Hippocrates of Kos (c. 460–c. 377 BCE) was an ancient Greek physician who established a medical practice based on scientific objectivity and rational examination of the human body. He is considered the founder of medicine in the Western culture.
Not much is known about Hippocrates’s life. He worked as some kind of physician on the island of Kos, where he founded a medical school. The 60 works that form the Hippocratic Corpus, the canon of Hippocratic writings, are his students’ summaries of his work.
Many of the philosophical principles that Hippocrates established are still relevant today, including the concept of the body as an organic whole. For Hippocrates the diagnosis of illness was science, not a religious prognostication, the possession of evil spirits, or disfavor of the gods.
Hippocrates introduced the clichéd platitudes of wellbeing: the significance to fresh air, the right diet, hearty exercise, and adequate sleep. Some of his theories have been rejected as absurd. For example, his theory of the four humors (according to which all illness resulted from the imbalance of yellow bile, black bile, phlegm, and blood) was dismissed before long.
Hippocrates developed the Great Oath of Medical Ethics for physicians to follow. In many countries, physicians pledge a modified version of the Hippocratic Oath as a rite of passage.
Life is short, the art long, opportunity fleeting, experiment treacherous, judgment difficult.