History of Medicine
National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health
Greek Medicine
I swear by Apollo Physician... Greek Medicine from the Gods to Galen

Time Line


700 B.C.E.

Homer writes of Apollo, the bringer and reliever of plagues in The Iliad

600 B.C.E.

The rise of Greek science and philosophy: Thales begins inquiries about nature and physics

580 B.C.E.

Pythagoras born at Samos; later founds a scientific and philosophical cult

480 B.C.E.

Empedocles born; noted philosopher and physician

460 B.C.E.

The most noted "Hippocrates" born; the Hippocratic Corpus begins its formation

384 B.C.E.

Aristotle born; noted philosopher and scientist

334-325 B.C.E.

Alexander the Great conquers Egypt, the Middle East and Western India, bringing Greek culture and learning

330 B.C.E.-100 C.E.

Alexandria serves as a center for Greek scholarship, including medicine

146 B.C.E.

Greece becomes a Roman protectorate

50-70 C.E.

Dioscorides writes Περι υλης ιατρικης, known in Latin as De materia medica

129 C.E.

Galen born; noted physician

150 C.E.

Artemidorus writes Oneirocritica

476 C.E.

As the Western Roman Empire falls, Western physicians begin to lose contact with Greek scholars and texts in the East

632-1200 C.E.

Islam grows, eventually taking over Egypt and much of the Hellenized Middle East; Arab medical scholars take an intense interest in the Greek physicians; texts are copied in Greek and translated into Arabic

1200-1350 C.E.

News from Crusaders and texts found during their raids renew Western scholars’ interest in Greek medicine; the Greek language is mostly unknown, however

1450-1598 C.E.

With the fall of Constantinople in 1453, many Byzantine scholars emigrate to Italy, bringing Greek texts and teaching the language; Greek medical texts are printed with vigor and studied dogmatically

1540-1800 C.E.

Western scholars begin to question the data in Greek medical texts, but take up their methods of scientific enquiry and experimentation, developing modern Western medicine

1800 C.E.

Greek medical texts become the focus of modern Classical scholars and historians of medicine


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