How Do You Say Doctor in Ancient Greece?

In ancient Greece, the term used to refer to a doctor was “iatros”. The word “iatros” comes from the Greek word “iatrikos,” meaning “medical.” Ancient Greek medicine was highly influenced by the teachings of prominent physicians such as Hippocrates and Galen.

The Role of Doctors in Ancient Greece

Doctors in ancient Greece held a significant position in society. They were highly respected and considered to be knowledgeable healers. Their primary role was to diagnose and treat various illnesses and injuries.

Training and Education

Becoming a doctor in ancient Greece required years of rigorous training and education. Prospective doctors would often study under an experienced physician or attend medical schools such as the one established by Hippocrates on the island of Kos.

During their training, future doctors would learn about human anatomy, diseases, herbal remedies, and surgical techniques. They would also observe experienced physicians treating patients to gain practical knowledge.

The Hippocratic Oath

The teachings of Hippocrates greatly influenced medical practice in ancient Greece. One of his most notable contributions was the development of the Hippocratic Oath. This ethical code outlined the responsibilities and moral obligations that doctors had towards their patients.

The Hippocratic Oath emphasized principles such as patient confidentiality, honesty, and prioritizing patient well-being above all else. It continues to be relevant in modern medical ethics.

Treatments and Medical Practices

Ancient Greek doctors used a combination of natural remedies, diet modifications, exercise, surgical interventions, and spiritual practices to treat various ailments.

Natural Remedies

Natural remedies played a significant role in ancient Greek medicine. Doctors would prescribe herbal concoctions, poultices, and infusions to alleviate symptoms and promote healing. Some common herbs used in treatments included aloe vera, garlic, and chamomile.

Surgical Interventions

Ancient Greek doctors were skilled in performing surgeries for conditions such as fractures, wounds, and tumors. They used primitive surgical tools made of bronze or iron to carry out procedures.

However, surgeries were usually considered a last resort due to the risks involved. Doctors would often explore non-invasive treatments before resorting to surgery.


The word “iatros” was used to refer to doctors in ancient Greece. These physicians played a vital role in diagnosing and treating various medical conditions.

Their training and education were rigorous, and they followed ethical codes like the Hippocratic Oath. Through the use of natural remedies and surgical interventions, ancient Greek doctors aimed to heal their patients and alleviate their suffering.