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December 13, 1995

History of Medicine: Greek Medicine, vol 2

Author Affiliations

South Dakota State University Brookings

JAMA. 1995;274(22):1815-1816. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530220081049

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Greek Medicine is the second book in the History of Medicine series. The first in the series, Primitive and Ancient Medicine, was published three years ago.

Dr Prioreschi's current work is arranged to first give the reader a historical basis for the culture of the era. In the first section, he includes an interesting 20-page portion on homosexuality in ancient Greece. The second section covers a tremendous amount of philosophy in 60 pages, to set the tone for the third section on science and technology. This arrangement is important, because Greek philosophy was a deductive process and thus biased the Greeks against the sort of inductive reasoning used in the modern scientific method.

A short section on pre-Hippocratic medicine leads into the meat of the book, almost 200 pages on the two leading schools of medicine (analogous to allopathy and osteopathy in today's world). Dr Prioreschi recounts the transition from

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