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The Invention of Medicine

From Homer to Hippocrates

Robin Lane Fox

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Allen Lane
17 November 2020
History; Classical history & classical civilisation; Classical Greek & Roman archaeology; Western philosophy: Ancient, to c 500; History of science; Abbey's Double Rewards; Advocate - History
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Medicine is one of the great fields of achievement of the Ancient Greeks. Hippocrates is celebrated worldwide as the father of medicine and the Hippocratic Oath is admired throughout the medical profession as a founding statement of ethics and ideals. In the fifth century BC, Greeks even wrote of medicine as a newly discovered craft they had invented. Robin Lane Fox's remarkable book puts their invention of medicine in a wider context, from the epic poems of Homer to the first doctors known to have been active in the Greek world. He examines what we do and do not know about Hippocrates and his Oath and the many writings that survive under his name. He then focuses on seven core texts which give the case histories of named individuals, showing that they belong far earlier than previously recognised. Their re-dating has important consequences for the medical awareness of the great Greek dramatists and the historians Herodotus and Thucydides. Robin Lane Fox pieces together the doctor's thinking from his terse observations and relates it in a new way to the history of Greek prose and ideas. This original and compelling book opens windows onto many other aspects of the classical world, from women's medicine to street-life, art, sport, sex and even botany. It fills a dark decade in a new way and carries readers along an extraordinary journey form Homer's epics to the grateful heirs of the Greek case histories, first in the Islamic world and then in early modern Europe.
By:   Robin Lane Fox
Imprint:   Allen Lane
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 240mm,  Width: 162mm,  Spine: 39mm
Weight:   687g
ISBN:   9780241277058
ISBN 10:   0241277051
Pages:   304
Publication Date:   17 November 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Robin Lane Fox is Emeritus Fellow of New College, Oxford, and taught Ancient History at Oxford University from 1977 to 2014. He is the author of Pagans and Christians (1986), The Unauthorized Version (1992) and many books on classical history, all of which have been widely translated, including Alexander the Great (1973), The Classical World (2005), Travelling Heroes (2008) and Augustine- Conversions to Confessions (2015) which won the Wolfson Prize for History. He has been the gardening correspondent of the Financial Times since 1970.

Reviews for The Invention of Medicine: From Homer to Hippocrates

In this engaging history by the biographer of Alexander the Great, lightened with wry donnish wit... readers can enjoy a vivid ride through a part of Greece little visited in either body or mind. -- Peter Stothard * Financial Times *


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