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date: 22 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter surveys early Greek medicine, primarily the works attributed to Hippocrates, but also evidence for other medical writing, such as that in the Anonymus Londinensis papyrus, and in the fragments of the pre-Socratics. It is noted that the fragments of Alcmaeon indicate experience in dissection of animals, that Diogenes of Apollonia gives a detailed account of the vascular system, and that Plato has an extensive biomedical section in Timaeus. In general, early medical writers show concern with the relation of microcosm to macrocosm and of human life to the universe; also, with opposing principles (hot and cold, wet and dry, thick and thin, rare and dense) such that health is commonly seen in terms of bodily balance and avoidance of excess. The seventy or so works of the Hippocratic corpus cover a wide range of subjects, notably prognostic signs, surgery, gynecology, case histories and aphoristics lore.

Keywords: Alcmaeon, Anonymus Londinensis, Asclepius, Democritus, Erotian, gynecology, Hippocrates of Kos, Plato, Pythagoreans, surgery

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