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Headword: Hippokratês
Adler number: iota,564
Translated headword: Hippocrates, Hippokrates
Vetting Status: high
Of Cos, physician, son of Heraclides. For let him be placed before his grandfather, the father of Heraclides, even if they share the same name, because of his having been the star and the light of useful medicine. He was a descendant from someone called Chrysus[1] and his son Elaphus, both themselves physicians. This man was at first a pupil of his father, but after that of Herodicus from Selymbria[2] and the rhetor Gorgias from Leontini,[3] and as some say he was also a pupil of the philosopher[4] Democritus of Abdera, for as an old man he devoted himself to the youth; and according to some also [a pupil] of Prodicus.[5] He travelled to Macedonia as he was very much a friend of king Perdiccas.[6] He had two sons, Thessalus[7] and Draco. He died after a long life and, having become 104 [years old], he was interred at Larissa in Thessaly. He threw his cloak over his head and covered it, whether this was a habit of his or [resulting] from the fondness of travelling or for his own professional reasons.
This man wrote much and became well known to many; and as a result the king of the Persians, the one called Artaxerxes, wrote to Hystanes, being in need of the man's wisdom: "Great King of Kings Artaxerxes to Hystanes, commander of the Hellespont, greetings. Hippocrates, physician from Cos, and of the family of Asclepius, has in his art a renown which has become known to me. So give him as much gold as he wants, in profusion anything else he lacks, and send him to us. For he will be considered equal to the first of the Persians. And if there is in Europe any other excellent man, get him to be associated with the house of the king, sparing no expense. For it is not easy to find people that have a strength in their advice. Be well!" [8] The books written by Hippocrates are conspicuous for medical knowledge to all who approach them; and thus they welcome them as voices of a god, not as words coming from the mouth of a man. Above all we must mention: the first book which contains the oath; the second, which explains prognosis; and the third, of aphorisms surpassing human understanding. Let the fourth place be held by the much-discussed and much-admired Book Sixty, which encompasses the whole of medical knowledge and wisdom.
Greek Original:
Hippokratês, Kôios, iatros, Hêrakleidou huios. protetachthô gar kai tou pappou, tou Hêrakleidou patros, ei kai homônumos ên, dia to astera kai phôs tês biôphelestatês iatrikês genesthai. apogonos de Chrusou tounoma kai Elaphou, tou ekeinou paidos, iatrôn kai autôn. houtos mathêtês gegone to men prôton tou patros, meta de tauta Hêrodikou tou Sêlubrianou kai Gorgiou tou Leontinou, rhêtoros kai philosophou: hôs de tines Dêmokritou tou Abdêritou, epibalein gar auton neôi presbutên: hôs de tines kai Prodikou. dietripse de en Makedoniai, philos ôn sphodra tôi basilei Perdikkai. paidas de schôn duo, Thessalon kai Drakonta, katestrepse ton bion eniautôn gegonôs tessarôn kai hekaton kai tethaptai en Larissêi tês Thettalias. en de tais eikosin historeitai to himation epi tên kephalên anabeblêmenos kai skepomenos: ê hoti touto ethos ên autôi ê dia to philapodêmon ê to idion en tais cheirourgiais. houtos egrapse polla kai pasin egeneto diadêlos: hôste kai ton tôn Persôn basilea, ton kaloumenon Artaxerxên, grapsai pros Hustanên, tês tou andros sophias deomenon: basileus basileôn megas Artaxerxês Hustanêi Hellêspontou huparchôi chairein. Hippokratous iêtrou Kôiou, apo Asklêpiou gegonotos, es eme kleos aphiktai technês. dos oun autôi chruson, hoposon an boulêtai, kai talla chudên hôn spanizei, kai pempe pros hêmeas. estai gar isotimos Perseôn toisin aristoisi. kai ei tis allos estin anêr kat' Eurôpên agathos, philon oikôi basileôs titheso mê pheidomenos olbou: andras gar heurein dunamenous ti kata sumbouliên ou rhaidion. errôso. hai men oun grapheisai par' Hippokratous bibloi pasi tois meterchomenois tên iatrikên epistêmên ekdêloi: kai houtôs autas kataspazontai hôs theou phônas kai ouk anthrôpinou proelthousas ek stomatos. plên tôn en prôtois kai hêmeis apomnêmoneusômen. prôtê men oun biblos hê ton horkon periechousa, deutera de hê tas prognôseis emphainousa, tritê hê tôn aphorismôn anthrôpinên huperbainousa sunesin: tetartên taxin echetô hê poluthrullêtos kai poluthaumastos Hexêkontabiblos, hê pasan iatrikên epistêmên te kai sophian emperiechousa.
See generally OCD(4) s.v. Hippocrates(2).
The author of the present Suda entry probablt took his information from an epitome of the Onomologos of Hesychius of Meletus (C6 CE). See J. Rubin Pinault (below) 18-21 for a discussion and comparison with other versions.
cf. iota 565, iota 566, iota 567, iota 568, iota 569.
[1] See the pseudepigraphic speech found in the Hippocratic Corpus, the Presbeutikos (Epidemics 27.3-4; W. Smith pp. 113-114) for the story in which the Asclepiads Chrysus and his father Nebrus assist the Greeks in the First Sacred War.
[2] (eta 535.) Jouanna p.18, 166-7. See also also Plato, Republic 3.406A. Herodicus was criticized in Epid. 6.3.18 (Loeb ed, vol. iv, 229) for killing persons with severe healing methods. "H. killed fever patients with burning, much wrestling and hot baths, bad procedure." So what kind of teacher would that have been? The tradition of these names comes from Soranus via Tzetzes and is probably spurious (Jouanna, p.18).
[3] gamma 388; Jouanna p.422, note 52.
[4] philosophou taken with Democritus, not Gorgias: see Adler's apparatus (Gaisford, following Soranus and Tzetzes). For Democritus see delta 447, delta 448.
[5] pi 2365; cf. Jouanna, p. 247. P. was a sophist and leading expert on language and reality; he may have influenced Hp. Art 11, Loeb ed. vol. ii, p. 211.
[6] OCD(4) s.v. Perdiccas(2); ruled 450-413. The story of how Hippocrates cured Perdiccas of love-sickness is one of the major Hippocratic biographical vignettes. See J. Rubin Pinault, pp. 61-77, also Tzetzes 7.155, Vita Hippocrates Secundum Soranum, in Ilberg, Sorani Gynaeciorum libri IV, CMG IV, Leipzig: 1927, p. 176, ll. 4-10.
[7] Thessalus and Draco help Hippocrates spread a therapy for a plague in Presbeutikos (7.14-20). For Thessalus, see iota 566.
[8] Hp. Epid. 3. Scholarship since Littre has not held these letters to be original. See W. Smith, Hippocrates: Pseudepigraphic Writings, pp. 18-19. Hystanes wrote to Hippocrates to ask him to consider the offer, "The Great King Artaxerxes desiring you sent subordinates to me and bade me give you silver and gold and abundantly all else you want and need and bade me send you to him quickly. You will be honoured equally with the foremost of the Persians. Please come immediately." Hp. Epid. 4. Translation in Smith pp. 48ff.; also in Stobaeus 3.13.51. The anecdote was also known in Arabic tradition: Ali Ibn Ridwan writes (Sur la vie du bonheur, p. 22) "His renown was so great during his lifetime that the king of Persia named Artaxerxes, the king of kings offered him one hundred quintar of gold, a prominent position and splendid treasures if he came to him at his service as physician. But Hippocrates refused and gave no reply." According to tradition, Hippocrates wrote back: "Hippocrates the physician to Hystanes, governor of the Hellespont. Greetings. In response to the letter you sent which you said came from the King, write to the King and send him as quickly as possible what I say: I have enough food, clothing, shelter and all substance sufficient for life. It is not proper that I should enjoy Persian opulence or save Persians from disease, since they are enemies of the Greeks. Be well!" Hp. Epid. 5. Even if this is all bogus, it is an interesting correspondence which was widely quoted in Late Antiquity. In Roman times, the exchange of letters was well-known: "The excellent physician will disdain Artaxerxes and not be able to show himself to his view even for a single moment." (Galen: Med Phil 3.: Quod optimus medicus sit quoque philosophus.) Hippocrates' refusal was also used in Rome to increase mistrust of Greek physicians; cf. Plutarch, referring to Cato, in Life of Cato the Elder 23.3 - 4.350 c, from Jouanna, p.424, note 76. See also J. Rubin Pinault, pp. 79-126 for the Artaxerxes story and its transmission into Arabic accounts.
Jacques Jouanna, Hippocrates (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press 1999). [Probably the best recent book on H.]
Ali bin Ridwan, Sur la vie de bonheur. A. Dietrich (ed.), Göttingen 1981.
W.D. Smith, Hippocrates: Pseudepigraphic Writings = Studies in Ancient Medicine , Vol. 2, Leiden: Brill 1990 [A critical edition and thorough introduction to the texts that make up the early formation of the Hippocratic biography]
J. Rubin Pinault, Hippocratic Lives and Legends = Studies in Ancient Medicine , Vol 4, Leiden: Brill 1992 [Th subsequent development of this early tradition including Arabic permutations]
S. Sherwin-White, Ancient Cos, Göttngen: 1978 [On the history of Cos -- but for development of the Asclepiadai, see also W. Smith (above) pp. 9f]
Keywords: biography; chronology; economics; ethics; geography; history; medicine; religion; rhetoric
Translated by: Carl Widstrand on 18 February 2000@15:54:36.
Vetted by:
Ross Scaife ✝ (added alternate spelling) on 19 February 2000@14:51:11.
Eric Nelson on 11 June 2002@22:25:26.
Eric Nelson on 12 June 2002@16:36:53.
Ross Scaife ✝ (restored translation) on 12 June 2002@17:44:28.
Catharine Roth (modified translation, added keyword, other cosmetics) on 13 June 2002@00:30:26.
Catharine Roth (modified punctuation) on 13 June 2002@00:32:37.
David Whitehead (supplemented translation; augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 17 June 2002@09:16:44.
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; tweaking) on 14 January 2013@07:34:07.
Catharine Roth (deleted links, coding) on 2 September 2013@20:10:07.
David Whitehead on 4 August 2014@03:54:28.
David Whitehead on 4 August 2014@03:55:14.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 22 November 2014@00:04:58.
David Whitehead (more coding) on 27 April 2016@04:09:33.
Catharine Roth (typo, cosmeticule) on 9 February 2019@23:42:17.


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