A history of classical scholarship / Vol. 3 by John Sandys, Sir

By John Sandys, Sir

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By John Sandys, Sir

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The range of localities mentioned in a concluding generalisation in the Hippocratic treatise Prognostic about the common validity of prognostic observations – in Libya, Delos and Scythia – may identify significant regions of contemporary medical practice, rather than merely southern, central and eastern regions of the known Greek world. It is possible that Babylon (conquered by the Persians in 539 bc ) had some influence on early Greek medicine. 25 However, in discussing different diseases, the use of lists is perhaps a natural methodological recourse and the coincident elements in disease taxonomy do not seem so remarkable.

It is incongruous also, in that it remains unfulfilled. The tone of the prologue differs from that of the ensuing content. The intellectual emphasis, invoking intelligence (adjective συνετός), understanding (verb ἐπίστασθαι repeated seven times), judgment (substantive γνώμη twice repeated), consideration (verb λογίζεσθαι), discrimination (verb διαγιγνώσκειν) and a process of ‘knowledge and study’ (verbs εἰδὼς καὶ ἐπιτηδεύων), is peculiar to this part of the work. Nevertheless, the contrast so emphatically set up between the ἰδιώτης ‘layman’ and χειροτέχνης ‘professional’ at the outset does recur, and that in contexts where the importance of understanding is reiterated, at least tangentially (33 and 45).

34; 68 = L. 35; 69 = L. 36; 70 = L. 37; 71= L. 38; 72 = L. 39. Content (Acut. A) It is conceded that, ‘The authors of the so-called Knidian Opinions have correctly written of the experiences of sufferers from individual diseases and of the 2â•… The ‘Hippocratic’ Works outcome of some diseases’; but objected that they omit much of importance, that decisions on treatment are poor, and that treatment is restricted to purges, whey and milk. There is then modified praise for the revisers (of the Knidian Opinions) who had greater medical acumen in prescription, but criticism follows: all these writers of old overlooked the importance of regimen, and incorrectly supposed there to be a direct coincidence between individual diseases and particular names for them.

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