greek world


Summary: A historical and cultural entity dispersed across a wide geographical area under the influence of Greek civilization, culture, and science. The Greek Empire extended from the Greek mainland and the Aegean islands from the 16th century B.C., to the Indus Valley in the 4th century under Alexander the Great, and to southern Italy and Sicily. Greek medicine began with Homeric and Aesculapian medicine and continued unbroken to Hippocrates (480-355 B.C.). The classic period of Greek medicine was 460-136 B.C. and the Graeco-Roman period, 156 B.C.-576 A.D. (From A. Castiglioni, A History of Medicine, 2d ed; from F. H. Garrison, An Introduction to the History of Medicine, 4th ed)

Top Publications

  1. Sahlas D. Functional neuroanatomy in the pre-Hippocratic era: observations from the Iliad of Homer. Neurosurgery. 2001;48:1352-7 pubmed
    ..The Iliad of Homer contains many descriptions of traumatic injury to the nervous system and provides us with 3,000-year-old references to some of the basic principles of functional neuroanatomy. ..
  2. Aydn A, Tumerdem B, Yazar M, Erer M. Three-thousand-year-old written reference to a description of what might be the earliest brachial plexus injuries in the Iliad of Homer. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2004;114:1352-3 pubmed
  3. Mylonas A, Tzerbos F, Eftychiadis A, Papadopoulou E. Cranio-maxillofacial injuries in Homer's Iliad. J Craniomaxillofac Surg. 2008;36:1-7 pubmed publisher
  4. Konsolaki E, Astyrakaki E, Stefanakis G, Agouridakis P, Askitopoulou H. Cranial trauma in ancient Greece: from Homer to classical authors. J Craniomaxillofac Surg. 2010;38:549-53 pubmed publisher
    ..Most of these descriptions show that the ancient Greeks possessed very good knowledge of the anatomy of the head and neck region and also of the pathophysiological consequences of trauma in the region. ..
  5. Pikoulis E, Petropoulos J, Tsigris C, Pikoulis N, Leppaniemi A, Pavlakis E, et al. Trauma management in ancient Greece: value of surgical principles through the years. World J Surg. 2004;28:425-30 pubmed
    ..The article begins its survey from Homer, our first source of medical information, and highlights the pioneering work of Hippocrates and the secularized professional guild of the "sons of Aesclepius." ..
  6. Voultsiadou E. Therapeutic properties and uses of marine invertebrates in the ancient Greek world and early Byzantium. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010;130:237-47 pubmed publisher
    ..Most of them were common species exploited by humans for food or other everyday uses. ..
  7. Arnott R. The diagnosis of art: diastrophic dysplasia and Hephaistos. J R Soc Med. 2007;100:67 pubmed
  8. Stempsey W. Plato and holistic medicine. Med Health Care Philos. 2001;4:201-9 pubmed
    ..Finally, I look at what Plato has to say about medical practice and the relation of medicine and philosophy as therapies for the whole person. ..
  9. Bieganowski L. [Hippocrates from Kos--ophthalmologic aspects in the work of the father of medicine]. Klin Oczna. 2003;105:453-7 pubmed
    ..His views on the anatomy of the eye are presented as well. Reconstruction of the eye according to Hippocrates and Aristotle is included in the article. It also presents the International Foundation of Hippocrates of Kos. ..

More Information


  1. Damjanovic A, Milovanovic S, Crnobarić C. [Hipoccrates and psychiatry]. Srp Arh Celok Lek. 2008;136:68-72 pubmed
    ..In his aphorisms he described diagnostics and enrolled the principals of treatment of different kind of psychiatry disorders as depression, mania, hysteria, neurotic disorders, psychosis and psychosomatic diseases. ..
  2. Crivellato E, Ribatti D. Body symmetry and asymmetry in early Greek anatomical reasoning. Clin Anat. 2008;21:279-82 pubmed publisher
    ..Overcoming the concept of a strict left-right bilateral parallelism in human body architecture was a challenging intellectual task that required prolonged observation of dissected corpses. ..
  3. Nickel D. [Did Hippocratic thinking influence Praxagoras of Kos?]. Stud Anc Med. 2005;31:315-23 pubmed
  4. Vavelidis M, Andreou S. Gold and gold working in Late Bronze Age Northern Greece. Naturwissenschaften. 2008;95:361-6 pubmed
  5. Gorrini M. The Hippocratic impact on healing cults: the archaeological evidence in Attica. Stud Anc Med. 2005;31:135-56 pubmed
    ..We will reassess the nature of the developing relationship between Hippocratic and religious medical practises, with particular focus on the presence of medical doctors within the healing sanctuaries. ..
  6. Debru A. Theophrastus' biological opuscula and the Hippocratic Corpus: a critical dialogue?. Stud Anc Med. 2005;31:325-42 pubmed
  7. Mudry A. A history of otology through the development of scientific and medical thought. Acta Otorhinolaryngol Belg. 1998;52:257-70 pubmed
    ..Otology will be affected by these different trends of thought and will find its place in medicine during the XIX Century, the XX Century being its most prolific period. ..
  8. Begley A. Facilitating the development of moral insight in practice: teaching ethics and teaching virtue. Nurs Philos. 2006;7:257-65 pubmed
    ..They need an education which includes theoretical ethics and the nurturing of practical wisdom and excellence of character. For this purpose, a humanities approach is suggested. ..
  9. Papadimitriou J, Skiadas P, Mavrantonis C, Polimeropoulos V, Papadimitriou D, Papacostas K. Euthanasia and suicide in antiquity: viewpoint of the dramatists and philosophers. J R Soc Med. 2007;100:25-8 pubmed
  10. Smith D. Is the college an Asklepieion?. J R Coll Physicians Edinb. 2008;38:78-84 pubmed
    ..This account is offered as a refresher course on the dramatis personae of the pantheon and some of their activities and attributes. ..
  11. Lo Presti R. [The patient's knowledge in the Peri technes]. Med Secoli. 2007;19:705-20 pubmed
  12. Gordon C, Zimmerman A. Fair shares: a preliminary framework and case analyzing the ethics of offshoring. Sci Eng Ethics. 2010;16:325-53 pubmed publisher
    ..The paper concludes with suggestions for further research. ..
  13. Martorelli Vico R. [The embryologicals passages in the 'Conciliator' of Peter of Abano: comparison between culturals models]. Med Secoli. 2008;20:509-24 pubmed
  14. Blank A. Material souls and imagination in late Aristotelian embryology. Ann Sci. 2010;67:187-204 pubmed publisher
  15. Musitelli S. [An outline of odontoiatry and odontology in the ancient world]. Med Secoli. 1996;8:207-35 pubmed
  16. Lofrano G, Brown J. Wastewater management through the ages: a history of mankind. Sci Total Environ. 2010;408:5254-64 pubmed publisher
    ..This review has been written in the belief that historical research showing the collective experience and "philosophy of sanitation" can provide inspiration to face future challenges. ..
  17. Massar N. 'Choose your master well'. Medical training, testimonies and claims to authority. Stud Anc Med. 2010;35:169-86 pubmed
    ..Sometimes this argument had to be confirmed by witnesses, in which case fellow-pupils or patients treated during a pupil's apprenticeship could come in useful. ..
  18. Leone S. The features of a "Mediterranean" Bioethics. Med Health Care Philos. 2012;15:431-6 pubmed publisher
  19. van der Eijk P. Nemesius of Emesa and early brain mapping. Lancet. 2008;372:440-1 pubmed
  20. Yeo I. [Heat and Fever in ancient Greek physiology]. Uisahak. 2009;18:189-203 pubmed
    ..Therefore, Canguilhem's theoretical scheme turns out to be very useful in analysing the relationship of normal heat and pathological heat as is manifested in ancient Greek physiology. ..
  21. Truitt E. The virtues of balm in late medieval literature. Early Sci Med. 2009;14:711-36 pubmed
    ..Travel writing and itineraria from the early and central medieval periods added a new layer to ideas about the capabilities of balsam: that it originated from a Christian miracle and was a particularly Christian plant. ..
  22. Katsambas A, Marketos S. Hippocratic messages for modern medicine (the vindication of Hippocrates). J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2007;21:859-61 pubmed
    ..Today's physician can still learn from the Hippocratic heritage and will need to be an expert Hippocratic physician, ever more humane and competent to use all new methods and facilities of basic dermatological research. ..
  23. Declercq N, Dekeyser C. Acoustic diffraction effects at the Hellenistic amphitheater of Epidaurus: seat rows responsible for the marvelous acoustics. J Acoust Soc Am. 2007;121:2011-22 pubmed
    ..Understanding and application of corrugated surfaces as filters rather than merely as diffuse scatterers of sound, may become imperative in the future design of modern theaters. ..
  24. Ajavon F. [Three historical examples of eugenics before Galton (1883): Plato, Soranus and Vandermonde (part II)]. Vesalius. 2006;12:25-9 pubmed
    ..We will be reminded that these three separate glimpses into the prehistory of Eugenics do not demonstrate a logically linked continuum, but do show a long-standing preoccupation with controlling life. ..
  25. Stol M. An Assyriologist reads Hippocrates. Stud Anc Med. 2004;27:63-78 pubmed
    ..They are found in the oldest layer in the Corpus Hippocraticum, De morbis 2.12-75; supposedly 'Cnidian opinions'. A good example is a method of draining pus from the chest that is also found in Babylonia. ..
  26. Yeo I. Hippocrates in the context of Galen: Galen's commentary on the classification of fevers in Epidemics VI. Stud Anc Med. 2005;31:433-43 pubmed
    ..A close examination of Galen's use of Epidemics VI does not support his justification. It turns out that it was Galen's theory-laden eyes that made Epidemics VI a founding ground for his fever theory. ..
  27. Retief F, Cilliers L. Tumours and cancers in Graeco-Roman times. S Afr Med J. 2001;91:344-8 pubmed
    ..There was, however, no recognition of benign and malignant, primary and secondary tumours, in the modern sense. ..
  28. Craik E. The Hippocratic treatise peri opsios (de Videndi Acie, On the organ of sight). Stud Anc Med. 2005;31:191-207 pubmed
    ..Evidence for an 'Egyptian' or 'Libyan' (North African) connection is adduced, and a case made for input from Cyrene. ..
  29. Retief F, Cilliers L. Periodic pyrexia and malaria in antiquity. S Afr Med J. 2006;96:684, 686-8 pubmed
  30. Mader D. The Greek mirror: the Uranians and their use of Greece. J Homosex. 2005;49:377-420 pubmed
    ..It also suggests that their arguments should be reexamined as a corrective to the present egalitarian model of homosexuality. ..
  31. Verstraete B. The originality of Tibullus' Marathus elegies. J Homosex. 2005;49:299-313 pubmed
    ..In this tradition, Tibullus' Marathus elegies stand out for their qualities of irony, dramatic engagement, and psychological finesse. ..
  32. York G, Steinberg D. The sacred disease of Cambyses II. Arch Neurol. 2001;58:1702-4 pubmed
    ..However, the view of epilepsy as a somatic disease and uncertainty about the cause of madness shows Herodotus as a transitional figure between supernatural and naturalistic medical theories. ..
  33. Rocca J. Galen on the brain: anatomical knowledge and physiological speculation in the second century AD. Stud Anc Med. 2003;26:1-313 pubmed
  34. Köhlmeier M. [Gleanings--(what does Asklepios mean? No mythology of ancient medicine]. Ultraschall Med. 2005;26:94-7 pubmed
  35. Laskaris J. The art is long: on the sacred disease and the scientific tradition. Stud Anc Med. 2002;25:1-171 pubmed
  36. Nayernouri T. Asclepius, Caduceus, and Simurgh as medical symbols, part I. Arch Iran Med. 2010;13:61-8 pubmed
    ..In the second part of this article (to be published later), I have made a tentative suggestion of why the Simorgh might be adopted as an Eastern or an Asian symbol for medicine. ..
  37. Lafont O. [Helen of Troy and medicine, a picture of the "Salle des Actes"]. Rev Hist Pharm (Paris). 2012;60:7-16 pubmed
    ..This study points out the importance of mythology so far as origins of Pharmacy are concerned. ..
  38. Soupios M. Impact of the plague in Ancient Greece. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2004;18:45-51 pubmed
  39. Rocca J. Galenic Dietetics. [Review of: Grant M. Galen on food and diet. London, Routledge, 2000]. Early Sci Med. 2003;8:44-51 pubmed
  40. Lee C, Jacobs R. Achilles (the man, the myth, the tendon). Iowa Orthop J. 2002;22:108-9 pubmed
  41. Viale G, Pau A, Sehrbundt E, Turtas S. The subchoroidal approach to the third ventricle: surgical anatomy according to Galen. Neurosurgery. 2001;49:986-90; discussion 990-1 pubmed
    ..Even more surprising is Galen's pioneering description of surgical maneuvers of the third ventricle in living animals in a way that anticipated the modern subchoroidal approach. ..
  42. Burke J. [Conversations with the Sphinx. Images of Greek myth in Freud's collection]. Luzif Amor. 2006;19:30-42 pubmed
    ..By describing these works of art and some of their mythological ramifications, the author suggests that they represented aspects of feminity not really covered by Freud's theories. ..
  43. Steger F. [Ancient dietetics - lifestyle and medicine]. NTM. 2004;12:146-60 pubmed
    ..In late Antiquity dietetical outlooks continue to be discussed, which were transferred to the Middle Ages and still show practical relevance. ..
  44. Park J. [Comparative research into the process of forming the theory of constitution in ancient western medicine and that of four trigrams constitution in Korean medicine and contents of two theories of constitution]. Uisahak. 2009;18:15-41 pubmed
    ..Recently, a lot of research is being conducted into making it objective in order to achieve reproducibility in diagnosis and so forth of Four Trigrams Constitution. ..
  45. Thompson R. Lantern of Diogenes: is "honest physician" a 21st century oxymoron?. Physician Exec. 2005;31:36-8 pubmed
  46. Christopoulou Aletra H, Papavramidou N. The manifestation of "gangrene" in the Hippocratic corpus. Ann Vasc Surg. 2009;23:548-51 pubmed publisher
    ..Their clinical manifestations, prognosis, and treatment are presented, together with general comments on the disease's etiology. ..
  47. Dayan A. What killed Socrates? Toxicological considerations and questions. Postgrad Med J. 2009;85:34-7 pubmed publisher
    ..It is suggested that Plato gave a modified account of the death of Socrates for political and other reasons by describing a more "noble" death. ..
  48. Vegetti M. [The origins of medical teaching]. Med Secoli. 2004;16:237-51 pubmed
    ..physician learn the principles of medical techne? Which are the standards adopted by physicians to choose their students? And, in absence of a real scholar training, in which way a young man can prepare himself to became a doctor? ..
  49. Menghi M. [The ambivalence of love: from physiologic need to disease of the soul and of the body]. Med Secoli. 2005;17:221-42 pubmed
  50. Fara P. Looking for Aristotle. Endeavour. 2008;32:44-6 pubmed publisher
    ..When modern interpreters try to impose definitive meanings on pictures, they run the risk of overlooking symbolic resonances which can be just as significant as direct representation. ..
  51. Dasen V. [The child who will never grow]. Med Secoli. 2006;18:431-57 pubmed
    ..Most objects relate short-statured people with the world of entertainement (musicians, athletes) and reveal their continuing function as good-luck bringers. ..
  52. Orfanos C. From Hippocrates to modern medicine. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2007;21:852-8 pubmed
  53. Farnetani A, Prodi N, Pompoli R. On the acoustics of ancient Greek and Roman theaters. J Acoust Soc Am. 2008;124:1557-67 pubmed publisher
    ..Finally some more specific wave phenomena are addressed and discussed. ..