What Is the Significance of the Hippocratic Corpus to the History of Medicine?


Quick Answer

The Hippocratic Corpus is significant to the history of medicine because the writings rejected the superstitions of ancient medicinal practices and laid the foundations for medicine as a scientific study. The Hippocratic Corpus is a collection of Ancient Greek medical works written from 430 B.C. to A.D. 200. The corpus was written by different authors but is named after Hippocrates because his teachings and principles inspired scholars to study the subject in depth.

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Full Answer

The most notable works in the Hippocratic Corpus are the Hippocratic Oath, On the Sacred Disease, The Book of Prognostics and On Ancient Medicine. The Hippocratic Oath states that physicians should treat the sick to the best of one's ability, preserve patient privacy and teach the secrets of medicine to the next generation. Most medical students are required to swear to abide by this oath. The work On the Sacred Disease contains observations of epilepsy in humans and marked a transition from supernatural explanations to observational explanations.

The Book of Prognostics discusses the potential for medical study and research while On Ancient Medicine writes about basing medical practices on principles from natural philosophy. The Hippocratic Corpus was essential in spurring the study and development of medical practice.

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