It is impossible to be certain which, if any, of the works in the Hippocratic corpus were written by Hippocrates himself. His fame was such that many Greek medical writings became attributed to him. What they have in common is not dogma but, rather, constructive debate between one another. They also share a concern with meticulous observation and insistence on physical, not supernatural, causation of illness. The writers were the pioneers of rational medicine; their ideas, dominant for centuries, still reveal to us the ideal of ethical practice, as well as the origins not just of Western medicine but of scientific method. This excellent selection of Hippocrates treatises shows the range of writing and thought. Some are technical works on embryology, surgery or anatomy; others are addressed to a lay audience; all are informed with the spirit of inquiry.
This work is a sampling of the Hippocratic Corpus, a collection of ancient Greek medical works. At the beginning, and interspersed throughout, there are discussions on the philosophy of being a physician. There is a large section about how to treat limb fractures, and the section called The Nature of Man describes the physiological theories of the time. The book ends with a discussion of embryology and a brief anatomical description of the heart.
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Hippocrates (460 BC-377 BC) became known as the founder of medicine and was regarded as the greatest physician of his time. He based his medical practice on observations and on the study of the human body. He founded a medical school on the island of Kos, Greece and began teaching his ideas. He soon developed an Oath of Medical Ethics for physicians to follow; this Oath is taken by physicians today as they begin their medical practice.
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