Sponsored by: Willamette University and the Center for Ancient Studies and Archaeology
2nd Annual E. John and Cleo A. Rumpakis Lecture
Eric D. Nelson is Professor of Classics at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. Besides his scholarship on the figure of Hippocrates and the early formation of the Hippocratic Corpus, he is the author of popular books on Greece and Rome, and has appeared in programs on subjects from Roman Engineering to animals in Roman spectacles for the Discovery Channel, History Channel, and Animal Planet.
Hippocrates of Cos (c. 460-380 BCE) has been an iconic doctor and a figure of authority in a wide variety of contexts for nearly 2300 years. When, how, and why did this well-known physician of the fifth century BCE, whose actual works, beliefs, and accomplishments have been a matter of doubt and debate since his time, become – and remain – the contested figure we still know even today as the “Father of Medicine” and namesake of the enduring “Hippocratic Oath”? Follow Hippocrates’ path from iatros to icon, and healer to hero, as we trace him through the ages as a figure of authority and archetypal ideal. Why has Hippocrates served as a locus of authority, and is it still – or was it ever – right to invest him with this role?