How were the doctors in ancient Greece?

Medicine is one of the oldest practices in human history, but it was in ancient Greece that healing techniques underwent a fundamental change. Medicine has moved from a set of practices and beliefs based on nature and superstition to rational activity. Thanks to the influence of Hippocrates, doctors began to look for an explanation for the diseases, find a diagnosis and decipher the most appropriate treatment. But how were the doctors in ancient Greece?

How were the doctors in ancient Greece according to Homer?

In ancient Greece, medicine was not refined, much less complex. This is evident in the epic poems of Homer, the Iliad, and the Odyssey medical practices during the archaic period (between the 8th and 5th centuries BC) are mixed with religious rites and superstitions.

To the Greeks, much of the disease had a divine origin, as a form of punishment sent by the gods. Priests, doctors, dealt with such diseases, who celebrated magical rites, invoking some divinity, for therapeutic purposes. They also resort to other medicines such as catharsis, music, dance and astrology.

However, they also believed that diseases were a consequence of nature itself, as was the case with wounds and injuries suffered by soldiers during war and environmental ailments.

In fact, the Iliad mentions those who, according to Homer, were the first two Greek physicians: Polydirius and Macaon, sons of the god of medicine Asclepius. (in Latin Aesculapius). Both are considered noble heroes, as they put into practice their healing and surgical knowledge in the army of King Agamemnon.

Greek physicians and the influence of Hippocrates

From the 5th century BC ° С. medicine, as it was then practiced, began to evolve into a more empirical and rational one as a consequence of the socio-political changes that have taken place in Greece. They consolidate the birth of the polis or the city and create an economy based on trade and handicrafts.

over time, reflection took the place of myths and scientific development began to manifest itself in all fields, including medicine. However, the figure that marks the “scientific” and “technical” stage of Greek medicine with its teachings and writings is that of Hippocrates.

He is credited with the origins of the Hippocratic Corps, a collection of medical texts that collect and review, with a rational perspective, relevant data on diseases and various medical aspects: anatomy, physiology, gynecology, pathology, epidemiology and surgery.

In these treatises the emphasis is on the observation of the sick and their ailments., and more attention is paid to diet and regimen, that is, to what is known as preventive medicine. The idea that diseases are the result of an imbalance between four substances: bile, sputum, blood and water is also presented.

According to Hippocrates, doctors had to look healthy, have “good color” and “be healthy”. In the same way, he had to take care of his clothes and behavior, because for him the doctors had to be as ethical and moral as possible.

There were many doctors who circulated in archaic Greece to treat mainly the diseases of soldiers and powerful people.

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