What Was a Doctor Called in Ancient Greece?

The practice of medicine dates back to ancient times, and the Greeks were among the most prominent practitioners of medicine during that period. In Ancient Greece, the term ‘doctor’ was not used in the same way as it is today. Let’s explore what a doctor was called in Ancient Greece and what their role was.

The Hippocratic Oath

The Hippocratic Oath, named after the Greek physician Hippocrates, is still used by doctors today. This oath is considered to be one of the most important documents in medical history and outlines a doctor’s commitment to uphold ethical standards when treating patients.

The Asclepiads

In Ancient Greece, physicians were known as ‘Asclepiads,’ named after Asclepius, the Greek god of healing. Asclepius was believed to be able to heal any illness or injury, which made him a popular deity among Ancient Greeks seeking medical attention.

The Asclepiads were highly respected members of society who trained for years before they could practice medicine. They were trained in various fields such as surgery, pharmacology, and anatomy. The training process was rigorous and involved learning from experienced physicians through apprenticeships.

The Role of Asclepiads

Asclepiads played a significant role in treating patients in Ancient Greece. They were responsible for diagnosing illnesses and injuries and prescribing treatments accordingly. They also performed surgeries when necessary.

Asclepiads worked closely with their patients to understand their medical history and symptoms. They would then prescribe treatments such as herbal remedies or dietary changes based on their diagnosis. Patients would often stay at an Asclepion, a temple dedicated to Asclepius where they could receive around-the-clock care from physicians.


In conclusion, doctors in Ancient Greece were known as Asclepiads and played a vital role in the healing of individuals. Their expertise in medicine and commitment to ethical standards laid the foundation for modern medicine and the Hippocratic Oath. Understanding the role of Asclepiads in Ancient Greece helps us appreciate the evolution of medicine and how it has transformed over time.