aesculapius, to which the sick came to seek the assistance of the god in regaining their health. The practice of medicine was confined to a priestly class, which handed down its observations from father to son. In this temple, Hippocrates had his first instruction in medicine from his father.
In declaring that disease was not inflicted by the gods, Hippocrates freed the practice of medicine from many superstitions and broke up its monopoly by the priests. He gave much attention to regimen and was the first to treat anatomy as a science, thus greatly enlarging the materia medica of his time. Many of the names he gave to diseases still persist.
Hippocrates lived during a period of great intellectual activity in Greece. Pericles, Socrates, Pindar, Plato, and Herodotus were among his contemporaries. In a desire to define the relations which should exist between physicians, and between physician and patient, Hippocrates formulated a code of ethics known as the Hippocratic oath. The following sentence from it gives a clue to his character: "With purity and with holiness I will pass my life and practise my art."
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