For all you history lovers Kos island is the perfect place, many people have heard about the Hippokratic oath, While the Oath is rarely used in its original form today, it serves as a foundation for other, similar oaths and laws that define good medical practice and morals.
Here on the island you can find Hippocrates tree where it is said that Hippocrates carried out his teaching beneath the old tree. The tree can be found at the entrance to the castle, it can be reached via the fountain on the harbor road (entrance to bar street) or via a path running from the entrance to the police station in Kos town.
Hippocrates is widely considered to be the “Father of Medicine”. His contributions revolutionized the practice of medicine; but after his death the advancement stalled. So revered was Hippocrates that his teachings were largely taken as too great to be improved upon and no significant advancements of his methods were made for a long time. The centuries after Hippocrates’ death were marked as much by retrograde movement as by further advancement.
Most stories of Hippocrates’ life are likely to be untrue because of their inconsistency with historical evidence, and because similar or identical stories are told of other figures such asAvicenna and Socrates, suggesting a legendary origin. Even during his life, Hippocrates’ renown was great, and stories of miraculous cures arose. For example, Hippocrates was supposed to have aided in the healing of Athenians during the Plague of Athens by lighting great fires as “disinfectants” and engaging in other treatments. There is a story of Hippocrates curingPerdiccas, a Macedonian king, of “love sickness”. Neither of these accounts is corroborated by any historians and thus it is unlikely that they ever occurred.
Another legend concerns how Hippocrates rejected a formal request to visit the court of Artaxerxes, the King of Persia. The validity of this is accepted by ancient sources but denied by some modern ones, and is thus under contention. Another tale states that Democrituswas supposed to be mad because he laughed at everything, and so he was sent to Hippocrates to be cured. Hippocrates diagnosed him as merely having a happy disposition. Democritus has since been called “the laughing philosopher”.
Not all stories of Hippocrates portrayed him in a positive manner. In one legend, Hippocrates is said to have fled after setting fire to a healing temple in Greece. Soranus of Ephesus, the source of this story, names the temple as the one of Knidos. However centuries later, the ByzantineGreek grammarian John Tzetzes, writes that Hippocrates burned down his own temple, theTemple of Cos, speculating that he did it to maintain a monopoly of medical knowledge. This account is very much in conflict with traditional estimations of Hippocrates’ personality. Other legends tell of his resurrection of Augustus’s nephew; this feat was supposedly created by the erection of a statue of Hippocrates and the establishment of a professorship in his honor in Rome.
Historians agree that Hippocrates was born around the year 460 BC on the Greekisland of Kos (Cos), and became a famous physician and teacher of medicine. Other biographical information, however, is likely to be untrue (see Legends). Soranus of Ephesus, a 2nd-century Greek gynecologist, was Hippocrates’ first biographer and is the source of most information on Hippocrates’ person. Information about Hippocrates can also be found in the writings of Aristotle, which date from the 4th century BC, in the Suda of the 10th century AD, and in the works of John Tzetzes, which date from the 12th century AD.
Soranus wrote that Hippocrates’ father was Heraclides, a physician; his mother was Praxitela, daughter of Tizane. The two sons of Hippocrates, Thessalus andDraco, and his son-in-law, Polybus, were his students. According to Galen, a later physician, Polybus was Hippocrates’ true successor, while Thessalus and Draco each had a son named Hippocrates.
Soranus said that Hippocrates learned medicine from his father and grandfather, and studied other subjects with Democritus and Gorgias. Hippocrates was probably trained at the asklepieion of Kos, and took lessons from the Thracian physician Herodicus of Selymbria. The only contemporaneous mention of Hippocrates is in Plato’s dialogue Protagoras, where Plato describes Hippocrates as “Hippocrates of Kos, the Asclepiad”. Hippocrates taught and practiced medicine throughout his life, traveling at least as far as Thessaly, Thrace, and the Sea of Marmara. He probably died in Larissa at the age of 83 or 90, though some accounts say he lived to be well over 100; several different accounts of his death exist.
Hippocrates is credited with being the first person to believe that diseases were caused naturally and not as a result of superstition, and Gods. Hippocrates was credited by the disciples of Pythagoras of allying philosophy and medicine. He separated the discipline of medicine from religion, believing and arguing that disease was not a punishment inflicted by the gods but rather the product of environmental factors, diet, and living habits. Indeed there is not a single mention of a mystical illness in the entirety of the Hippocratic Corpus. However, Hippocrates did work with many convictions that were based on what is now known to be incorrect anatomy and physiology, such as Humorism.
Ancient Greek schools of medicine were split (into the Knidian and Koan) on how to deal with disease. The Knidian school of medicine focused on diagnosis. Medicine at the time of Hippocrates knew almost nothing of human anatomy and physiology because of the Greektaboo forbidding the dissection of humans. The Knidian school consequently failed to distinguish when one disease caused many possible series of symptoms. The Hippocratic school or Koan school achieved greater success by applying general diagnoses and passive treatments. Its focus was on patient care and prognosis, not diagnosis. It could effectively treat diseases and allowed for a great development in clinical practice.
Hippocratic medicine and its philosophy are far removed from that of modern medicine. Now, the physician focuses on specific diagnosis and specialized treatment, both of which were espoused by the Knidian school. This shift in medical thought since Hippocrates’ day has caused serious criticism over the past two millennia, with the passivity of Hippocratic treatment being the subject of particularly
Hippocratic medicine was humble and passive. The therapeutic approach was based on “the healing power of nature” (“vis medicatrix naturae” in Latin). According to this doctrine, the body contains within itself the power to re-balance the four humours and heal itself (physis). Hippocratic therapy focused on simply easing this natural process. To this end, Hippocrates believed “rest and immobilization [were] of capital importance”. In general, the Hippocratic medicine was very kind to the patient; treatment was gentle, and emphasized keeping the patient clean and sterile. For example, only clean water or wine were ever used on wounds, though “dry” treatment was preferable. Soothing balms were sometimes employed.
Hippocrates was reluctant to administer drugs and engage in specialized treatment that might prove to be wrongly chosen; generalized therapy followed a generalized diagnosis. However, potent drugs were used on certain occasions. This passive approach was very successful in treating relatively simple ailments such as broken bones which required traction to stretch the skeletal system and relieve pressure on the injured area. The Hippocratic bench and other devices were used to this end.
One of the strengths of Hippocratic medicine was its emphasis on prognosis. At Hippocrates’ time, medicinal therapy was quite immature, and often the best thing that physicians could do was to evaluate an illness and induce its likely progression based upon data collected in detailed case histories.