What Were Doctors Like in Ancient Greece?

In ancient Greece, medicine was a highly respected profession, and doctors were held in high regard. However, their methods and practices were vastly different from modern-day medicine. Let’s delve into what doctors were like in ancient Greece.

Education of Ancient Greek Doctors

Doctors in ancient Greece had to undergo rigorous training to earn their title. They studied at the Asclepeion, which was a temple dedicated to Asclepius, the god of healing. The training consisted of a combination of theoretical and practical education, including anatomy, physiology, herbal medicine, and surgery.

The Role of Ancient Greek Doctors

Ancient Greek doctors played an essential role in society. They treated patients who were suffering from various ailments and injuries. They also advised people on how to maintain good health through diet and exercise.

Additionally, ancient Greek doctors were often called upon to serve as military physicians during times of war. They would accompany soldiers to the battlefield and treat them on-site.

Ancient Greek Medical Practices

Ancient Greek medicine was based on the theory that good health was achieved by maintaining a balance between the four humors – blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile – that made up the human body. The treatment involved regulating these humors through diet, exercise, herbal remedies or even bloodletting.

Surgery was also performed by ancient Greek doctors but only in extreme cases since it was extremely risky due to lack of anesthesia or antibiotics.

The Hippocratic Oath

The Hippocratic Oath is still taken by medical professionals today as it is one of the oldest binding documents in history. It originated from the teachings of Hippocrates (460-370 BC), who is widely regarded as the father of medicine.

The oath emphasizes ethical behavior and moral conduct when treating patients with respect for privacy and confidentiality.


In conclusion, ancient Greek doctors were highly skilled individuals who played a vital role in society. Their practices and methods may seem outdated to us, but they were revolutionary for their time. Their dedication to healing the sick and injured laid the foundation for modern-day medicine.