Greek Medicine

Ancient Medicine (Medicine Through Time)

Ancient Greek Medicine...

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  • Created by: Lucy
  • Created on: 27-05-09 21:30


  • Hippocrates was the most famous greek doctor.
  • He wrote a Number of famous medical books advising doctors on how to treat their patients properly.
  • The Hippocratic Collection: His books called the Hippocratic Collection contains books which doctors used for centuries. this collection is important because it is the first detailed list of symptoms and treatments. doctors continued to use the theories of Hippocrates as the basis/to form their own work for hundreds of years.
  • Observing and Recording: Hippocrates showed how important it was to observe and record the symptoms and developments of diseases.
  • Causes of Disease: Hippocrates developed the theory of the 4 humours which dominated medical treatments for many centuries.
  • Natural Treatments: Hippocrates encouraged people to look for natural treatments for illnesses rather than going to the Gods for help.
  • The Hipporatic Oath is still used today it makes it clear that doctors are not magicians. also, that doctors have to keep high standards of treatment, behaviour and work for the benefit of patients rather than to make themselves rich.
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Greek Gods-Asclepius...

The Greeks had many different Gods. They believed that Gods caused events to happen. The Greeks also had a God of healing, called Asclepius.

It is believed that Asclepius:

  • was helped by his daughters, Panacea and Hygeia.
  • would come with his daughters to heal those who went to sleep in the Asclepion at night.

Temples called Asclepeia were built in quiet places from about 600BC.

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The Theory of the Four Humours #1

Greek thinkers believed that the body contained four very important liquids. These were called the 'Four Humours'. They were:

  • Phlegm
  • Blood
  • Yellow Bile
  • Black Bile

People believed that if these four humours stayed in balance, then a person would remain healthy. However, if the humours became unbalanced it could make a person ill.

This Theory was the basis for many Greek treatments. people started to believe that illnesses had natural causes. they claimed that people's belief in magic and the Gods, prevented effective medical treatment. Doctors continued to believe in the theory of the four humours for over 1000 years and so it affected the way people were treated throughout that time.

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The Theory of the Four Humours #2 (Why the greeks

Many Greeks went on to believe in the old ideas about Gods or spirits controlling everything.

However a small number of Greeks were interested in finding a more sort of rational explanation for disease. these people wanted to understand how and why things worked.

Greek thinkers and doctors wanted to undertand what caused disease, through careful observations of people who were ill and through the symptoms that they had.

Many saw that when people were ill, there was usually some sort of liquid coming out of the body, whether it be phlegm from the nose or vomit from the stomach. they decide that these liquids(named the Humours) must be the causes of illnesses. they thought that it must be coming out of the body because there was too much of it. (this is when the Four Humours were considered to be unbalanced).

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