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Why Were Hippocrates And Galen Influential For So Long?

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Why Were Hippocrates And Galen Influential For So Long? Hippocrates (460? - 370? B.C.) is acknowledged as the father of modern medicine. He was born on the island of Kos, and taught medicine there before dying in Larissa. He is known as the founder of holistic medicine, because he was the first to attribute illness to be one of the four elements - fire, water, earth, and air - rather than an affliction given by the gods. However, locals believed Hippocrates was a descendant of Asklepios, god of medicine. Hippocrates himself was a good example of his philosophy: he died aged 104. He is associated with the Hippocratic Oath and also the Hippocratic Corpus. ...read more.


During the medieval period the church dominated society, it controlled universities, libraries and towns. However it wasn't just the church that kept Galen and Hippocrates' ideas influential for so long. Galen remained influential for 1500 years for many reasons; he wrote down his ideas and he was highly respected therefore people were scared to criticise his ideas. His theories were acceptable to the Christian and Muslim religions as Galen often talked about the "creator" in his writings. This fitted in well with the church. The church in the Middle Ages believed that if people started to prove Galen's ideas to be wrong then others may start to question the existence of god. ...read more.


About the same time medical schools began to appear in Western Europe, starting with the one in Salerno, Italy. This taught both men and women and had some women professors. Translations of the Arabic versions of Galen and Hippocrates were accepted as the absolute truth. This hindered the progress of medicine, however it wasn't Galen's and Hippocrates' fault because they were not allowed to dissect humans which meant that there medical knowledge of the human anatomy was based on animals. Galen's and Hippocrates' ideas were a strange mixture of commonsense and factual inaccuracies, however their ideas fitted in with the church, which at that time was very powerful. This meant that the church controlled society-forcing people to believe in Galen's and Hippocrates' ideas even though they had been round since the Roman period. This is the main reason why Hippocrates Galen stayed influential for so long. Oliver Maltby 10A ...read more.

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