Let’s start at the beginning…

…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:

Image courtesy of wellcomeimages.org
Image courtesy of wellcomeimages.org

Of course, we don’t know what Hippocrates really looked like, but he’s almost always portrayed as bald and beardy. We also don’t know which of the texts in the Hippocratic Corpus, if any, were actually written by the man himself, and this so-called ‘Hippocratic Question‘ has plagued scholars for a few millennia. If you want to delve more into the life, times and work of this famed ancient physician, I highly recommend Jacques Jouanna’s seminal work entitled, unsurprisingly, Hippocrates, which has been translated into English by M. B. DeBevoise. The BBC’s In Our Time, also has a wonderful episode focusing on Hippocrates and his Oath, which is also available via podcast.


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