Hippocrates was an ancient Greek doctor and he is considered as one of the most prominent personalities in the history of medicine. He is referred to as the father of contemporary medicine, in recognition of his contribution to the field of medical science as the founder of the Hippocratic Medical School. Hippocrates is the founder of rational medicine who managed to release it from the metaphysical elements, preconceptions, prejudices and superstitions of the time. He achieved the harmonious coincidence of anthropocentric science with medical art and philosophical meditation. His pioneering work influenced most of the modern biomedical specialties in the Western world, and he extensively promoted systematic study and clinical medicine, summarizing medical knowledge and prescribing practical advice to doctors through the Hippocratic Collection (Corpus Hippocraticum) and other works.

He was born in Kos in 460 BC and, according to myths of the times, he was a descendant of Asclepius (god of medicine) from his father’s side and Hercules (hero of Greek mythology) from his mother’s side. He was hard-working, he had a great tendency for learning and studied medicine at the famous Asklepion of Kos.

After being trained in medicine, Hippocrates began practicing in Kos as a medical practitioner. Being aware, though, of how immersed in ignorance and superstition other doctors of his time were, he felt obliged to travel to other places in order to complete his education and also spread his theories. Therefore, he made scientific journeys in many regions and his reputation spread rapidly across Greece.

The Hippocratic Oath is the oath taken by doctors and it refers to the ethical practicing of medicine. It is believed that the oath was written by Hippocrates in the 4th century BC or by one of his students and it is included in the Hippocratic collection. Although it is more of historical and moral value, the oath is considered as a “transit ceremony” for those trained to become doctors. The Hippocratic Oath is an “immortal” classic text of one page and is the charter of medical ethics and professional deontology on which were based almost all the relevant global declarations, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Geneva 1948) and the Declaration on the Rights of the Patients (Lisbon 1981).

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