The greatest physician of antiquity,

Born in Kos in 460 BC.

Hippocrates was the greatest of the ancient Asclepiads (physicians): he introduced the systematic classification of medicine and according to Galen, was the first person to treat sickness in anything resembling a methodical manner. That is why even today he is called the father of medicine.
Many ancient authors, including Eratostenes, Pherecydes, Areius, Histomachus, Andreas and Soranos of Kos, wrote about Hippocrates and his work, and the later biographies of him which have survived - of Soranos of Ephesus, of Soudas or Souidas (in his Lexicon) and of the Byzantine Tzetzia - rely upon this early testimony.

Of his father's side, Hippocrates was an 18th or 19th generation descendant of Asklepios, while on the side of his mother Phaenarete (or Praxithea) he was a 20th generation descendant of Heracles himself.
Apart from medicine, he studied philosophy under Democritus and rhetoric with the sophist Gorgias and the orator Leontius. He studied at the Asklepieion of Kos and that of Ionia, and he had access to the papyri which Heraclitus had dedicated to the Asklepeio of Ephesus. Hippocrates In Miletus, he heard Anaxagoras lecture on matter, while in Samos and in Anaea on the coast of Asia Minor the general and philosopher Melissus told him of the theories of Pythagoras.

This great Koan scientist travelled in Macedonia, Thrace, Scythia, the islands of the Aegean, Smyrna, Athens, Egypt, Lybia, The Peloponnese and Thessaly. In 430, he was in Delos; the Peloponnesian War had just broken out, and Athens had been struck by a terrible epidemic of cholera. Pericles summoned the wise physisian to come to Athens, and he saved the city. The Athenians rewarded him in a number of ways; he was the second non-Athenian (after Heracles) to be admitted to the Eleusinian Mysteries, he was awarded a gold wreath, and they gave him the freedom of the city: he and his descendants were entitled to dine free of charge in the chief magistrates' quarters.

As a man, Hippocrates was modest and little interested in money. Tireless and endlessly enthusiastic, he cured thounsands of people and passed on his knowledge to the young. Only on two occasions did he refuse his services, both of them involving countries hostile to Greece: first the Illyrians and the Paeonians, and later the Persians, asked him to teach medicine in their lands, but he turned down their high fees and rich gifts.

Hippocrates spent the last years of his life in Larisa, where he died at the age of 104 (or 109, according to others) in the same year as Democritus. Soranus of Ephesus tells of seeing Hippocrates' tomb in the 2th century AD, and much later writers, too, claimed to have visited it. Anthimos Gazis, for instance, contended in his Hellenic Library (1807) that "his tomb is extant even today".

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From the book: "Kos, the Island of Hippocrates". TOUBI'S EDITIONS

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Last update: 27-02-2011.