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In ancient Greece the god of medicine and health was  Asclepius. (Check up page: Hippocrates – Asclepius school)

Mercury (Hermes) & merchant approach disapproving Asclepius (Physician) and the naked Graces ( Meditrine Hygeia and Panacea )

According to mythology, Asclepius was the son of Apollo and Coronis, daughter of the king of Thessaly, phlegyas. When the Koronis was pregnant, expecting the child of Apollo, he fell in love and married a mortal, the power load. Apollo enraged by this and ordered his sister, the goddess Artemis, to kill Koronis, did. While the dead body of Coronis burning Apollo took the baby from her womb and gave it to the centaur Chiron to grow.

Chiron taught Asclepius medicine and hunting. Asclepius participated later in the Argonauts with Jason and his sons fought in the Trojan war. The ancient Greeks imagined Asclepius as a strong man with beard sitting on a throne. The sacred animal was the snake and the symbol was a stick.

ASKLIPIOS – Ασκληπιός from: ΑΣΚΕΛΗΣ + ΠΙΟΣ (= haggard +  Humble) is the one who”turns the hard & dry illness into healthy mildness stage “.

In Greek mythology there was the face of Machaon. He was the son of the god Asklepios and Ipionis and patron of doctors. Today, no doctor in Greece does not know! The Machaon participated, in Homer, the Trojan war and took care of the wounded and sick of the Greeks (Achaean).

Asklipios Bellow: Asklipios & Ipioni on Ivory sculpture

The Greeks had the great temple of Asclepius in Epidaurus and many other churches across the country were called “Asclepieia” (in fact hospitals were) the most important of which was the island Kos. These spaces attending patients. There the god priests gave various herbal medicines and recommend the appropriate diet. Patients purified and having offered their gifts to the temples. After undoing in rooms in which the night was coming, supposedly, the god transformed – usually in snake – and healed them. In fact the treatment was done by the priests who were using natural medicines and often did surgeries !!!

At Epidaurus Asklepios was worshiped from the 16th century BC Originally the god worshiped in the temple of Epidaurus. The Asklepieion of Epidaurus had more religious character, unlike the Asklepieion of Kos had more scientific nature. The Temple of Asclepius in Epidaurus had inside the gold and ivory statue of the god was seated on his throne holding a stick. In Asklepion came sick from all over Greece and after the entire known world. Patients initially made a sacrifice to Asclepius father, Apollo, who also was a doctor. Indeed, Apollo and he was considered god of medicine and a skillful surgeon. In the sanctuary of Asclepius were medical instruments such as scalpels, and there were also medical procedures!

In Asklepion of Epidaurus was a place, the “Abaton”, where the patient is asleep. During sleep the insight given to the way in which they should act so as to cure and heal and others. In the 4th century BC the Asklepieion created spa and patients about the benefits to their health spas, as they do today in spas. At the same time in storey building Asklepios at Epidaurus were built two other floors, to accommodate the dozens of patients who flocked from across the country.

The first established medicine was the philosopher (disciple of Pythagoras) Alkmaion (late 6th – early 5th century BC) of Croton, a Greek colony in southern Italy. First he argued that the brain is the center of consciousness and physiological functions. The Alkmaion wrote the first medical book: the “On Nature” (common titles for older philosophers).

The Alkmaion, among others, described the optic nerve and the Eustachian tube in the ear. Also invented surgical instruments and did brain surgery. The Chalkidios featuring Alkmaiona as the father of anatomy, while others describe him as the father of medicine. The writer describes the grandfather of medicine! The Alkmaion established medicine and later Hippocrates of made them a science.

Equally important is the contribution of Empedocles in medicine. Empedocles (494-434 BC) was from Agrigento (Greek colony in Sicily). He dealt with physics, music and medicine. In medicine was the first to speak about the development of the human organism. He said the bodies of man from birth, undergo a process in which progressively developed and refined – as generally all tissues of the human body.

Also important was the contribution of the Diogenis Apoloniates (Apollonia Crete) was a philosopher of the 5th century BC Diogenes lived in Athens as a doctor. Probably went to dissections in corpses, since anatomically describe the circulatory system of man.

In Asklepion Kos before Hippocrates, the great physician, was Aineios (6th-5th century BC).
Hippocrates (460-377 BC) is the father of medicine. He lived on the island Kos. His father was a priest at the Asklepieion of Kos, where patients flocked from all regions of the country. His medical liked so he decided to deal with it. His studies debunking the disease that until then considered as a punishment from God and made a unique issue of Asclepius priests, doctors in training field – scientists.

Aslepius temple in Rome

By Hippocrates the cause of the disease is the very sick and the doctor needs to consider carefully to find it. Hippocrates founded a clinical examination of the patient (overview, percussion, palpation, listening – with ear then) and went on innovative methods of treatment with herbs, herbal teas etc. It was reported elsewhere that this was the first to discover the healing powers of Willow containing acetylsalicylic acid in late 19th century, the German company BAYER manufactured in synthetic form: the known to us all, aspirin! Aspirin is a painkiller, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory and protects against heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease (dementia).

Hippocrates dealt with anatomy. Also invented special surgical instruments and proceeded in difficult surgeries. Such were the opening of the chest (thoracotomy), the trepanation of the skull (for cerebral edema or volume) n. A. The surgical instruments used were scalpels, forceps, endoscopes Exclamation mark, cranial tools for cranial surgery, forceps for childbirth and many other tools. Surgical instruments used by the disinfected before surgery, in fire or old wine (rich in alcohol).

The reputation of Hippocrates was huge and influenced all subsequent philosophers and doctors (medical). Hippocrates wrote his famous oath in which even today swear graduates all of the world’s medical schools. Among other oath says:

“… I recommend to my patients diet that science and the crisis I consider more appropriate and will chase away from them any harm and damaging food. I will never give them poison (see. Today euthanasia), nor give them incorrect advice (vl.simera medical errors and medical malpractice). Nor would prevent women from conceiving (in ancient Greece the family and children was something sacred) and will help them to have an abortion (see. Today unwanted pregnancies and abortions). Above all I would keep my life pure and undefiled my art. In that house will go only offer assistance to the sick and will depart every wrongful act and profane contact. And that listen from now on in the exercise of my medical duties on the common life of the people, if I am not allowed, I clam up and keep it secret, closely guarded … “.

With his last words Hippocrates and introduces the concept of medical confidentiality.

Hippocrates had school in Kos, wrote 59 books. First he talked about acute diseases like saying, kill most patients. He spoke about chronic diseases. Also described many diseases and symptoms such as pleurisy, pneumonia, the “frenitin” (fever with delirium), the lethargy, the “heat” (high fever) etc. Hippocrates gave great importance to the prevention of diseases and know the phrase: “Kallion (better) prevention is despite the cure.”

This was the general belief of the ancient Greeks who followed healthier life: the right diet (standard diet, the ancient Greek) and continuous exercise (from childhood). Moreover, few know that Hippocrates even founded homeopathy, centuries before its founder. This was the German physician Samuel Hahnemann started his experiments in 1813, 183 patients with typhus that had success 99. 95% !!!

Hippocrates founded homeopathy with the famous phrase: “like the like eisin remedies’, the same can be treated with the same. It is not unlikely Hippocrates and other doctors of ancient Greece to using homeopathic medicines, ie potent drugs diluted to such an extent that is not toxic but can cause symptoms similar to the disease and the mechanism to heal.

Generally, the ancient Greeks had developed the medicine that has experienced particular growth in the time of Hippocrates. First, first discovered the immunity acquired by the body after the attack from certain infections. This describes Thucydides saying that the plague in Athens in 430 BC, who got sick and survived any disease.

Also, the ancient Greeks used various therapeutic agents, such as bleeding (it might help to pulmonary edema and in some other diseases such as heart disease and kidney disease), medication herbal, administration of infusions, cauterization wounds, proper diet ( which today usually neglected) any illness, surgery – where necessary, as well as baths. In other words, first the ancient Greeks created the holistic medicine and seeing each patient as an individual, as a unique personality. Not see him as a figure, commodity and customer as modern medicine has enslaved to pharmaceutical companies and physicians are professionals …

The ancient Greeks usually die in old age, if we exclude deaths from wars and epidemics. This can determine the reader with the periods that were born the ancient Greeks died listed in this book. Most listed here, died after 70 !!! Unacceptable ‘surveys’ some (non-Greek) “scholars” of envy have supposedly low average life of the ancient Greeks.

The low average age in Greece applicable since the early to mid 20th century AD (Hunger, constant wars). Generally, the Greeks are characterized by their longevity. The current exceptions are due to the adoption of western lifestyle and especially the western diet causes heart disease and cancer. Besides, toxic and carcinogenic substances are everywhere: in the air, in food, in the water we drink, even in breast milk !!! The natural medicines of ancient Greek containing the substances pharmacology later isolated and proceeded to synthetic production.


In ancient Greece there were many medical schools such as Kos (Hippocrates) and Knidos (Greek colony in Asia Minor. – Opposite Kos). In Knidos was known physician Eudoxus lived in the 4th century BC There were also many Asclepieia was – as discussed above – temples in honor of the god Asklepios. In essence it was infirmaries and were called as the first hospital !!! We mentioned before the Asklepieion of Epidaurus. Other big Asclepieia was Athens, Kos and Pergamon.

Pergamos was a city in the Middle. Asia during the Hellenistic period became the capital of the kingdom of Pergamon. Medical schools in ancient Greece were in Kos by Hippocrates in Cyrene (Greek colony in Libya) and Croton (Greek colony in southern Italy) – from Alkmaiona. However, it is noted that all the ancient Greeks had medical knowledge and even in Athens and in many other cities and young people were taught the lesson of medicine, as part of their schooling! This unfortunately is not the current school …

Philolaus of Croton

Besides Hippocrates, in the middle of the 5th Philolaos century lived in Croton in southern Italy (Greek colony). Philolaos was Pythagorean philosopher and physician. After the destruction of the School of Pythagoreans in Croton, Filolaos fled to Thebes where he taught. When Filolaou diseases should seek the juices of man, ie blood, bile and phlegm. This accepts modern medicine with blood tests, biochemical tests and sputum (infection or macroscopic cancer or tuberculosis). Philolaos said also that excessive hot or cold, and too much food can cause diseases. As regards overeating known scourge of the western world, obesity. About extreme cold causes frostbite and vulnerability to infection, while excessive hot causes heat stroke.


Even Aristotle had medical knowledge. His parents were Asclepiadae and even his father Nicomachus( =Battle winner) was physician to the court of King of Macedonia Amyntas B. From his father, Aristotle taught medicine which broadcast and Alexander the Great student. Alexander seemed particularly useful medicine in his campaign in Asia and even special diets recommended in patients soldiers.

Herophilus the Chalkidonios

Another great physician, was Herophilus of Chalcedon in Bithynia who lived in the 3rd century BC The Herophilus brought the medicine in Alexandria and was the first anatomist. He cuts rather animal and not human. But perhaps eventually made it to the man, as accused for that. Moreover, it is said that the Ptolemies in Egypt allowed the anatomy to criminals bodies. In general, the anatomy in the human body was prohibited until shortly after the years of the Renaissance. The Herophilus distinguished tendons of the vessels, described the nervous system, stood out the motor from the sensory nerves and said that the seat of the mind is the brain. Also studied the liver, duodenum (that gave the name of the related length), prostate, lung, brain (brain correlated to the nervous system), the lymphatic vessels and liver.

The Herophilus distinguished the optic nerve and studied the eye, naming the retina and cornea. Great importance is given to the proper diet and exercise, which accepts the modern cardiology. The Herophilus and invented an instrument for the study of beats, because he realized the diagnostic and clinical worthy !!!

Erasistratus Ceos

At the same time as Herophilus, ie the 3rd century BC, lived and Erasistratus from Kea (island of Cyclades) made in Alexandria anatomy and research on the heart. Erasistratus considered one of the founders of the anatomy. Note that Bithynia (area in northwestern Asia Minor.) Born Herophilus and generally southwestern Asia and Egypt were then Hellenistic kingdoms founded by Alexander the Great ruled that his successors and many Greeks lived there.


After Hippocrates, the greatest physician of antiquity was Claudius Galenos was the founder of experimental physiology and descriptive anatomy. Galenos was a Greek. He was born in 129 or 131 AD Pergamon in Asia Minor. (formerly Hellenistic kingdom passed to the Romans). He was son of Nicias architect. From child Galen frequented the Asklepieion city that the Greeks founded as in other cities in the territory of southwestern Asia. There, patients flocked from around the world. Galenos was attending medical school doctors to practice the medical profession. At age 14 he began philosophy and medicine courses. Note that in ancient medicine was an integral part of philosophy. Teacher was the Satyr, a student of the great anatomist Quintus.

Later, at age 16, Galenos began his medical studies in Pergamum and continued in Smyrna (Greek Ionian colony), Corinth and Alexandria. In Alexandria did anatomy animal. In 161 AD Galenos went to Rome, where he healed the Aristotelian philosopher Eudemus, the moment that no doctor could not cure him. This satisfied both Evdimos set up by Galenos in aristocratic circles and made him famous.

The reputation of Galen came as the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius and Lucius-Regent Oniro made Galenos official doctor of the court! Galenos gave many lectures and wrote several books. He died in 199 or 201 AD Unfortunately, his books – which were kept in the Temple of Peace – destroyed by fire. So they will stay hidden forever many of the innovative drugs and surgeries Galenos.

Galenos believed that good health was the result of a balance of four juices of the body: blood, bile, black bile and phlegm. Any disturbance in this balance or poor mixing juice leads to disease. Anatomy first, centuries before Darwin, discovered the similarity between man and ape !!! So used monkeys from northern Africa to anatomical studies (anatomy in humans above that forbidden). He also did anatomy in pigs.

Galenos studied the anatomy of the uterus, eye diseases and the movement of the chest and lungs during breathing. He described the liver and heart valves! Singled arteries from veins and said that the first releases his pure blood. Until then believed that the arteries circulating air. However, this is not a completely wrong and blood gases – oxygen and carbon dioxide – are transported in the blood dissolved. Mostly, however, found in red blood cells which are bound by and are released into the bloodstream.

Galenos reported that more blood is in the aorta. He said that the blood pumped into the aorta from the left ventricle after being passed through the right. Galenos spoke about muscle movement, breathing, semen, lung cancer, tumors, liver cirrhosis, convulsions and epilepsy (the sacred disease of the ancient Greeks), shivering, the delirium tremens, tuberculosis, stones in the bile and spleen ailments. Also dealt with the diet, he built many surgeries and medications.

Specifically manufactured teas, extracts and preparations, for example, drug plants such as opium, henbane and the bulbs squill. The last used them as cordial, diuretic and expectorant drug! Therapeutically used the poison of vipers! Today various poisons such as beeswax, of snakes and other natural substances (trunk fir, sharks and other substance) scientists searching drugs for cancer therapy. Some of them, in laboratory studies, stabilize or reduce tumor size or prevent irrigation with blood.


It should also mention the name of the Pedaniou Dioscorides who was a Greek physician, botanist and pharmacist of the 1st century AD by Anazargo of Cilicia. He wrote the book “On medical matter” 77 AD.


The Pedanius Dioscorides (40-90 AD) was an important physician, pharmacologist and botanist from Anazarbus of Cilicia, known for his five-volume work “On medical matter”, the most influential in pharmacology until 1600 AD . There are many copies of his work, even in the 5th century. Considered the leading pharmacologist of antiquity, the scientific contribution of which is considered equivalent to that of botany Theophrastus . Manuscripts by Dioscorides treatise, especially the oldest, as the code of the monastery of Great Lavra of Mount Athos, Konstantinoupoulis located in Vienna’s library, Naples and Michigan are of particular interest. In miniature of the 15th century is represented by Sofia shows a plant and a painter to portray who writes it.

Contents [hide]
1 Life
2 Archival material
3 Other works
4 References
4.1 Greek literature
5 References
6 Sources
7 External links
Life [edit | edit source]

Portrait of Dioscorides, Lefnten 1603
He was born around 40 AD the city Anazarbus Cilicia (pt. Northern Turkey) and little information delivered on his youth. Dioscorides was particularly inclined to study plants and herbs from an early age. After finishing medical studies at Tarsus near Supreme Court of Asklipieiadas School served to research the pharmacological properties of many plants, following the Roman army in several Mediterranean countries [5], serving as a doctor and having the responsibility of care for the injured.

His name Pedanius acquirer when it was adopted by the Roman family of Pedanion to acquire Roman citizenship rights.  It was named Pedanius more to be distinguished from the:  poet Dioscorides, and the historian Dioscorides.

He knew the properties of mandrake(μανδραγόρα), the therapeutic value and utility for premedication and sedation [8]. He had also noticed and described the phenomenon of allergic shock from taking drugs [9].

Dioscorides recorded more than 1,000 drugs, the majority of which came from plants. He also described substances that are now known as antiseptic, anti-inflammatory or contraceptives. Copies of the multi-volume work “On medical matter” were in constant circulation and used in practice by the heyday of the Roman Empire.

The first Latin version dates from 1478, a few decades after the invention of printing. The influence of his work spans at least until the Renaissance period and generally estimated tell Dioskourides methods of observation offered a solid foundation for the development of pharmacological science. Apart from its value as a medical textbook, high value is considered the wealth of information that gives the plants and herbs of southeastern Europe.

From Antiquity to the Renaissance, and later with the typography, the “On Ylis Medicine” was writen to all then known languages ​​in the West and in the East, and to the 19th century. He was a model for all medicinal books.

The Arabs called it even Dioscorides “Envoy of God Botanikis” .The most famous and valuable copy that is kept today in the Vienna National Library (Cod 1). Copied by “commandment of residents and guilds of Pera in 512 AD and donated to Julian on amic. Other precious copies are the Code of Naples in 512 AD, several Arab codes, and the famous Turkish codes Topkapı Istanbul.

Certainly, Dioscorides not found himself the properties of all these plants. As pointed out by E. Mpaouman in his book “The Greek Flora ‘knowledge about the healing properties of nature are lost in the mists of time, and the first recording of treatment with herbs owe to Theophrastus. But the feat is that Dioscorides had recognized as therapeutic approximately 500 plants from 6000 found in Greece (8%), while today only 5% of the 600,000 plants that grow worldwide has erefnithei.To “Great Safflower”, one of 70 Centaur growing in Greece and still holds the name “Chiron” or “Blood of Hercules”, reminds us that the Centaur Chiron had affixed this herb on the wound that caused him Hercules. O Dioscorides considers herb valuable drug for the treatment of open wounds.

The “Elenion” is rather the “chiffons Cheironion” Theophrastus, the current Inola heleniom. Its roots contain substances Alantolaktoni, Inulin, etc. and used stimulant, a stimulant, such as for the treatment of respiratory diseases or angina. And today is used in chronic cough or chronic duodenal ulcer. In trade we find the name Hanopect or within the elixir Mellissengeist.I Mandrake root of the plant is already used by Homer as hypnotic and / or as a painkiller. The son of Asclepius Machaon had used on the wound of Philoctetes. In other cases they chewed piece for hypnotic. Dioscorides was getting juice from the root of mandrake was making and diluted mixture for controlled dosage, because high doses could be dangerous. The root of the mandrake contains alkaloids like Hyoscyamine, scopolamine and atropine. Still, there are homeopathic medicines prepared from the root of like Anhaloniom, Claoparest etc. But they have been replaced by purely chemical preparations. Being the first known hypnotic, the Mandrake has been chosen as the emblem of Greek Society of Anesthesiologists.

The atropos, the current Atropa belladonna, is a tall shrub toxic properties of which had described Dioscorides. The weight of an ancient drachma could cause fantasies in a double dose fantasies kept four days, and a quadruple dose cause death. Ten or twelve fruits are fatal. Name Belladona (Bella Donna) mean good woman because few drops of the fruit in the eyes causing dilated pupil, which is considered to embellish old women. Atropine is also used in ophthalmology, and against bradycardia and / or as an antidote to poisoning by insecticides or nerve gas.

Pro Dioskourides, otherwise “soul balm” today neat “balm”, used mainly for the treatment of wounds. As tea is considered today the best antidepressant after inhibitors Serotonin. In Europe and in America is known by the name St. John’s Wort or Johanneskraot, not the sales exceed 1 billion. Dollars a year. In Greece grows outside our door and our grandmothers used it as a pain reliever in babies. The antidepressant activity has xechastei.To juice of kafkalithres, the “Iordylion” gave him, mixed with wine, for certain kidney diseases, not the mallow, the “Malachi,” for bites from poisonous snakes, or used the flowers as Tea as today.

But medicinal plants that have survived until today are infinite, and those numerous history and mythology have connected with some treatment, so it is impossible to fit the brief reference to the contribution of Dioscorides. The influence of his work spans at least until the Renaissance period and generally estimated tell Dioskourides methods of observation offered a solid foundation for the development of pharmacological science. Apart from its value as a medical textbook, high value is considered the wealth of information that gives the plants and herbs of southeastern Europe.

Archive material 

Arabic book for simple medications: On medical matter Dioskourides. Cumin and Dill c. 1334. British Museum
 The homepage of the Vienna Dioscorides, Blackberry Artemisia.
 Dioscorides De Materia Medica Spain 12th 13th century.jpg
 Dioscorides writes seated
 Rare copy (515 AD) from the bird collection from Dioscorides, Vienna, Austrian National Gallery
 On medical matter in Byzantine version of the 15th century

Manuscript (Wiener Dioskurides)


Dioscuri; honor was given the name of a family of monocotyledonous plants (Dioscoreacae)
Other projects [Edit | Code edit]
About poisoning – De Venero
About iovolon- De Venetaris Anibalibus
About peony and what poiein may, Fragmenta 11.2.164 – 11.2.167, Berlin Pyr. 1914
Gunther, R.T., ed. (1933). The Greek Herbal of Dioscorides. Oxford University Press.
Isely, Duane (1994). One hundred and one botanists. Iowa State University Press.
Krebs, Robert E. & Carolyn A. Krebs (2003). Groundbreaking Scientific Experiments, Inventions, and Discoveries of the Ancient World. Greenwood Publishing Group.
Murray, J. (1884). The Academy. Alexander and Shephrard.
Nutton, Vivian (2004). Ancient Medicine. Routledge.
Greek literature [Edit | Code edit]
On medical matter, pub, Georgiadis ISBN 960-316-155-1
About medical material (with translation), ed. Miletus ISBN 960-8033-01-02
On medical matter, five volumes, Cactus versions
On simple medicines (two volumes) ed. Cactus
About poisons and drugs such outpost and treatment etc. ed. Cactus
On medical matter, pub, Zitros, 2006 ISBN 960-8437-61-X
References [change | edit source]
Jump over ↑ TRGunther, The Greek herbal of Dioscorides (1934)
Jump over Dioscorides ↑
Jump over ↑ Encyclopedia Structure, vol. 8os.s 144
Jump over ↑ Introduction, On medical matter, ed. Cactus.
Jump over ↑ J. Mond, Pharm., 2.117 (1958)
Jump over ↑ Dioscorides, the founder of Pharmacology
↑ Jump over Lucian, Timaeus the Athenian 2.9 “under mandrake kathefdeis nor of epiorkounton hears nor adikountas bishop”
Jump over ↑ «on alert and periodynonton (ypervolikos pain) and efon on which House anesthesia intersecting or incinerated poiisai kathefdei agar man ‘
Jump over ↑ «kataferesthai and skotousthai and pnigesthai .. foregone conclusions on the drug.” Dioscorides, On poisons and drugs such outpost and para therapy. 152
Jump over ↑ Huxley (2007), pp. 34
Sources :
E.W. Stieb, Drug Adulterration and its Derectio in the Writings of Theophrastus, Dioscorides and Pliny, 1958
R. Huxley (ed.), The Great Naturalists, Thames & Hudson, London, 2007
Article ef.Kathimerinis
External links [edit | edit source]
Commons logo
The Wikimedia Commons has multimedia on the topic
Dioscorides Pedanius
Translation into German of Materia Medica, 1902


Hippocrates was born in Kos. He came from the family of Asclepius (the primary meaning of the term “Asclepiadae” are those originating from Asclepius, whether doctors or engage in any other activity, according to I.. Tzetzes). Asclepius was lord of Triki in Thessaly, who was famous for his medical knowledge. Homer became a imitheo- therapist. In the end, he exalted into a god doctor.

In the “Symposium” of Plato implied two sons of Aesculapius, the Podalirius and Machaon. Hippocrates is said to belong to Asclepiadae originating from Podalirius. His father was Heraclides and his mother Fainareti. Descendants of Podaleirios were the ones who founded the medical school of Knidos, which might be the oldest medical school of Kos but the latter has gained in reputation because of the birth of Hippocrates.

The first teacher of Hippocrates was his father, after the tradition of Aesculapius wanted transmission of medical knowledge from father to son. Later his teacher was the gymnastis- doctor Irodikos. Also taught philosophy from Democritus and rhetoric of Gorgias the Leontino. After his education he began to practice medicine in his hometown of Kos, where he married and had three children, two sons (Thessalos and Dragon) and a daughter.

After the death of his parents left Kos, wandering across Greece, moreover, were not rare the fact that time someone who practiced the profession of a doctor to leave his place of origin or the place where he trained to continue his career and elsewhere. However there is no precise indication as to when he left the island, maybe that was the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, it seems to coincide and the phase of the edge of his activity. Leaving, then, the island first went to Thessaly and later in Macedonia. He’s also the coast of Asia Minor., Thrace, Athens.

On his departure from Kos, biographers cite various explanations. One of them wants Hippocrates leave the island because they burned the library of Knidos. Another explanation says that Hippocrates burned because he left the Temple of Aesculapius at Kos, after having received the medical content of inscriptions. However, it seems that the most plausible explanation now is that Hippocrates wanted to leave the island to enrich their knowledge and experience with the examination and other regions. Furthermore one of the important ideas of Hippocratic medicine argues that the physical space affects significantly to the health and human disease.

In Thessaly period of his career there were two notable events. A story on King Perdiccas of Macedon in the 2nd, who had been diagnosed with a sexual disease from which cured him. The second event is the help that denied the barbarians and which offered only to the Greeks during an epidemic. More specifically, Artaxerxes the First said he sent envoys to seek the help of Hippocrates to tackle the epidemic which had spread to the army.

Hippocrates was not only refused, despite extremely tempting offers, but asking their envoys on climate conditions and status of the winds in their place, from their replies failed to anticipate the course of the disease in Greece and suggest the appropriate treatment treatment. After a long career that began in Kos, he died in Larissa at an advanced age. It is said that for a long time over his grave there was a swarm of bees honey had healing properties.

The Asklepieion, built on the slopes of a low hill, overgrown with trees and wonderful views of the sea and the coast of Asia Minor, was already in antiquity the most famous monument of Kos.

Hippocrates and the School of Kos

After returning to his homeland, he founded the famous school of Kos. Of course the term “school” at the time, namely the 5th century. We should be understood that a teacher, who was integrated into the broader context of a family tradition centuries, perpetuate this teaching to his sons and to his students.

Hippocrates would come to apotheopoiisei medical and strictly separate the limits of philosophy. When Hippocrates and called Hippocratic doctor ought to reject any kind of superstition, be clean in body and inseparable morality.

Diseases him have reasonable cause and not stem from divine intervention. Thus, the treatment should also be done with reasonable means from direct observation. The disease is considered as a general condition and not localized to any organ. He was the first to speak about the importance and necessity of asepsis and antisepsis. He stressed the need for daily cleaning and hygiene.

He argued that even in the human body are substances which he named blood and mucus, yellow and black bile. On the balance of these substances depends or human health. When there is a balance between these substances then man is healthy, and when the opposite occurs sick physically and psychologically. He believed that even the body resides an animal force, “nature” from which depends the maintenance, development and treatment of the body as resetting the abnormal to normal. Medicines for Hippocratic are aids “nature.”

Hippocrates was not limited to the practical side of medicine, but taught her already. First as stated the family tradition, he reported to his sons. But then, he was the first to broadcast the knowledge of medicine and in people who are not descended from the family of Asclepius. This opening to the season gave him widespread fame in medicine in Kos. With the opening of teaching was the reason be drawn from the large doctor the famous Oath of Medicine.

The oath was only from students who did not belong to the family of Asclepius, before the time that was to start training from the teacher. The decision of the Hippocrates to make affordable medical knowledge and to people outside the narrow bay of the family, due to the very small number of family members who were willing to continue the medical tradition in Kos. For this reason it must be drafted and the Oath. The oath was saved because he has all the attributes of a standard. It is today as in antiquity a type Contract for the ethical practice of medicine.

Ο Όρκος του Ιπποκράτη (The Oath of Hippocrates), in Ancient Greek (Ionian)

Ὄμνυμι Ἀπόλλωνα ἰητρόν καί Ἀσκληπιόν καί Ὑγείαν και Πανάκειαν καί θεούς πάντας τε και πάσας, ἵστορας ποιεύμενος, ἐπιτελέα ποιήσειν κατά δύναμιν καί κρίσιν ἐμήν ὅρκον τόνδε καί ξυγγραφήν τήνδε.Ἡγήσεσθαι μέν τόν διδάξαντά με την τέχνην ταύτην ἴσα γενέτῃσιν ἐμοῖσι, καί βίου κοινώσεσθαι, καί χρεῶν χρηίζοντι μετάδοσιν ποιήσεσθαι, καί γένος τό ἐξ αὐτοῦ ἀδελφεοῖς ἴσον ἐπικρινέειν ἄρρεσι, καί διδάξειν τήν τέχνην ταύτην, ἥν χρηίζωσι μανθάνειν, ἄνευ μισθοῦ καί ξυγγραφῆς, παραγγελίης τε καί ἀκροήσιος καί τῆς λοιπῆς ἁπάσης μαθήσιος μετάδοσιν ποιήσασθαι υἱοῖσι καί τοῖσι τοῦ ἐμέ διδάξαντος καί μαθηταῖσι συγγεγραμμένοις τε καί ὡρκισμένοις νόμῳ ἰητρικώ, ἄλλῳ δέ οὐδενί.Διαιτήμασί τε χρήσομαι ἐπ᾿ ὠφελείῃ καμνόντων κατά δύναμιν καί κρίσιν ἐμήν, ἐπί δηλήσει δέ καί ἀδικίῃ εἴρξειν.Οὐ δώσω δέ οὐδέ φάρμακον οὐδενί αἰτηθείς θανάσιμον, οὐδέ ὑφηγήσομαι ξυμβουλίην τοιήνδε˙ ὁμοίως δέ οὐδέ γυναικί πεσσόν φθόριον δώσω.Ἁγνῶς δε καί ὁσίως διατηρήσω βίον τόν ἐμόν καί τέχνην τήν εμήν.Οὐ τεμέω δε οὐδέν μην λιθιῶντας, ἐκχωρήσω δε ἐργάτῃσιν ἀνδράσιν πρήξιος τῆσδε.Ἐς οἰκίας δε ὁκόσας ἄν ἐσίω, ἐσελεύσομαι ἐπ᾿ ὠφελείῃ καμνόντων, ἐκτός ἐών πάσης ἀδικίης ἑκουσίης καί φθορίης τῆς τε ἄλλης καί ἀφροδισίων ἔργων ἐπί τε γυναικείων σωμάτων καί ἀνδρείων, ἐλευθέρων τε καί δούλων.Ἅ δ᾿ ἄν ἐν θεραπείῃ ἤ ίδω ἤ ακούσω, ἤ καί ἄνευ θεραπείης κατά βίον ἀνθρώπων, ἅ μή χρή ποτε ἐκλαλέεσθαι ἔξω, σιγήσομαι, ἄρρητα ἡγεύμενος εἶναι τά τοιαῦτα.Ὅρκον μέν οὖν μοι τόνδε ἐπιτελέα ποιέοντι καί μή ξυγχέοντι εἴη ἐπαύρασθαι καί βίου καί τέχνης, δοξαζομένῳ παρά πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις ἐς τόν αἰεί χρόνον˙ παραβαίνοντι δέ καί ἐπιορκέοντι, τἀναντία τουτέων.

TRANSLATION form ancient Greek: Hippocratic Oath: 

” i swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfil according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant:

To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art – if they desire to learn it – without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law, but no one else.

I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.

I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.

Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.

What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about.

If I fulfil this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.


The oath essentially divided into two parts. The first part identifies the obligations newly entered student and offered moral and financial guarantees to the teacher of the medical art. He promises to honor his teacher as parent as will the problems of the teacher and his. He also accepts the commitment to teach himself if need medical art to his sons and to the sons of his teaching.

The second part of the oath is considered the most important as it refers to the moral principles on which to base to practice his profession as a doctor tomorrow. Its primary goal is to bring the art “agnos and purely.” The obligations of this desire is only to seek the good of the patients and never to use lethal medication even if requested. He’ll never help woman to lose her child that carries her. Respects the house in which each patient will come in and will avoid any aphrodisiac contact with the patient and with the members of his family. Finally, he will be trusted and will not reveal the secrets that become known during the course of his work.

Hippocrates and the Hippocratic Collection

Tradition has preserved us in the name of Hippocrates about 60 treatises in Ionic dialect. But already from the Hellenistic and Roman times until today was intense debate about whether the authorship of this project belongs to Hippocrates. It would be unrealistic to believe that all written by Hippocrates himself. These are medical treatises can be guided by the same spirit of a rational medicine free of any magical effect, but the work is not homogeneous. There are differences in vocabulary, in style and content. Some seem to not written by the same teacher, some are of various origins and different date. The truth is that many of the collection works written by students and fans of the great doctor who inspired him.

According to Professor A. Kuzu the Hippocratic Collection in terms of content divided into 12 categories (Maniatis, 2002). These and their respective books are:

§ General (Oath, Law, On ancient medicine About iitrou, On Art, On efschimosynis, Parangeliai, Aphorisms.)

§ Anatomy-Physiology (About Anatomy, On cardio, On flesh, About glands, On bones physio, physio About Human About gonad, On physio children.)

§ Arbitration (On feed, On diet, healthy diet About.)

§ Pathology (About aeron, water, sites, About juice About Crisis, On critical days, On week On whiffer.)
§ Predictive (prognostic, Proritikon, Koakai forecasts.)
§ Special nosology (On Epidemics, On passions, On Noosa, On the inside passions, On Sacred Disease, On the sites of flat man.)
§ Therapeutic (About Diet acids About liquids useful.)
§ Surgery (In practice, On ulcers, hemorrhoids On, On syringes, On of heads eat, On agmon, About Articles embolism, Mochlikos.)
§ Ophthalmology (About sight.)
§ Midwifery (About Virgo, On female physio, On women’s A, B, On touching About epikyiseos, About seven months and eight months, On egkatatomis fetus.)
§ Pediatrics (About odontofyiis.)
§ Various (letters, which, Reasons, The doctrine of the Athenians, Epivomios, Ambassadorial.)

One of the major works of the Collection, which deserves mention and characterized many times as a milestone in the history of European science is “On the sacred disease.”

It is the first expression in the spiritual history of mankind’s ongoing struggle conducted by scientific thinking people against superstition. The theme of the project is the “sacred disease” as used to characterize epilepsy.

The project essentially is fighting with all the “witch-purists” who proclaim that illness is supernatural character. The work of the author himself believes the illness was due to natural causes, like all illnesses, and treatment will be made by physical means. In the opinion of epilepsy begins in the brain.

The Reputation of Hippocrates

Hippocrates was the most important representative not only of the medical school of Kos and medicine in general in antiquity. He had become a mythical person in antiquity. Already from the first phase of his career in Kos had gained great reputation. Biographers report that called by the inhabitants of Abdera to cure Democritus because they believed that he had gone mad. Doctor while he was alive, he took the form of a therapist hero posthumously. The people of Kos on the day of his birth worshiped by sacrifices each year.

This ceremony must have existed in the 1st century p. X when circulating coins depicting the form. It is also said that the Athenians erected a statue of him and proclaimed savior of the city, because he saved the town from plague. His gold crown was given while he was initiated and the Eleusinian mysteries. (J. Jouanna, 199Cool. Information given both in Plato and Aristotle shows that though both lived Hippocrates was reputed great doctor and not only within the boundaries of his homeland. Downstream of great doctors or philosophers (Plato, Aristotle , Galen, Pliny and others) mentioned him as “great” or “divine.”

Hippocrates lived in Greece during the Golden Age of Pericles. A century of intense intellectual reflection that made great men, as it was Sophocles, Socrates and Thucydides. In the 5th century. So was born the rationalism and humanism, provided to give the term the broad meaning of “thinking man for himself.”

Hippocrates founded the school of the time across the country flourished Asclepieia where the main treatment constituted the purification of body and soul, where the disease was considered providential. It was he who revolutionized teaching rational thinking in dealing with diseases. The causes are reasonably require and reasonably therapeutics argued, there is the element of divine intervention. Apotheopoiise medicine and separated from philosophy.

He was first creepy close to humans. Crumbling everything, philosophical theories and ideas. ( He was the first to systematically classify medicine and ran a methodical treatment of diseases. He made affordable medical knowledge and to students beyond the family of Asklepios, something innovative for its time, since then the tradition prevailed which wanted to broadcast only within the bosom of the family of Asclepius, from father to son (J. Jouanna, 199Cool. He was the creator of the famous Oath of Medicine, an excellent text that introduces and deontologikes- ethical principles of medicine and is spoken today by future doctors.

With this new perspective of medicine introduced by Hippocrates superstition recede slowly pace. The magoi- therapists, who until then had a field day, will be the toughest opponents of Hippocrates. Despite the slander that occasionally made for him, they failed to reduce his reputation as a great doctor. The theories are so accurate that even today some of the medical procedures proposed are still used.

This, then, is the father of medicine. After that follow the doctors of Alexandria. There, in the late 4th century. BC moved the focus of medical science. Separate the medical specialties and the new generation of medicine, based on the theories of the past, build new theoretical structures on the foundations of old.

The MILITARY MEDICINE IN ANCIENT TIMES – Problems of Military Medicine

Man, the basic “cell” of acts of war, the more stable unit that can be used in the analysis of a military operation remains through the centuries largely identical in physiology and needs. The warriors who campaigned in ancient times, since the copper as that of Rome, died of the same causes of decimated and downstream armies, until the “medical revolution” of the 20th century and their weapons can still kill today or cause serious injury to any modern soldier.

Taken purely as mechanical tools for human destruction, weapons of ancient armies, were fatal. Even in the hands of a well trained warrior could become even more deadly. Nowadays it is common for two armies to whom the killing ability of one will be dramatically greater than that of his opponent. In the ancient world but this balance of power between two fighting armies were rare and it meant huge risk involved men.

The armies of Hyksos decimating of clover unfortunate Egyptians, the superiority which gave them the composite bow and agility of the chariots, and the Macedonians of Alexander defeats the Persians at a time despite their numerical inferiority. Unlike the Roman legions were almost equivalent to the army of Hannibal, but whenever the fighting suffered defeats and very heavy.

In the 1st century BC, however, the technological and tactical advantage was passed to the Romans to such an extent that there is no opponent in the Western world that can clash with them. Whenever the superior Roman army was fighting lower organizational strengths, as was common in the 1st century BC, the result was terrible slaughter dimensions. The victory over the Teutonic Marios in Aix-en-Provence (Aix-en-Provence) in 100 BC, resulted in killing more than 90,000 men in a single day.

Death, injuries and infections in Ancient Army

The level of risk faced by the ancient warrior in battle, depended heavily on the army to which they belong and the historical period that happened to live. For example, the Egyptian soldier who was fighting the Hyksos had few chances to avoid the inevitable, while the Roman soldier who faced the Belgians or the Saxons naughty could expect guaranteed survival.

Unlike modern battles, leaving relatively balanced number of deaths and injuries between the two sides, in ancient times losers expect horrific slaughter, while the winners suffered negligible losses. In the battle of Marathon, victorious Athenians had only 192 dead from a force of 10,000 men and at Issus Alexander lost 200 men, causing 50,000 casualties to the Persians! On Kynoskephalai Roman legions caused 8,000 deaths and essentially tore the Macedonian army, with losses of 700 men.

When and how but threatened to kill an ancient warrior? For as long as the columns kept consistent, it was very difficult to occur killing widely. Even the forces of the cavalry were unable to cause significant damage to disciplined formation infantry who held firmly to their positions. Nevertheless in every army of History is a great mass of men who feel a strong urge to escape from danger and motivation is always fear.

The real “killer” in the ancient battlefield was none other than fear. Men who have been involved in combat tend to keep under control the escapism that springs from the instinct of self-preservation, with the help of logic. Increased and prolonged psychological pressure though, dramatically increases the likelihood of finding someone Average rows of warriors who will lose their nerve and run. Sometimes the actions of a single soldier is sufficient to entrain as avalanche entire unit, causing panic explosion. When the homogeneity and consistency of the casting solution, the ancient warrior risked longer be killed or seriously injured.

Usually one phalanx will “break” suddenly and disintegrant rapidly as the original compact war machine transformed in seconds into a disorderly crowd frightened fugitives who struggled alone to escape, running with all their might. Soldiers disperse in every direction, often throwing weapons and their armor in a futile attempt to escape from their persecutors. For quite a long period fleeing save many of the losers, as the armies had few means to carry deadly pursuit.

The appearance but the chariot, edge and horseback archers Assyrian, forever changed this situation, making them easy prey retreating soldiers. In many cases the chariots and cavalry of the winners were driven between and around the disorderly crowd taking such positions to the force to be directed back to the battlefield. There they spent an entire day to the massacre. If the commander triumphs did not stop the carnage to take captives to be sold into slavery, a whole army will be killed without mercy – not a soldier I would not stay alive.

Historical studies show that, on average, the proportion of deaths a defeated army was about 37.7%, more than 1/3 of the total power. Death rates but for the victorious armies were considerably lower, ranging in 5.5% of all involved. Even if an army enjoyed full technological superiority, it was necessary at some point to start killing small distances.

The apparent disproportion between losses and defeated the winners reveals that the greatest slaughter took place during phase one of the two rivals broke their formations under physical or psychological pressure, prompting soldiers to be prosecuted and slaughter with relative ease . However they should be required many hours ceaseless slaughter to destroy a defeated enemy.

There is no evidence on the impact they had these “personal” (from nearby) murders the psyche of the soldier. But it is likely that the practice of the Romans, to expose all classes of citizens from a young age before the hideous face of death in the arena, to later give some advantages on the battlefield, reducing cases of psychological shock.

Typical losses of a Roman Legion at Battle Victorious

Forces involved 6,000 men

Fonefthentes 330 men
Injured 360 men
Deaths from hemorrhagic shock 50 men () 13.8%)
Deaths from tetanus 22 men (5%)
Deaths from gas gangrene 15 men (4%)
Deaths from sepsis five men (1.2%)
Other causes 15 men (4%)
Percentage recovery from injuries 70%

Knowing the total number of men of a defeated army of antiquity and subtracting the number of the dead and those who were taken prisoner to be sold later as slaves, we come in a good approximation of the number of injuries as a finding in such serious condition that it is useless to ‘ commodity “. Approximately 35.4% of the defeated had to wait an injury so severe that involve the abandonment of the battlefield.

When this figure is added to the 37.7% of the dead, it seems that in a typical battle of the ancient world a 73% an army of warriors who have been unsuccessful would end up dead or seriously wounded until dusk. No analog sure way to calculate the wounded winners. Using the statistics give the dead ratios between losers and winners, it seems that a percentage of 5.8% of the army imposed his opponent should have been some form of injury.

An analysis of professor Engels for the army of Alexander concludes that the Macedonians were about five wounded for every dead. So the average percentage of dead (in battle) 0.5% recorded the Macedonians in Granicus, the Issus and Gaugamela, leading probably to a rate of 2.5% wounded. The military medical system of the Romans went into the design of providing a percentage wounded in the battle between 2 and 10%.

The field hospital legion was organized in 64 chambers, each could serve 4-5 men, revealing so that the maximum number of casualties expected by the unit in a jam was 320 people, or 5% of its power.

The nature of the battle from the close quarters in ancient times and the operational characteristics of the weapons were then indicate that the chances of injury to a soldier was much greater than the risk of death. Of the 147 injuries mentioned in the Iliad, 114 (77.7% share) proved fatal. This ratio in Archaic Greece sounds strange when compared to that of the Crimean War (20%) or the American Civil War (13.3%).

The Frolich also notes that of the 31 head injuries mentioned by Homer, everything was deadly. A study of skeletons Egyptian soldiers were killed during a siege in 2000 BC, confirms the high mortality due to cranial trauma. Fifty-nine of the skeletons bore head wounds, of which 49 were found to be caused by stones that were thrown from the walls and the remaining 10 by arrows achieved the victim in the face. A weight 13,6 Kg stone thrown from a height of 12 meters, has kinetic energy 1.588 Joule, able to crush any kind of armor Iron Age.

Arrows are responsible for 10% of the wounds, with a mortality rate of 42%. The ability of ancient armor to withstand blows of arrows seemed characteristically Cunaxa where, says Xenophon, the Greek army was toxefmaton barrage by the Persians for several hours without any significant losses. The arrows of the compound bows were able to pierce the armor, but generally not to such a depth as to cause death.

Typical example is the shield of the Assyrian warriors. It is estimated that the average man had total exposed area of ​​6.832 cm2, ie 0,68 m2. An Assyrian armed for battle expose only 542 square centimeters in the neck and face, 1,103 square centimeters hands, 413 square centimeters in the abdomen and 1,265 square centimeters in the legs. The total surface area was therefore vulnerable 3,323 square centimeters i.e. 49% of the original.

An extensive study of modern scientists anaparestisan ancient tactics, concluded that if a force of 1,000 archers dispute either a broadside of 250 meters, 220 of the arrows would find the target on a solid mass infantry will protected by shields. Of these about 120 will hurt unshielded or other vulnerabilities, namely 18 neck, something that would bring instant death, 13 the abdomen (80% would follow death from infection within three days), 36 arms and 53 legs and thighs.

Less than 2% of the wounds on the ends would prove fatal only if it had hit an artery. Assuming that all wounds would cause the soldier to withdraw from the battle and taken into account that an archer can put five times a minute, five minutes (they needed to reach the two armies) a force of 1,000 archers will defeat 110 soldiers in each of the broadside. Contesting five volleys minute for five minutes, the archers would cause the fantastic number of 2,750 casualties to the enemy before Ms. crossed spears opponents!

The shield acquitted ancient infantry excellent protection as long as the formations kept their coherence. The average surface was 0, 74 m2, enough to cover the entire body of the warrior. The arrow but remained an insidious weapon because, although the wounds brought about finally focusing on the ends, even in cases not find artery often cause deadly infection, which required amputation in 62% of cases – a practice unknown to the ancient physicians up and classical times.

The spears evolved from simple models of 1.8 meters of archaic in terrible Macedonian sarissas 5.5 meters.

The sharp spikes spear allow the spears to pierce or cut the human body and was particularly deadly when damage the trachea or cervical vein. Although it was not easy to challenge directly an armored opponent, could be hurt or throw him to the ground where it would present much easier target, exposing vital body points for the final blow.

The sword was not main battle weapon no army until the advent of Rome. The ancient Greeks faced as an aid and was slightly familiar with its use, without being particularly unfair, since a well-trained fighter in spear advantage in the confrontation with a swordsman. In the hands of Roman legionaries but the legendary gladius cause terror opponents.

The advantage of this sword in a battle from the close quarters was that could cause deep wounds in almost every part of the body. It could also be used to Awesome way in hand, as they used to operate the Romans. If a soldier accept bang, sword easily cripple the State and left the stunned victim defenseless against a second fatal hint in abdomen, neck or face.

Probably the most common injury to the ancient warriors were the fracture. The fact that the Egyptian and Sumerian medical texts deal extensively with broken bone cases reveals that the military doctors of the time were quite familiar with this type of wound. Excluding the skull, there is very little difference in the amount of force required to crush any bone in the human body. Even adult bones of the thigh require little more load to break compared to the thin bones of the arm.

An estimated 91,8 Joule impact energy is enough to blow off any bone in the human body, except for the skull. So blow railed at the sides of an armored warrior from ancient bat (137 Joule), javelin (91 Joule), ax (95,6 Joule), simple sword (105 Joule), piercing ax (105 Joule), gladius (137 Joule ), or a spear (96 Joule), could easily cause fractures. Without doubt the ancient soldier seriously impaired by breakage of bones, trauma would leave him exposed to the next deathblow. It is worth noting that by the disappearance of the horse from the battlefield, in the 20th century, fractures were the main cause of injury, and the horsemen, who often during the battle fell from their horses.

It is considered certain that the frequency and type of wounds in the battles of ancient times varied considerably, depending on the weapons, shields and tactics used in each period. The risk of death varied widely depending on the army in which he served someone. So the Egyptian soldier who fought the Hyksos were completely defenseless against their weapons, while the soldier of the same nationality who was fighting the Hittites after 200 years had many chances to get out of a battle unscathed. Of course analyzes do not apply to armies whose discipline was collapsing and allows a stampede after their men would be vulnerable against any kind of attack from pursuing a strength.

It really is interesting to note that an ancient soldier, from the Bronze Age to the 1st century BC, was in danger of dying from various wound infections are just as with a colleague any other time until the start of World War. Death sneaking victim of the battle in the form of three terrible microbial threats: tetanus, a gas gangrene and septicemia.


Tetanus was the most common infection. It comes from the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium tetani, enters the body through deep cuts in the skin and viscera, and usually accompanies wounds presenting severe tissue damage and necrosis. The tetanus bacterium produces a toxin “travel” as the spinal cord and causing terrible spasms of the skeletal muscles. Seizures they may kill the patient suffocated, as excessive inflate the diaphragm and can be so strong as to destroy the backbone at some point, causing unbearable pain.

An exact description of these symptoms is present in “Aphorisms” of Hippocrates, an indication that the ancient Greeks knew well the consequences of tetanus. The tetanus bacterium is endemic to the soil surface and is mainly found in areas rich in manure, typical of rural societies of the ancient world. Populations are growing where hygiene is low and where there are human or animal feces. Thus each soldier of which the wound would be in contact with the soil, in danger of contamination.

If the wound is not cleaned thoroughly with water or wine and doctors rushed to meet immediately with makeshift bandages without completely clean, contamination from tetanus was sure. The average of such infections was approximately 5.6% and mortality was 80%. Once a soldier defiled, his survival depended on the strength of the immune system of the body.

The gasifiers gangrene caused by six species of bacteria known under the general term Clostridium perfigens, which is also endemic in the anaerobic and cultivated soil. They produce a toxin that kills the muscle tissue by hydrogen bubbles. The area of ​​the wound dies, the infection extends accompanied by terrible stench produced by decaying tissues. The incidence of this kind of infection should be ran at 5%, but we can say with certainty that the mortality among ancient armies did not know the technique of amputation would reach 100%.

Sepsis or blood poisoning, caused when the common bacterium body Staphilococcus bacteri enter the bloodstream. If a main blood vessel and the punctured wound infected secondary infection, can be extended to normal sterile bloodstream. The incidence of such an infection is 1.7% and this occurs mainly in cases of arterial lesions. The mortality in the mid-20th century remained extremely high, until the appearance and diffusion of antibiotics.

One of the four wounded ancient battle was dying from his wounds within 7-10 days of the above three main causes or hemorrhagic shock. It must be emphasized that these four factors remained as basic sick and wounded causes of death until the end of World War II.

Diseases and Implications

The armies of ancient times, as in all armies until-Japanese war of 1905, most soldiers found the death from diseases than from enemy weapons. The diseases in ancient armies appeared much easier whenever a large number of men crowded together for some time in places where there were no elementary conditions of hygiene. With the exception of the armies of Egypt and Rome meticulously observing basic hygiene, checking the suitability of drinking water and food, other armies were not taking absolutely no preventive measures.

THE war considerably reduces resistance to disease soldier, as the diet that was provided was most often insufficient to maintain a high level of defense capability of the organization. The armies were on the move at less risk from the effects of poor hygiene. The most possible points for epidemics there was organized sieges, with huge numbers of warriors gather in little space, often suffering from food shortages.

Most common illness for the ancient was dysentery. Called “expeditionary fever,” is probably the most common illness among soldiers of all time. The first clear description of the symptoms of dysentery noted in Egyptian papyri of 1550 BC, but it must have been known from much earlier periods. Hippocrates mentions in detail in writings. The Roman medical texts have extensively preventive methods.

Dysentery caused by an aquatic bacillus transmitted to the body by contaminated food or water. It happened often in marches, paid an entire army when quenched the thirst of improper source. Although the standard mortality ranged 5%, the occurrence of dysentery akinitopoiouse huge numbers of men for periods of two to three weeks – men who could not at this time be used as a combatant elements in any way.

Typhoid fever, which is derived from the bacterium Salmonella typhi, was another “wound” for the ancient warrior disseminated rapidly flies that infected human food. The Egyptians and Assyrians were quite familiar with the deal, but the Romans were the first to systematically took hygienic measures to limit the disease.

Constructing latrines with a depth of three meters, rinse with water and covered with wooden planks or stones to keep them dark and free from flies. He knew that an army which was at the center an epidemic of typhoid fever, essentially defeat as militant force. Mortality was as high as 10-13%, but the most important was that four weeks were required terrible pain and delirious fever to carry the disease cycle.

The supply of drinking water during a campaign seems pretty occupied ancient armies. The Greek soldier he used to take with him a quantity of wine to help your stomach become familiar with hard water should be drunk in the war. The Roman soldier rarely brought water in his canteen, preferring to consume a type possible, red, sour wine (acetum) suffered prolonged fermentation.

When the Romans conquered the Jews of Palestine, who were accustomed to the local sweet wines, they looked strange conquerors them to drink what they thought vinegar. What is certain is that the consumption of soured wine by the Romans had many medical benefits. Extremely rich in polyphenols, can simultaneously be used by military physicians as an antiseptic and cleansing of wounds, acting as bacteriostatic and bactericidal agent.

The typhus is also one of the deadliest diseases, who have linked their names to the military operations in all the centuries. Due to a microorganism that is something between bacterium and virus and grows in the blood of various animals, including mice, is a disease transmitted to humans by lice (Pediculus humanus), living in the clothes and hair, and manifested very often where large numbers of people are forced to coexist in very small spaces, such as prisons, ships etc. The symptoms of typhoid are high fever, chills, feeling of weakness and pain in the joints accompanied by terrible headaches. Mortality of typhus between 10 and 40% and it is known that at times the disease is wiped armies:

The typhus is a disease of the temperate zone and is likely the armies of ancient Greece and Rome have good knowledge of the consequences of … The armies of Babylon and Egypt faced considerably less incidents because of the warm climate and the tendency to wear less heavy clothing. But when we moved in temperate regions as Lebanon and Armenia, they risked serious infection. Although historians authors do not completely agree, the prevailing view is that the great plague that decimated the Athenian army during the Peloponnesian War was probably a typhus.

Similar risk with typhus were the appearances of smallpox, which was quite common in the ancient world, with a mortality rate which mostly ranged from 20-40%, but could reach 90%. From such epidemic died in 1160 BC and Pharaoh Ramses E, while the great plague that decimated the Antonine Rome in the 2nd century AD probably due to smallpox brought from the eastern provinces recurrent legions.

Retired files the Roman army allow clear knowledge of the severity of the impact of disease on the life of an ancient warrior. In a Roman legion of the 1st century AD, 50% of soldiers who qualify at age 18 were still alive at 42 them to enjoy their retirement. Since 5.8% of soldiers would die in battle and another 8-10% will succumb to war trauma, this means that the remaining 35% of the legionnaires would die from some form of disease, including epidemics. However, despite his involvement in dozens of battles, the legionnaire medium was generally longest in via Roman citizen, and had five times less stomatological problems from him, thus demonstrating the best diet camps.

Factor Injuries and Biological Threat

An army endangered largely accidental. Even a simple movement of a force of 10,000 men is no easy task and the course costs several health and safety of the soldier. The ancient armies used to march in columns, as there were no roads and it was the only way to maintain a minimum check by management. The army of Alexander, with 65,000 pedestrians and 6,000 cavalry, stoichizomenous in column width of 10 men would stretch like a snake along 25 km, without considering transport animals in convoys.

Armies had to move as much as possible like a compact maza- otherwise could not move at all. The air we inhale a soldier at the center of a formation is smelly, dust blocks the nostrils, eyes and irritated lungs strained. As once said Napoleon, “the world of the soldier on the path composed entirely out of sight of the bag in the back of the front.” In a single day the road nosebleeds, eye irritations and respiratory problems caused harm such a level that several soldiers were beginning to fall fainting outside their lines and left behind. In hot climates, the number of casualties increased greatly.

The diet in ancient armies was another major problem. Modern armies calculate that a 73 kg weight soldier carrying a moderate load walking for eight hours, you need 3,402 calories and 70 grams of protein a day. The pressure and overexertion during the battle increase the amount of food required to maintain a healthy and Warrior fighting condition. In deserts and generally in climates with high temperatures and low humidity, the soldier needs at least 8.5 liters of water daily.

The diet was followed in ancient armies were totally inadequate for prolonged operations. It comprised mainly wheat, barley and millet, which milled to prepare bread, biscuits and porridge. The standard portion by each man of between 1 and 1,4 kg of cereal daily, in bread form only provided 2500 calories and 100 grams protein. This is the number of calories was clearly inadequate, even for the best possible campaign conditions that could meet a soldier. A course of three or four days too weakened the army and further aggravate the smaller health problems.

Many times commanders were, after an arduous journey, they regret to have a force that could not fight. On top of the fatigue from the same course, the ancient warrior had to carry and its stores, which in the case of the Macedonians weighed 27 pounds, whereas in the case of the Romans about 25. The weight of the load to make the turn soldier, in hot climates, vulnerability and brought him too close to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The men then wore during the demonstrations across the harnesses and could imagine the torment that existed when the shield and helmet, exposed as it was in the sun, burned and simple touch.

The soldiers could not protect themselves from sunburn and coat the skin with oil of palm or olive, but there was no indication for this measure before the days of Imperial Rome. A Roman time gives us a graphic example of what can happen to an army that did not care to take measures for the protection from the heat. 24 BC the Aellius Gallus, the Roman governor of Egypt led an army in Arabia, which lost whole without giving a single battle, as the legionnaires have died by the hundreds of thirst and heat stroke. Many survivors suffered permanent damage to their health, to the extent that had to be demobilized.

The heat was not the only “enemy” for an army of antiquity. The warriors of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome, suffered equally from accidents and haunting contemporary colleagues (falls, bruises, cuts, damage, blisters, sprains and fractures), which may turn a soldier into injured. Most of these occur in the legs, which were generally unprotected.
The soldiers then fighting in cold climates, such as the Assyrians during their invasions in Armenia and Kurdistan. The Romans repeatedly campaigned in Germany, the Alps, eastern Europe and the mountains of Spain, regions where the climatic conditions are a challenge even for modern armies. Xenophon mentions the “Cyrus Ascent” that she almost lost the whole army in the mountain ranges of today’s Turkey when men slept unprotected countryside and awoke alafiasmenoi a snowstorm.

Alexander crossed the Hindu Kush inhospitable starting with 100,000 men and 64,000 ending with the 13th days later! The Hannibal was able to cross the Alps, but with frightening cost in human lives. From the army, which numbered 38,000 pedestrians and 8,000 horsemen, lost 20,000 men until they reach the north Italian plain.
The disadvantages of the ancient soldier compared to the modern descendants extend to different levels. It was an average age of 35 years, significantly longer than the men of today’s armed forces. The average age of American soldiers in World War II was 26 years and the Vietnam War the 22. The same physiology make the ancient warrior more susceptible to frostbite and fatigue.
Generally an ancient army exestratefe was literally a “moving medicine debacle,” he expect to lose 3-4% of its power from exhaustion or sunstroke, 17% from various accidents in rough road and several more men from chronic problems caused stress and poor hygiene. Those who could not follow the mass, leaving their fate in the street or at best the care of the first villagers who would meet the army.

This practice is applicable even where campaigns in hostile territory where the armies abandoned their patients, the wounded and the dying. The Roman army, with mobile ambulances and professional staff that work for medical services, was able to keep with him the lighter wounded all the way, in most armies but patients should be abandoned.

In the ancient battlefield dominated and a wide variety of biological weapons. The “fraudulent” arrows aimed at andranopoiisoun or bring certain death to the victim, was more feared than that of close-quarters fight with spears, swords and clubs. Ancient warriors used to immerse the tips of arrows in natural poisons such as the rhododendron juice and sea urchin emulsion, but the poison of snakes were the most prevalent toxin.

Especially the Scythian archers were famous for their poisonous arrows, which were soaking in a smelly mixture of viper venom (viper) and human blood (also was terribly relevant of distances reached even 550 meters – many skeletons of their victims discovered by archaeologists, they were found with arrows stuck right between the eyes). In 326 BC Macedonians of Alexander the Great encountered in northern India mounted archers fired arrows tremendous efficiency and extremely deadly.

Eventually the Greeks realized that their opponents had infused the dead viper venom, which was left to decompose in the sun until the skin melted and the liquid was coming only from the tissues. The historian Diodorus states that “men were injured by such missiles numb instantly, in a torment from unbearable pains and convulsions that came in waves, and the skin was cold and bruised and xernousan bile.” The Hannibal launched a similarly ‘dirty’ plan, when in a battle against the Pergamum (191 BC) threw on the decks of enemy ships live poisonous snakes!

The Roman historian Appian describes vividly how the besieged residents of Themiskyra, in Bithynia, diverted to flee the Roman army unleashing against swarms of bees, bears and other wild beasts 72 BC Almost three centuries later, citizens’s paper (in today’s Iraq) clay pots filled with poisonous insects and thrown from the battlements of the walls on the fearful legions of Septimius Severus.

In contrast all these “instruments of death” and their effects was the Military Medicine, which at all times was perceived as an attempt to reduce casualties from hostile action. As such included the institution of “reservists” doctor, since most armies until 2000 BC They were set up to enlist. The recruiting men from different walks of presupposed well informed doctors, who knew the level of health of the general population, the diet, mortality and lifespan.

Perhaps the most important role of such a precious special was to ensure sufficient quantities of good quality food and drinking water, both critical factors for the effectiveness of an army in battle. Until the 20th century all armies, with few exceptions, were much more losses from diseases and infections, rather than the ultimate test on the battlefield.

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