The actual science of the Hippocratic school was of course very limited.
It is doubtful whether the treatise in which this theory is fully expounded is as old as Hippocrates himself; but it was regarded as a Hippocratic doctrine, and, when taken up and expanded by Galen, its terms not only became the common property of the profession, but passed into general literature and common language.
The work of Celsus is thus for us only second in importance to the Hippocratic writings and the works of Galen; but it is valuable rather as a part of the history of medicine than as the subject of that history.
But they often show much practical experience, and exhibit the naturalistic method of the Hippocratic school.
In the other non-Hippocratic writings Ermerins thinks he can distinguish the hands of no fewer than nineteen different authors, most of them anonymous, and some of them very late.
The elaborate collections made by Daremberg of medical notices in the poets and historians illustrate the relations of the profession to society, but do little to prepare us for the Hippocratic period.
The latter was that to which Hippocrates belonged, and where he gave instruction; and accordingly it may be taken that works of this school, when not obviously of a different date, are Hippocratic in doctrine if not in actual authorship.
The first grand characteristic of Hippocratic medicine is the high conception of the duties and status of the physician, shown in the celebrated "Oath of Hippocrates" and elsewhere - equally free from the mysticism of a priesthood and the vulgar pretensions of a mercenary craft.
The second great quality is the singular artistic skill and balance with which the Hippocratic physician used such materials and tools as he possessed.
In the fourth place, these views of the "natural history of disease" (in modern language) led to habits of minute observation and accurate interpretation of symptoms, in which the Hippocratic school was unrivalled in antiquity, and has been the model for all succeeding ages, so that even in these days, with our enormous advances in knowledge, the true method of clinical medicine may be said to be the method of Hippocrates.
Though the Hippocratic medicine was so largely founded on observation, it would be an error to suppose that dogma or theory had no place.
Another Hippocratic doctrine, the influence of which is not even yet exhausted, is that of the healing power of nature.
The times at which crises were to be expected were naturally looked for with anxiety; and it was a cardinal point in the Hippocratic system to foretell them with precision.
It follows from what has been said that prognosis, or the art of foretelling the course and event of the disease, was a strong point with the Hippocratic physicians.
In the treatment of disease, the Hippocratic school attached great importance to diet, the variations necessary in different diseases being minutely defined.
Medicines were regarded as of secondary importance, but not neglected, two hundred and sixty-five drugs being mentioned at different places in the Hippocratic works.
The principles of treatment just mentioned apply more especially to the cure of acute diseases; but they are the most salient characteristics of the Hippocratic school.
But, insensibly, the least valuable part of the Hippocratic work, the theory, was made permanent; the most valuable, the practical, neglected.
It is here that the real continuation and development of Hippocratic medicine can be traced.
The doctrines of Hippocrates... were no doubt very widely accepted, but the practice of the Hippocratic school had been greatly improved in almost every department - surgery and obstetrics being probably those in which the Alexandrian practitioners could compare most favourably with those of modern times.
Asclepiades had many pupils who adhered more or less closely to his doctrines, but it was especially one of them, Themison, who gave permanence to the teachings of his master by framing out of them, with some modifications, a new system of medical doctrine, and founding on this basis a school which lasted for some centuries in successful rivalry with the Hippocratic tradition, which, as we have seen, was up to that time the prevailing influence in medicine.
Treatment of disease was directed not to any special organ, nor to producing the crises and critical discharges of the Hippocratic school, but to correcting the morbid common condition or "community," relaxing the body if it was constricted, causing contraction if it was too lax, and in the "mixed state" acting according to the predominant condition.
The methodists agreed with the empirics in one point, in their contempt for anatomy; but, strictly speaking, they were dogmatists, though with a dogma different from that of the Hippocratic school.
He reversed the Hippocratic maxim "art is long," promising his scholars to teach them the whole of medicine in six months, and had inscribed upon his tomb iaTpovLKc, 7 r, as being superior to all living and bygone physicians.
It was the first definite product of Greek medicine on Roman soil, but was destined to be followed by others, which kept up a more or less successful rivalry with it, and with the Hippocratic tradition.
This doctrine, crudely transferred from philosophical speculation, was intended to reconcile the humoral (or Hippocratic) and solidist (or methodic) schools; but the methodists seem to have claimed Athenaeus as one of themselves.
The whole body of medical literature belonging to the Hippocratic and Alexandrian times is ably summarized, and a knowledge of the state of medical science up to and during the times of the author is thus conveyed to us which can be obtained from no other source.
His general physiology was essentially founded upon the Hippocratic theory of the four elements, with which he combined the notion of spirit (pneuma) penetrating all parts, and mingled with the humours in different proportions.
The application of physiology to the explanation of diseases, and thus to practice, was chiefly by the theory of the temperaments or mixtures which Galen founded upon the Hippocratic doctrine of humours, but developed with marvellous and fatal ingenuity.
The influence of Arabian medicine soon began to be felt even in the Hippocratic city of Salerno, and in the r3th century is said to have held an even balance with the older medicine.
The Hippocratic and also Galenic rule, to let blood from, or near to, the diseased organ, was revived by Pierre Brissot (1470-1522), a professor in the university of Paris.
The revival of Galenic and Hippocratic medicine, though ultimately it conferred the greatest benefits on medical sciences, did not immediately produce any important or salutary reform in practical medicine.
Although not accurate in the conclusions reached at the time, the value of the method of diagnosis is shown by the retention in modern medicine of the name and the practice of " Hippocratic succussion."
The Hippocratic Collection consists of eighty-seven treatises, of which a part only can be accepted as genuine.
The treatises have been classified according to (I) the direct evidence of ancient writers, (2) peculiarities of style and method, and (3) the presence of anachronisms and of opinions opposed to the general Hippocratic teaching - greatest weight being attached to the opinions of Erotian and Galen.
(with a few interpolations), On Airs, Waters, and Places, On Injuries of the Head (" insigne fragmentum libri Hippocratei "), the former portion of the treatise On Regimen in Acute Diseases, and the " obviously Hippocratic " fragments of the Coon Prognostics.
The earliest Greek edition of the Hippocratic writings is that which was published by Aldus and Asulanus at Venice in 1526 (folio); it was speedily followed by that of Frobenius, which is much more accurate and complete (fol., Basel, 1538).
He quotes with approbation the Hippocratic doctrine referred to above; and 1 The Act 39 Elizabeth c. 4 (1597-1598) declared " all persons fayning to have knowledge of Phisiognomie or like Fantasticall Ymaginacious " liable to " be stripped naked from the middle upwards and openly whipped until his body be bloudye."
Here we recognize the true Greek But this artistic completeness was closely connected with the third cardinal virtue of Hippocratic medicine - the clear recognition of disease as being equally with life a process governed by what we should now call natural laws, which could be known by observation, and which indicated the spontaneous and normal direction of recovery, by following which alone could the physician succeed.
A treatise on the diseases of women, contained in the Hippocratic collection, and of remarkable practical v alue, is attributed to this school.
The above sketch of Hippocratic medicine will make it less necessary to dwell upon the details relating to subsequent medical schools or sects in ancient times.
The general conception of the physician's aim and task remained the same, though, as knowledge increased, there was much divergence both in theory and practice - even opposing schools were found to be developing some part of the Hippocratic system.