The Ancient Library
 

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THE HIPPOCSATICS

science were to progress and retrograde to­gether. I refer to the true Greek medical tradition; for there were quacks in Greece, as there have been ever since; today people still troop after them. But in speaking of our debt to Greece in medicine, we have in mind the broad currents of good practice and in­creasing knowledge which flow full in the Hip-pocratic writings, continue on through the great physicians and anatomists of Alexandria, and spread themselves abroad over the Roman Empire until, six hundred years after Hippoc­rates, they are brought together in the ample system of Galen. It is convenient to proceed chronologically in this little attempt to follow the interrelations of Greek biology and medicine.

The almost consciously schematic and in­troductory tract On Ancient Medicine is usually placed first in the Hippocratic writings.6 As its name implies, and its contents make clear, it sets forth no novel system, but bases its argument upon the experience and clinical observation of generations. Like other writings of the master, or his immediate school, it will steer a safe course between a crude and hap­hazard empiricism and distorting the teach-

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