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Greek Mythology > People, Places, & Things > Hippocratic Oath
H to Helike Helikon to Hexa Hieroglyphics to Holy Twain Homados to Hystaspes 2
The oath taken by medical doctors which is attributed to the greatest Greek physician of all time, Hippokrates (Hippocrates).
Hippokrates was born on the island of Kos (Cos) circa 460 BCE and recognized in his own lifetime as a remarkable scientist.
I would like to thank Lewis Stiles for his kind permission to use his translation of the Hippocratic Oath and the explanatory notes:
I swear, by Apollo the healer (iatros) and Asklepios and Hygeia and Panaceia and all gods and goddesses, making them witnesses, to fulfill according to my ability and my discretion (krisis) this oath and this legal agreement (syngraphe); to consider him who taught me this skill (techne) as equal to my own parents, and to share with him my livelihood, and to make a contribution of money to him at his need, and to judge his progeny as equal to my brothers in male lineage, and to teach this skill (techne), if they need to learn it, without profit and without legal agreement; to make a contribution of instruction and of what I have heard and of all other learning to my own sons and to the sons of him who taught me and to learners who are under legal agreement and who have also sworn by the law (nomos) appropriate to healing (iatric-), but to no other. I will use dietetic measures (diatema) for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and my discretion (krisis), and I will keep them (? or “myself?”) from harm and injustice. I will not give a deadly drug (pharmacon), not to anyone, when asked, nor will I suggest such a plan of action; similarly I will not give a destructive pessary [FN 1] to a woman. In a pure way and in a holy way I will conduct my life and my skill (techne). I will not cut, not even, indeed, those with stones (lithantes), but I will give place to men who are doers of this action. Into whatsoever houses I might go, I will enter for the benefit of the sick, being outside of all willing injustice and destructiveness and, especially, being outside of deeds appropriate to Aphrodite on the bodies of women and of men, free or slave. And what I might see or hear during treatment (therapeu-), or even apart from treatment, regarding the life of men, which it is not ever necessary to proclaim outside, I will be silent about, considering such things to be unutterable. On the one hand, therefore, for me fulfilling this oath and not violating it let there be enjoyment of a reputation for my life and skill (techne) among all men for all time; on the other hand, for me transgressing and falsely swearing, let there be the opposite of these things.
(Notes: [FN 1] Pessary: “from...Greek pessos, an oval stone used in playing a game like draughts; hence a medicated plug...of wool, lint, etc., to be inserted in the neck of the womb [or anus], etc., for the cure of various ailments....”
Notice: This translation is the copyrighted property of the author (Lewis Stiles) and should not be reproduced without the author’s permission. You may contact Lewis Stiles through the web site: http://duke.usask.ca/~porterj/DeptTransls/HippOath.html
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