Hippocrates' Oath

THE fleet of Xerxes was crushed, as we have seen, by the Greeks at Salamis. They also defeated his forces on land; and Xerxes, abandoning war forever, lived out his days in idle pleasure in his palace at Persepolis. With him began the decline of the Persian empire and the Persian royal race. His sons, who succeeded him, were feeble, effeminate creatures like himself. The Persian rule only continued because the Greeks, the only other military power left in the world, fought among themselves.

They defeated the Persians several times, and learned to think so little of them and their wealth that the story of Hippocrates is characteristic of both races. He was a very noted physician, called "the father of medicine," and celebrated for having saved several Greek cities from the ravages of plague. Artaxerxes, king of Persia, sent for him to perform a similar work in Persepolis. Hippocrates refused to go. The envoys, astonished, increased their offers of reward until they promised him the revenues of an entire province. Hippocrates told them that Greek life and freedom gave him all he wanted. Artaxerxes then sent word that if Hippocrates continued to refuse, the Persians would destroy the Greek cities. The sage answered that there was little danger of any Persian venturing to war with Greece; nor did Artaxerxes attempt to make good his threat.

Physicians today, on entering their profession, still take the "Oath of Hippocrates," vowing to live with the same self-sacrifice and purity of purpose as he did.

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Read about Hippocrates' Oath in the The Story of the Greatest Nations and the Worlds Famous Events Vol 1

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