Why Hippocrates?

220px-Hippocrates_rubensHippocrates, who is looked up to as the “Father of Western Medicine,” was a Greek physician in the Age of Pericles.  He is mentioned in both the writings of Plato and Aristotle. Though much of his individual life has been obscured by the impenetrable veil of history, it is known that he was a traveling physician who established it as a practice and founded the Hippocratic School of Medicine.His name has been immortalized through the Hippocratic oath, which was originally written in the Corpus as a pledge to uphold specific ethical standards in the presence of God, and is still taken by many medical students today.

Hippocrates transformed the medical profession when he taught that diseases were not always inflicted by the gods, but rather were the result of natural causes like diet and environment. The Hippocratic School of Medicine was focused on crisis and prognosis. Crisis referred to the turning point where the illness could either be reversed or would claim the life of the patient. Prognosis is predicting what will happen based on the patient’s current condition. In general, he prescribed natural ways of dealing with illnesses, from adjusting one’s eating habits to simply keeping clean.

The Hippocratic approach to medicine is often characterized as highly patient-centered, and Hippocrates was very precise in his recommendations for patient care. He has disciplined advice for many aspects of medicine, including instructions for the “lighting, personnel, instruments, positioning of the patient, and techniques of bandaging and splinting” of the operation room. The Hippocratic Corpus is the body of literature, most likely written by the students of Hippocrates, that contains these teachings.


The Gryphon Editions consultation has placed Hippocrates on our list of the 100 Most Influential People in the history of the world because he revolutionized the world of medicine, still influencing the world of Western Medicine today. This ancient physician will have his life story immortalized once again in our leather-bound biography, part of our 100 Most Influential People Library.100importantpeople

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