The Father of Medicine

Which ancient Greek is credited with designing ethical standards for doctors?

And the answer: Hippocrates.

Often referred to as the "Father of Medicine," Hippocrates was a Greek physician and considered an important figure in the history of medicine. The Hippocratic Oath is an oath of ethical standards, part of which can be summarized as, "First do no harm."

Some several centuries later, the life and legend of Hippocrates remain inextricably linked. The large body of works to which we attribute Hippocrates' medical knowledge, the "Hippocratic Corpus," is a compilation that was completed some 100 years after his death. Moreover, much of what we know of Hippocrates' life comes from a biography written 500 years later. In fact, in recent years historians have come to theorize that Hippocrates was likely not the author of many of the writings that comprise Hippocratic Corpus. Some say that it was more likely other physicians later crafted it from his teachings.

Regardless of fact or fiction, Hippocrates remains a pillar of modern medicine even today. The Hippocratic Corpus presents a rudimentary understanding of the way the human body works, and is widely considered to contain the oldest writings on medicine. The Hippocratic Oath, a standard of ethics and care which doctors and nurses pledge to follow even today, is said to be based off of Hippocrates' own ethical practices. Whether or not this ancient figure authored the texts that continue to shape the practice of medicine, his name lives on as a signpost of care for doctors and patients alike.

For more on the Father of Medicine, check out this article.


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