The Corpus: The Hippocratic Writings (Kaplan Classics of Medicine)

The Corpus: The Hippocratic Writings (Classics of Medicine) - Hippocrates, Conrad Fischer
Life is short, and art long; pg. 47, Sec. 1, Aphorisms
Hippocrates, the Greek doctor from Kos who practiced in the 5th and 4th centuries B.C. is best known for the oath that takes his name. During a time when gods dispensed calamities upon Western man, he strove to refine and expand medicine into a professional art.

The Corpus, of questionable authorship, consists of various essays on medicine. Starting with the Oath of Hippocrates, the essays attempt to catalogue the science, practices and observations for future practitioners. Possibly with a medical background, the reader may appreciate the theories and conclusions Hippocrates draws from the symptoms he observes. For the layperson, most of the material will pass through undigested. It’s a clinical work. The Corpus, among other topics, covers symptoms seen in terms of imbalance in the four humours (blood, black bile, yellow bile and phlegm), bandaging techniques and contains over two dozen case studies of those afflicted in epidemics.

Hippocrates did not believe that disease could be explained away as divine retribution. Though I could appreciate Hippocrates refusal to align with his contemporaries who “use divinity as a pretext and screen of their own inability to their own inability to afford any assistance” pg. 100, On the Sacred Disease, I could only appreciate The Corpus as a historical piece. For its’ disciplined adherence to science and the transmittal of medical knowledge in a time when superstition reigned, it is most likely unparalleled. For its’ significance to the lay reader today, it is skim worthy.