Hippocrates and Artaxerxes

Hippocrates and Artaxerxes

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: (c.460-377 or 359 BC) The Greek physician Hippocrates refusing to accept gifts offered by Artaxerxes, king of the Persians and enemy of the Greeks, to help cure a plague that was ravaging Persian troops. This story, now considered to be a piece of biographical fiction, became a popular legend in antiquity and was cited by Plutarch, Galen and Stobacus. Hippocrates refusal to help can be interpreted either as a patriotic act or, in line with his association with the Hippocratic Oath, a detachment from material gain and reward. From an oil painting by Anne-Louis Girodet.

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Keywords: antiquity, artaxerxes, bc, epidemic, ethics, fiction, fifth century, galen, girodet, greece, greeks, hippocrates, hippocratic oath, legend, medical ethics, medicine, no-one, nobody, patriotism, persia, persians, physician, plague, plutarch, riches, stobacus, treatment

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