460 BCE–377 BCE
Historical Period: Ancient Greece
Hippocrates is traditionally regarded as the father of medicine. The famous Hippocratic Oath was inspired by later admirers of Hippocrates and was not, apparently, his own work. Some seventy writings dealing with methods of diagnosis and treatment were attributed to the Greek physician in his own time; of those pieces, sixty survive, forming what is called the “Hippocratic Collection.” Personal information about Hippocrates is lacking, although some has come down to us from contemporary writers, especially in Plato’s Protagoras. Hippocrates’ main contribution to medicine and Western philosophy was to discard supernatural explanations for sickness and suffering, turning instead to the rational application of human intellect to solve medical problems.