page contents

The Father of Medicine


As many of you would expect, medicine in Ancient Greece was definitely very different compared to what we have today. However, one thing they had in common for medicine was the reliance on logic and knowledge. But did you know that knowledge and logic were not the initial approach for medicine in Ancient Greece? In fact, between 800 BCE and 200 BCE, Greek Medicine shifted towards knowledge and observation; initially, it relied only on mystical beliefs so this was a crucial period for Greek medicine as it took on a much different direction. As such, Greek medicine is significant to history because the change in approach led to an influence on the perceptions regarding illnesses and medical practices which led to differing medical treatment for the Greeks.

As Cartwright puts it, superstition and logic were not totally separated from each other, but "Greek medical practitioners, then, began to take a greater interest in the body itself and to explore the connection between cause and effect, the relation of symptoms to the illness itself and the success or failure of various treatments." If you're curious about how the Greeks go about doing this and focusing more on science then our Instagram page is just the place for you! We'll be posting about Hippocrates who is also known as the Father of Medicine and other significant figures in Greek medicine in relation to scientific medicine; there will also be notable events such as plagues and diseases that took place in Ancient Greece. 



BBC. (2014). Galen (c.130 AD - c.210 AD). Retrieved from

Cartwright, Mark. (2013a). Greek Medicine. Retrieved from

Cartwright, Mark. (2013b). Asclepius. Retrieved from

Cartwright, Mark. (2016). Hippocrates. Retrieved from

Diseases and Epidemics. (n.d.) Retrieved from

Feridun Acar., Sait Naderi., Mustafa Guvencer., Ug˘ur Türe., M. Nuri Arda. (2005). Herophilus of chalcedon: A pioneer in neuroscience. Neurosurgery, 56, 861-867. doi: 10.1227/01.NEU.0000156791.97198.58

Heinrich Von Staden. (1991). The Discovery of the Body: Human Dissection and Its Cultural Contexts in Ancient Greece. The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, 65, 223-241. Retrieved from 

Littman, Robert J. (2009). The plague of Athens: epidemiology and paleopathology. Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine, 76(5), 456-467. doi: 10.1002/msj.20137.

Lloyd, Geoffrey Ernest Richard., Mann, W.N., Chadwick, J. (1983). Hippocratic writings. Harmondsworth: Penguin

North, Michael. (2015). Greek Medicine. Retrieved from

Petrovska, B. B. (2012, 01). Historical review of medicinal plants' usage . Pharmacognosy reviews, 6(11), 1-5.

Pinault, J. R. (1986, 01). How Hippocrates Cured The Plague. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 41(1), 52-75.


Photo Credit 

Albert Anker, Composite portrait of Hippocrates, (2015). CC PD Mark.

Aristolochia Clematitis, (2005). CC BY SA 3.0.

Francofurti, The Hippocratic Oath in Greek and Latin, (1595). CC PD Mark.

Georg Paul Busch, Galenus, (2015). CC PD Mark.

Hippocrates lecturing to his students under the plane tree, (2014). CC BY 4.0.

Linden Magni, Portrait of Hippocrates, (1665). CC BY 4.0.

Marie-Lan Nguyen, Clinic Painter, (2011). CC BY SA 3.0.

Michael F. Mehnert, Statue of Asclepius, (2008). CC BY SA 3.0.

Michiel Sweerts, Plague in an Ancient City, (2013). LACMA.

Raffaello Sanzio, Plato and Aristotle in The School of Athens, (2008). CC PD Mark.

Rswarbrick, Galen Pig Vivisection, (1541). CC PD Mark.

Taber Andrew Bain, Hippocrates Statue and Dooley Hospital Door, (2007). CC BY 2.0

Tilemahos Efthimiadis, Myrtis reconstruction, (2010). CC BY SA 2.0.

Tom Lemmens, The four humours, (2013). CC Zero.