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Hippocrates Lesson for Kids: Biography & Facts

Instructor: Michelle Jones

Michelle has taught at the elementary level and has earned a master's degree.

Many current medical theories and practices originated from a man who lived over 2,000 years ago. Hippocrates was ahead of his time in his thoughts on disease and patients. Come explore what contributions to modern medicine Hippocrates made.

Who Was Hippocrates?

Have you ever had an ear infection or any illness that you had to take medicine for? The medicine would have made you feel better and stopped your illness from getting worse. You have Hippocrates, a doctor who lived in ancient Greece, to thank for that. Many people think of him as the father of modern medicine. Let's take a look at how he got that impressive title.

How Hippocrates Came to Be a Doctor

Hippocrates was born around 460 BCE on the Greek island of Kos. He was born into a wealthy family, which allowed him to receive a good education. He decided to become a doctor like his father, and studied under him and another physician named Herodicos.

Hippocrates learned from them by watching what they did and how they treated patients. It is thought that Hippocrates also traveled to Libya, Egypt, and the mainland of Greece to learn what doctors were doing in other countries. This greatly increased his knowledge about the medical field.

This portrait of Hippocrates was painted in 1665.
portrait of Hippocrates

Practicing and Teaching Medicine

Eventually, Hippocrates wanted to share all that he had learned from his observations and travels. He passed down his knowledge to his two sons and the students of the medical school he opened in his homeland of Kos. During this time, he wrote about his medical findings and beliefs. His and other doctors' writings of this time were put together in over 60 books called the Hippocratic Corpus. Hippocrates strongly believed in doctors sharing information so that all patients would benefit.

Hippocrates changed how people thought about how diseases developed. He believed there were natural causes of diseases, unlike others who thought diseases were caused by gods. His theories of disease and medicine were based on science, not philosophy.

I'm sure you've heard a doctor, your parents, and teachers tell you to eat healthy and get plenty of exercise. Hippocrates also promoted this concept. He would prescribe a healthy diet and exercise to patients with minor illnesses, but realized some would also need medicine, which was made from plants.

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