Essay by fidaulUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, October 2006

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Only Hippocrates' approximate birth date, birth place and profession are unknown. Historians accept that he actually existed, was born near the year 460 BC on the island of Kos and that he was a famous physician and teacher of medicine. All other biographical information is possibly apocryphal (See Legends). It is now difficult to separate this from the fact of what actually was. As no real biography was available until centuries after his death, those that are available today must be based on many years of oral tradition and are thus unreliable.[6]

Soranus of Ephesus, about whom little is known, was Hippocrates's first biographer and is the source of most information, however unreliable, on Hippocrates's person. Soranus stated that Hippocrates's father, a physician, was Heraclides, and his mother, daughter of Phenaretis, was named Praxitela. He had two sons, Thessalus and Draco, and a son-in-law, Polybus.

All three were his students, but Galen says that Polybus was Hippocrates' true successor. Galen also states that Thessalus and Draco each had a son named Hippocrates.[7][8]

Soranus says also that Hippocrates was taught medicine by his father and grandfather, while other subjects were taught by Democritus and Gorgias. He could have been trained at the Asklepieion of Kos, and may have been a pupil of Herodicus of Selymbria: Plato, Hippocrates' only contemporary to mention him, describes him as an Asclepiad. [3] Other ancient biographers of his were Suidas, Tzetzes, and Aristotle.[9][10]

It is fairly certain that Hippocrates traveled significantly, at least as far as Thessaly, Thrace, and the Sea of Marmara, practicing medicine whenever he went.[8] He may have died in Larissa at the age of 83 or 90, though his death date is speculated with very little certainty; some sources state that he lived to...