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Definition of «Greek medicine»

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Greek medicine: Medicine in Greece and the Greek world. The foundations of much of modern Western medicine lie in classical Greece, from about 800 B.C.E. to about 200 C.E. During this period, Greek medicine departed from the divine and mystical and moved toward observation and logical reasoning. These ideas spread throughout the Mediterranean world and as far east as India, and their influence has remained strong in the West to this day.

After the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, most works of the Greek physicians were lost to Western Europe. In the 14th and 15th centuries, however, Western Europeans began to rediscover Greek scientific and medical texts. This was due in part to the discovery of Arab repositories of learning in Spain and elsewhere during the Crusades as well as the immigration to Italy of Byzantine scholars at the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

At first Greek theories, prescriptions, and procedures were accepted as medical dogma about human anatomy, physiology, and treatment. Later, however, the Greeks' entreaties to their readers to observe the human body and the world around them won out, and scholars began to perform their own research, leading to much of the medicine practiced in the West today.

See also: Achilles; Apollo; Artemidorus; Aristotle; Asclepius; Chiron; Dioscorides; Eileithyia; Galen; Hera; Hippocrates; Hygieia; and Pythagoras.

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