Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Hippocrates and Hippocratism

Born: ca. 460, Kos [Greece]
Died: between 375 and 351, Larissa [Greece]
  • Alain TouwaideEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_1098-1


Considered the father of medicine according to the historiography of the Great Figures, Hippocrates practiced medicine in the Aegean area and in northern Greece during the fifth and early fourth century BC. As the descendent of a family of physicians in the island of Kos, he lived a twofold transformation of medicine and the medical profession, from a hereditary to an open profession and from tradition to observation. Although he did not necessarily write any work (or none of his works has been preserved), he has been credited with the writing of over 60 works of different types on a broad range of medical topics that gradually became what is currently known as the Hippocratic Corpus (Jouanna 1999). This collection was transmitted without interruption in Byzantium (though with a differentiated tradition according to the texts), and several treatises were translated into Latin as early as the sixth century AD (Temkin 1932) and into Arabic mostly during the ninth century. The several Hippocratic works were differently transmitted in the Middle Ages, until they were rediscovered during the Renaissance with several printed editions of Latin translations at the end of the fifteenth century, a complete collection in Latin in 1525 and in Greek in 1526 (Temkin 1979). After it was eclipsed by the Corpus Galenicum until the mid-sixteenth century, the Hippocratic Corpus became again a major reference among physicians and in medical schools, being commented on by Herman Boerhaave in Leiden in the eighteenth century (Cantor 2002).

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Primary Literature

  1. The Greek text of the full Hippocratic Collection can be found in the critical edition (with French translation) prepared by the French scholar, historian of medicine, and lexicographer Emile Littré and published under the title Oeuvres complètes d’Hippocrate, 10 vols. Paris: Baillière, 1839–1861. New editions of the Greek text (respectively, with French and English translations) are currently being published in the Collection des universités de France (Paris: Belles Lettres, 15 vols published) and the Loeb Classical Library ( Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press, 10 vols published).Google Scholar

Secondary Literature

  1. Cantor, David, ed. 2002. Reinventing hippocrates (the history of medicine in context). Aldershot/Burlington: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  2. Jouanna, Jacques. 1999. Hippocrates. Baltimore/London: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Kibre, Pearl, and Hippocrates Latinus. 1985. Repertorium of hippocratic writings in the Latin middle ages. New York: Fordham University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Temkin, Owsei. 1932. Geschichte der Hippokratismus in ausgehenden Altertum. Kyklos 4: 1–80.Google Scholar
  5. Temkin, Owsei. 1979. The Hippocratic tradition. Ithaca/London: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for the Preservation of Medical TraditionsWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.The HuntingtonSan MarinoUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Hiro Hirai
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for the History of Philosophy and ScienceRadboud Universiteit NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands