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AEGEAN ISLANDS

Kos & the Hippocratic Oath

In a distance 3.5 km northwest of Kos town, at the slopes of a low mount with a view at the coasts of Asia Minor, there is the monumental complex of Asklepio. Sick and disabled people were offloaded and taken to this famous Temple of Healing whose name was renowned in antiquity, The Asklepion of Kos.

 

Like almost every summer, this year at Asklepion took place a re-enactment of the Hippocratic Oath by the Dance, Art and Educational Club "Chorokos" and travelled people back in the ancient times.

 

The Dodecanese Island of Kos is forever associated with its most famous son, the physician and Priest of Asklepius, Hippocrates, known as “The Father of Medicine.” Hippocrates was born around 460 BC on the Island of Kos. He based his medical practice on observations and on the study of the human body and made such an impression on medical history that his name is still associated with medicine today.

 

His medicine is based on observation of clinical signs and rational conclusions, and does not rely on religious or magical beliefs.He believed in the natural healing process of rest, a good diet, fresh air and cleanliness. He noted that there were individual differences in the severity of disease symptoms and that some individuals were better able to cope with their disease and illness than others. Hippocratic medicine was influenced by the Pythagorean theory that Nature was made of four elements (water, earth, wind and fire) in an analogous way, the body consisted of four fluids or 'humors' (black bile, yellow bile, phlegm and blood).

 

Hippocrates traveled throughout Greece practicing his medicine. He founded a medical school on the island of Kos and began teaching his ideas. Even though he did most of his work 430 years before the birth of Christ, all newly qualified doctors take what is called the ‘Hippocratic Oath’. It is one of the most widely known of Greek medical texts. In its original form, it requires a new physician to swear, by a number of healing gods and to uphold specific ethical standards.

 

The Hippocratic Oath and mottos still inspire contemporary doctors of medicine. 

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