The Best Doctor Is Also a Historian
The Rootcutter's inaugural essay series aims at exploring connections between ancient and modern medicines—and not only the connections we make, but also why we make those connections and what impact they have on how we think about and conduct modern medical practices, both as healthcare experts and as service users. This series has been generously funded by the Society for Classical Studies Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities grant.
What Would Hippokrates Do? Classical Reception in the Age of COVID-19
by Nicolette D'Angelo
February 6, 2023
The authority of Hippokrates has been invoked time and again in support of anti-vaccination and Covid-denial movements. Nicolette D'Angelo explores what makes Hippokrates such an apt figurehead for anti-science advocates and asks what—if anything—historians and Classicists should do about it.
Nicolette D'Angelo is a PhD student at UCLA. Her MPhil dissertation (Oxford University), responding to the pitfalls and ambiguities of classicizing plague exempla in the age of COVID-19, argued for contagion as an operative model of reception, particularly digital receptions.
Hippokrates has been adopted as a patron saint of proponents of holistic and alternative medicine, the wellness industry, and anti-vaccination communities.
Hipp-19. Profile of Hippokrates inside a cell being infected by COVID-19. Image by Nicolette D'Angelo. Used by permission of the author.
@UK_National: "Don't medics do Hippocrates anymore?"
@miaffs415: Wasn't it Hippocrates who said "let food be thy medicine"? Ever heard of the Hippocratic Oath?