Several treatises attributed to Hippocrates, authentic works

However there are several treatises attributed to Hippocrates. Consequently, scholars searching for the authentic works of Hippocrates have inadvertently developed a more comprehensive understanding of medical science during the classical era of Greek philosophy. While the details remain uncertain, the spectacle is undeniably fascinating. It not only presents a single system of philosophy, but also illustrates the complete existence of a science, with all its branches and controversies.

Evidently, the corpus we currently possess is not the original ‘Collected Works’ of Hippocrates that was available in bookstores during his time. Instead, it is a comprehensive compilation of ancient medical writings discovered in the archives of the medical school in Cos by scholars from Alexandria in the third century. These scholars had undertaken the task of preserving Hippocrates’ writings for future generations. Evidently, they had not undergone any revisions or removal of diverse content.

Some of them were published as literary works, or at the very least written with the intention of being published. Others consisted of extensive compilations of authentic records. Some of the writings were commentaries intended solely for the author’s colleagues, rather than for public consumption. Additionally, it is reasonable that a portion of the collection was not authored inside the Coan school, as the progress of science would have stagnated if scientists had disregarded the ideas and findings of their peers.

These superfluous works were kept alongside the school’s archives, and the master’s works were intermingled with those of his students, due to the school being an impersonal establishment.

Furthermore, each member of the group possessed knowledge of their colleagues’ viewpoints. A similar phenomenon may be observed in the collected writings of notable figures such as Plato and Aristotle, who led influential philosophical schools, but to a lesser degree compared to Hippocrates.

One of the important stipulations of the Hippocratic oath, which every student must accept upon admission to the school, is the requirement to maintain confidentiality regarding the knowledge acquired. Traditionally, medical knowledge was passed down from one generation to the next, with sons following in their fathers footsteps in the profession. thereby, when an unfamiliar individual was admitted as a pupil, he assumed the role of the teacher’s offspring and thereby committed himself to instructing the teacher’s offspring in his craft, without any kind of payment.

It was likely customary for a student to acquire his mentor’s profession by marrying his daughter. It is explicitly stated that Polybus, who was Hippocrates’ son-in-law, was a physician. Interestingly, Aristotle specifically mentions him as the sole representative of the Coan school, acknowledging his comprehensive account of the venous system. This account is still preserved in one of the renowned works in the ‘Hippocratic’ collection.

This particular characteristic illuminates the entire collection. During Hippocrates’ era, while the influence of prominent individuals in medicine was becoming apparent, the medical profession remained highly unified, to the extent that it was uncommon for ideas and doctrines to be credited to their creators in professional practice.

Clearly, it was through public lectures that medical experts initially disseminated their personal opinions to a wider audience using their own identities. There are still a few lectures that may be found in the Hippocratic corpus, although the identities of their authors have been forgotten. The Hippocratic treatise quotes the views of the ‘Cnidian doctrines’, which originated from the renowned medical institute in Cnidus, Asia Minor.

However, no scholar has yet been able to provide evidence that any existing treatise can be attributed to a specific school other than the one in Cos. In the late fifth century, individuals enjoyed significant liberty in expressing their opinions. However, it is not justifiable to consider every departure from Coan theory as proof of the beliefs held by other schools. However, extensive study conducted over the past century has shown evidence for the presence of two distinct schools of thought in ancient Greece.

One school, known as the Asiatic school, was centered in Cnidus, while the other, known as the Western Greek school, was centered in Sicily. It is important to note that our understanding of the work carried out in these schools is limited due to a lack of available data.