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The Invention of Medicine: From Homer to Hippocrates

Tekijä: Robin Lane Fox

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762355,466 (3.67)1
"Medical thinking and observation were radically changed by the ancient Greeks, one of their great legacies to the world. In the fifth century BCE, a Greek doctor put forward his clinical observations of individual men, women, and children in a collection of case histories known as the Epidemics. Among his working principles was the famous maxim "Do no harm." In The Invention of Medicine, acclaimed historian Robin Lane Fox puts these remarkable works in a wider context and upends our understanding of medical history by establishing that they were written much earlier than previously thought. Lane Fox endorses the ancient Greeks' view that their texts' author, not named, was none other than the father of medicine, the great Hippocrates himself. Lane Fox's argument changes our sense of the development of scientific and rational thinking in Western culture, and he explores the consequences for Greek artists, dramatists and the first writers of history. Hippocrates emerges as a key figure in the crucial change from an archaic to a classical world."--Amazon.… (lisätietoja)
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näyttää 2/2
The Hippocratic literary corpus comprises many volumes that modern analysis shows, like other ancient texts, were written over many years and by different authors. The name Hippocrates does not appear anywhere in these writings, but over the centuries they have been attributed to a great physician with that name. Robin Lane Fox’s fascinating investigation of Epidemics volumes 1 and 3 from this corpus reveals evidence that they were written by a single revolutionary physician presenting 42 case studies from a few years spent on the north Agean island of Thasos about 470 BCE. He proposes that the author was Hippocrates himself.

RLF discusses the cases in detail extracting from them and from his formidable knowledge of the ancient world multiple clues to support his theory. The cases include the first description of a patient with melancholia; no treatments are described; the word diagnosis is not used (RLF reminds us of the importance of prognosis in the ancient world [has this changed?]); the great principle ‘first do no harm’ is mentioned; and the gods are not mentioned.

Along the way there are many interesting big and small facts including a discussion of the Oath of Hippocrates and a discussion of modern attempts to retrospectively diagnose these patients. Diseases whose identities seem likely include cirrhosis or hepatoma, malaria, mumps, tuberculosis, and possible puerperal fever. Others that are more speculative are Weil’s disease, Behcet’s syndrome, diptheria, erysipelas, typhus, and typhoid fever.

Lastly, I was pleased to hear that one of the later texts advises that a doctor should be of good color with a nice fleshiness.
( )
  markm2315 | Jul 1, 2023 |
I felt mislead by the reviews I used to pick up this book. I was hoping for a noverview of the history of the ideas in bronze age medicine. Instead the book covers how the information we have about this time has been deduced from a variety of writings and artifacts. What it does it does well and is very readable. It was interesting to me to see how little primary source material on Hippocrates and his teachings are available, and how the small threads are stitched together by historians. ( )
  SteveGuth | Jan 14, 2022 |
näyttää 2/2
Ancient medicine has got a good deal of traction with the scholarly community in the last decades, as it continues to offer a wonderfully challenging field of study with an extraordinary range and volume of source material. The Invention of Medicine, longlisted for the 2021 Runciman Award, is a most welcome contribution to this ever-growing field by one of today’s most eminent voices in ancient history. In his latest book, Robin Lane Fox, probably best known for his work on Alexander the Great and Augustine, offers a refreshing and at points ground-breaking revision of the beginnings of ancient Greek medicine.
 
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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"Medical thinking and observation were radically changed by the ancient Greeks, one of their great legacies to the world. In the fifth century BCE, a Greek doctor put forward his clinical observations of individual men, women, and children in a collection of case histories known as the Epidemics. Among his working principles was the famous maxim "Do no harm." In The Invention of Medicine, acclaimed historian Robin Lane Fox puts these remarkable works in a wider context and upends our understanding of medical history by establishing that they were written much earlier than previously thought. Lane Fox endorses the ancient Greeks' view that their texts' author, not named, was none other than the father of medicine, the great Hippocrates himself. Lane Fox's argument changes our sense of the development of scientific and rational thinking in Western culture, and he explores the consequences for Greek artists, dramatists and the first writers of history. Hippocrates emerges as a key figure in the crucial change from an archaic to a classical world."--Amazon.

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