, usually called the father of physic, was born in the island of Cos, about 460 B. C. He is said to have descended from Æsculapius, through a line of physicians who had all promoted the fame of the Coan school, and by his mother’s side he was the eighteenth lineal descendant from Hercules. He appears to have devoted himself to the medical art that he might perpetuate the honours of his family, and he has eclipsed them. Besides the empirical practice which was hereditary among them, he studied under Herodicus, who had invented the gymnastic medicine, and was instructed in philosophy and eloquence by Gorgias, a celebrated sophist and brother of Herodicus. He is also said to have been a pupil of Democritus, which appears improbable, and a follower of the doctrines of Heraclitus. In whatever study, however, he engaged, he appears to have pursued a rational plan, upon actual expedience, discarding the theories of those who never had practised the art, and hence is said to have been the first who separated the science of medicine from philosophy, or rather from mere speculation, which then assumed that name. Of the events of his life little is known with cer T tainty. He spent a great part of his time in travelling: during which he resided for a considerable period, at | varipus places, in which he was occupied in the practise of his art. His chief abode was in the provinces of Thessaly and Thrace, especially at Larissa, the capital of Thessaly, where he composed several books. According to Soranus, he spent some time at the court of Macedon, where he signalized himself, in consultation with Kuryphon, a senior physician, by detecting the origin of the malady of the young Perdiccas. His observation of the emotion of the prince on the appearance of Phila, a mistress of his father, led him to pronounce that love alone was capable of curing the disease which it had occasioned. His fame caused him to receive invitations from diiFerent cities of Greece. He is said to have been requested by the inhabitants of Abciera to go and cure their celebrated fellowcitizen, Democritus, of the madness under which they supposed him to labour, whom he pronounced not mad; but, the wisest man in their city. In a speech ascribed to his son Thessalus, still extant, we are told that Illyria and Paeonia being ravaged by the plague, the inhabitants of those countries offered large sums of money to induce Hippocrates to come to their relief; but forseeing that the pestilence was likely to penetrate into Greece, he refused to quit his own country, but sent his two sons, and his sonin-law, through the diiFerent provinces, to convey the proper instructions for avoiding the infection; he himself went to Thessaly, and thence to Athens, where he conferred such eminent services on the citizens, that they issued a decree honouring him with a crown of gold, and initiating him and his family in the sacred mysteries of Ceres and Proserpine. Hippocrates is likewise reported to have refused an invitation from Artaxerxes, king of Persia, accompanied by a promise of every reward and honour which he might desire, to repair to his dominions during a season of pestilence, which he refused; and that when the enraged king ordered the inhabitants of Cos to deliver up Hippocrates, they declared their resolution to defend the life and liberty of their valued countryman at all hazards, and nothing was attempted by the Persian. Most of these stories, however, are deemed fictitious by the most intelligent critics. The cure of the young Perdiccas probably originated from the report of a similar cure ascribed to Erasistratus; and the interview with Deraocntus is not supported by any satisfactory evidence. The relation of the services of Hippocrates, during the plague at Atbeps, | is altogether irreconcileable with the accounts of Galen and of Thucydides: besides, that plague commenced during the Peioponnesiin war, in the second year of the 87th olympiad, at which time Hippocrates was about thirty" years old, and therefore could not have had two sons or a son-in-law in a condition to practise. Dr. Ackerman justly conjectures, that these fables were all invented after the death of Hippocrates, and ascribed to him by the followers of the dogmatic sect, of which he was regarded as the founder. The letters and other pieces, which are preserved with the works of Hippocrates, and on the authority of which these anecdotes are related, are generally deemed spurious.

After a long life spent in the successful practice of his art, in perfecting his rational system of medical inquiry, and in forming disciples worthy to supply his place, Hippocrates died t Larissa in Thessaly, at the age of 85, or 90, or, as others affirm, of 104, or even 109 years. He was buried between that city and Gyrtona. Besides two sons, Thessalus and Draco, both eminent practitioners, he left a dan g liter, married to his favourite pupil, Poly bus, who arranged and published the works of his great master; he left also a number of disciples.

How dubious soever many of the circumstances of the life of Hippocrates may be, it is not questioned that he acquired a reputation, which has ranked him high among the great men of Greece, and which may be traced from age to age, from the time in which he flourished through all succeeding periods. He has not only passed, by almost universal consent, for the father of physic and the prince of physicians, but his opinions were every where respected as oracles, not only in the schools of medicine, but in the courts of law. Philosophers of every sect were eager to rend, to quote, and to comment upon his writings. He has shared with Plato the title of divine; and not only statues, but temples were erected to his memory, and his altars were covered with incense, like those of Æscuiapius himself. Indeed the qualifications and duties required in the character of the physician, were never more fully exemplified than in his conduct, or more eloquently described than by his pen. He had formed a very exalted notion of the dignity and usefulness of his profession, which is only lowered, he said, in the public estimation, by the ignorance of its professors; and he supported this dignity in his own | person by the most rigid attention to the morality of private lite, by great simplicity, candour, and benevolence in all his intercourse with the sick, and by unwearied zeal in investigating the nature and progress of diseases, and in administering to their cure. He is said to have admitted no one to his instructions without the solemnity of an oath, the form of which is transmitted to us among his writings.*


The following is a copy of this singularoath: “I swear by Apollo the physictan, by Æsculapius, by his daughters Hytjeia and Panacea, and by all the Gods and Goddesses, that, to the best of my power and judgment, I will faithfully observe this oath and obligation. The master that has instructed me in the art, I will esteem as my parents; and supply, as occasion may require, with the comforts and necessar/es of life. His children I will regard as my own brothers; and if they desire te learn, I will instruct them in the same art, without any reward or obligation. The precepts, the explanations, and whatever else belongs to the art, I will communicate to my own children, to the children of my master, to such other pupils as have subscribed the Physicians Oath, and to no other persons. My patients shall be treated by me, to the best of my power and judgment, in the most salutary manner, without any injury or violence: neither without any injury or violence: neither will I be prevailed upon by another to administer pernicious physic, or be the author of such advice myself: nor will I recommend to women a pessiry to procure abortion: but will live and practise chastely and religiously. Cutting for the stone I will not meddle with, but will leave it to the operators in that way. Whatever house I am sent for to attend, I will always make the patient’s good my principal aim, avoiding as much as possible all voluntary injury and corruption, especially all venereal matters, whether among men or women, bond or free. And whatever I see or hear in the course of a cure, or otherwise, relating to the affairs of life, nobody shall ever know it, if it ought to remain a secret. May I be prosperous in life and business, and for ever honoured and esteemed by all men, as I observe this solemn oath: and may the reverse of all this be my portion, if I violate it, and forswear myself.

The books attributed to Hippocrates amount to sevemytwo in number, of which, however, a considerable part are regarded as spurious; some containing opinions which were not prevalent till long after the age of Hippocrates, and some differing altogether in style and composition from the genuine writings of that master, which are composed in the ionic dialect, and are distinguished by a remarkable conciseness, and, as it were, compression oflanguage, which at times, indeed, borders upon obscurity. Some pieces have been obviously written after the commencement of the Christian tera; and Galen affirms that several interpolations and alterations were made by Dioscorides and Artemidorus, surnamed Capito, in the time of Adrian. Polybus, the son-in-law of Hippocrates, who collected and edited his works, is believed to have written some of the pieces, and Thessalus and Draco, his sons, as well as Hippocrates III. and IV., his grandsons, are supposed to have written others, especially several of the books of | Epidemies.” The following, however, are generally deemed original productions of Hippocrates the Coan namely, 1. The essay “On Air, Water*, and Soils” 2. The first and third books of “Epidemics” 3. The book On Prognostics 4. The fir&t and second books of “Predictions;” and 5. The books of “Aphorisms” but the two last contain many interpolations 6. The treatise *‘ On the Diet in acute diseases“7. That *’ On Wounds of the Head.” Haller includes several more treatises in the list of genuine works of Hippocrates, which have “been disputed, even from ancient times such as those” On the Nature of Man“”On the Humours;“”On Fractures;“”On the Joints;" tnd one or two others.

The prodigious degree of authority, so long attached to the writings of Hippocrates, has occasioned such a multitude of editions, versions, commentaries, dissertations, &c. that many pages would be required to enumerate them. The principal Greek editions are those of Aldus, at Venice, in 1526, folio; and of Frobenius at Basle, in 1538, folio; and the Latin editions are those of Cratander, at Basle, in 1526, folio, translated by several hands; of M. F. Calous, at Rome, 1525 and 1549, translated from Mss. in the Vatican, by order of pope Clement VII.; of J. Cornarius, at Venice, in 1545, 8vo, whose version has been frequently reprinted; and the version of Anutius Foesius, at Francfort, 1596, 8vo, by Wechel. The Greek and Latin editions are those of Hieronyrnus Mercurialis, at Venice, 1578, folio; of Z winger, with the version of Cornarius, at Basle, 1579, folio; of Anutius Foesius, at Francfort, 1595, several times reprinted; of J. A. Vander Linden, also with the Latin version of Cornarius, at Leyden, 1665, 2 vols. 8vo. reprinted at Venice, 1757, in 2 vols. 4to.; of Renatus Chartrier, together with the works of Galen, at Paris, in 14 vols. folio; and of Steph. Mack, at Vienna, 1743, 1749, and 1759, 2 vols. folio. 1


Rees’s Cyclopædia, where is a masterly analysis of the doctrines of Hippocrates. Fab. Bibl. Gvjbc, edit, by Harks, vol. II. —Haller BiW. Med. Pract. See.