Some of you may not like this, but please, persevere to the end. It will be worth it. I promise.
The Hippocratic Corpus is chock full of weird and wonderful procedures and medicines – some that seem like a good idea (like the many recommendations for vino), some that will make you cringe (no one wants to fumigate their lady parts with foul smelling pastes*) and others that could straight up kill you (I’m looking at you, hellebore).
And then there are those that are just odd. They make you do a double take to make sure you read the passage right. Then look up the meaning of the original Greek to make sure that it’s been translated right.
We need to talk. We need to talk specifically about the spelling of ‘Hippocrates’. And the spelling of ‘hypocrites’. And how these are not the same thing. The former refers to the ancient physician discussed in my last post: bald, beardy and legendary. The latter refers to people who say one thing and do another. This needs to stop.
…as I hear it’s a good place to start. I got the idea for this blog a few years ago while I was still toiling away on my thesis, and in its first incarnation, I pictured its purpose as building connections between ancient medicine and food. Not in a medicine-y way (more on that in an upcoming post) but in a delicious-eats sort of way. Medical History? Good! Food? Good! But the more I thought about it, the more I thought it might be important – and more importantly fun! – to explore the ways that ancient medicine is still making an impact on the world. Don’t worry – there will still be food. Anyway, given the title of this blog (unfortunately Hip-Hip-Hippocrates was already taken), it is only appropriate that the first post is dedicated to introducing the man himself: Hippocrates of Kos (c. 460-370 BC). I’m sure most of you have heard of him and are vaguely aware of his connection to medicine. Lauded as the Father of Western Medicine, Hippocrates and the works attributed him set the basis for about two thousands years of medical practice. He is still famed for his Oath, which outlines the responsibilities of physicians in their practice of medicine. And here’s an image of his handsome mug: