My interest in the long account that Herodotus (Histories III 125; 129-137) gives of the biographical vicissitudes of the physician Democedes of Croton (VI-V century BC) arises from the examination of some terms (the adverb ἀτρεκέως and the compound verb ἐξορκόω) which define the ways in which, in Herodotus’ representation, the doctor-patient relationship must necessarily be worked out in order to be able to speak of true medical art. In the narrative of Democedes’ forced stay at the Persian court, there stands out the clinical story of Queen Atossa, Darius’ wife: with her Democedes established a relationship of trust as a physician based on respect for her prerogatives as a female patient. From a detailed comparison between Herodotus’ testimony and some documents of Hippocratic medicine, a marked consonance, or even coincidence, emerges of terms and concepts that identify principles and values that the physician from Croton already shares with a significant part of the tradition of thought that lies at the origins of the Hippocratic Oath, as we know it in its historical form. It can be concluded that the ethics of Democedes and of the Hippocratic physician speak the same language.

Giorgianni, F. (2023). The Art of Democedes and Atossa's Oath (Hdt. 3, 133). MEDICINA NEI SECOLI, 35(2), 9-26.

The Art of Democedes and Atossa's Oath (Hdt. 3, 133)

Giorgianni, Franco
2023-08-01

Abstract

My interest in the long account that Herodotus (Histories III 125; 129-137) gives of the biographical vicissitudes of the physician Democedes of Croton (VI-V century BC) arises from the examination of some terms (the adverb ἀτρεκέως and the compound verb ἐξορκόω) which define the ways in which, in Herodotus’ representation, the doctor-patient relationship must necessarily be worked out in order to be able to speak of true medical art. In the narrative of Democedes’ forced stay at the Persian court, there stands out the clinical story of Queen Atossa, Darius’ wife: with her Democedes established a relationship of trust as a physician based on respect for her prerogatives as a female patient. From a detailed comparison between Herodotus’ testimony and some documents of Hippocratic medicine, a marked consonance, or even coincidence, emerges of terms and concepts that identify principles and values that the physician from Croton already shares with a significant part of the tradition of thought that lies at the origins of the Hippocratic Oath, as we know it in its historical form. It can be concluded that the ethics of Democedes and of the Hippocratic physician speak the same language.
ago-2023
Settore L-FIL-LET/02 - Lingua E Letteratura Greca
Giorgianni, F. (2023). The Art of Democedes and Atossa's Oath (Hdt. 3, 133). MEDICINA NEI SECOLI, 35(2), 9-26.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10447/604273
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