What Were Medics Called in Ancient Greece?

In Ancient Greece, the term used to refer to medics or healers was iatrikos. These skilled individuals played a crucial role in the health and well-being of the ancient Greeks. Let’s explore the world of ancient Greek medicine and delve into the role of these remarkable healers.

The Origins of Greek Medicine

Ancient Greek medicine has its roots in various sources, including Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Persian influences. However, it was the Greeks who developed a systematic approach to medicine that laid the foundation for modern medical practices.

A prominent figure in ancient Greek medicine was Hippocrates, often referred to as the “Father of Medicine.” He lived during the 5th century BCE and established a school of medicine on the island of Kos. The teachings and principles developed by Hippocrates greatly influenced medical practices in Ancient Greece.

The Role of Medics in Ancient Greece

Medics in ancient Greece, known as iatrikos or physicians, held a respected position within society. Their primary objective was to diagnose and treat illnesses using various methods available at that time.

Treatments and Techniques

  • Herbal Remedies: Medics relied heavily on herbal remedies to alleviate symptoms and promote healing. Plants such as mint, chamomile, and lavender were commonly used for their medicinal properties.
  • Dietary Recommendations: Medics emphasized the significance of maintaining a healthy diet to prevent illness.

    They believed that food played a vital role in maintaining overall well-being.

  • Bloodletting: This controversial practice involved removing blood from the body to restore balance and treat certain ailments. It was believed that by doing so, the body’s humoral balance would be restored.

Medical Training and Knowledge

To become a medic in ancient Greece, individuals had to undergo extensive training. They would study various subjects including anatomy, physiology, and herbal medicine. The knowledge passed down from generation to generation formed the basis of medical expertise.

The Legacy of Ancient Greek Medicine

Ancient Greek medicine laid the groundwork for modern medical practices. The principles established by Hippocrates, such as the importance of observation and documentation, continue to influence medical education today.

The term “iatrikos” might no longer be in use, but the legacy of these ancient medics lives on. Their contributions to medicine have paved the way for advancements that have saved countless lives throughout history.


Medics in ancient Greece played a vital role in healthcare by providing treatments and care based on their knowledge and understanding of medicine at that time. Their expertise and dedication set the stage for advancements in medical practices that continue to shape our understanding of health today.