And His Knowledge of Medicine & Surgery.
Hippocrates was the most famous doctor in Greece. He came from the island of Cos and opened his own medical school. He taught many students who grew successful in medicine. He even created an oath called the Hippocratic Oath. He made his students swear the Hippocratic Oath. It said never to hurt, but to heal. Hippocrates and his students could not heal all patients, for many contagious plagues hit Greece around 430 BC. Symptoms consisted of sore eyes, nausea, a fever, raging thirst, and an outbreak of red spots on the body. The medical school did their best to concoct effective cures, though the amount of deaths was countless.
Infection, however, was more manageable in ancient Greece. A combination of mustard and certain herbs helped heal skin and draw out bacteria. And in helpless situations, limbs were amputated. The Greeks dreaded amputations, for unlike today, anesthesia did not exist. Before and even during Hippocrates’s time, bloodletting was mistakenly thought to help get rid of “bad blood”. This was done by cutting skin near an infection and letting the infectious blood leave the body. Surgery was also an option to a desperate patient, though Greeks disapproved of it. Surgery was a last resort. Many sharp tools of metal were used during operations. Some died of excruciating pain, others of shock, and some simply because operations were rarely successful. For these reasons, Hippocrates and his pupils could not cure all.
It was easy to stay healthy in such a place like Greece, even though infections and diseases were hard to avoid. Most Greeks believed that those infections were a curse from the gods, and thought the god of medicine, Asclepius, would heal them. Asclepius may have been a living person around 1200 BC., but nobody knows for sure. Greeks dedicated many beautiful shrines and temples to him and gave offerings when they wanted to be healed. Asclepius wasn’t a major god although he was important. His symbol was a green serpent coiled around a staff. Hippocrates told the Greeks that infections and diseases were of natural causes and had nothing to do with curses from the gods. The Greeks found this hard to believe. But Hippocrates told them a few methods of staying healthy to be less vulnerable of getting sick and potentially live a longer life. The first was to eat a healthy diet; of course this was not hard in Ancient Greece. For, people ate lots of olive oil, fish, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. The second was to exercise regularly though to let the body rest after doing so. The third was to not drink water from big cities. The water from cities such as Athens tended to be dirty and had lots of bacteria in it. So, Hippocrates recommended to drink beer or light wine instead while in cities. A clean environment was also recommended to live a healthy life in Ancient Greece. These acts were a large part of patients’ health. The Ancient Greeks soon found that Hippocrates’s theory was correct: that eating healthy, exercising, not drinking dirty water, and living in a clean place, would make you less vulnerable of getting sick. Therefore, the Greeks greatly looked up to Hippocrates, respected him and his students, and did what he asked. Other than contagious infections and plagues, it was fairly simple to stay healthy in Greece.