Prehistoric Hellenic civilizations like many other civilizations believed in gods and thought they had influence on the everyday life of the people. During the Bronze Ages the explanations of illness and health problems were based on mythological, divine, or religious (i.e., theocratic) reasoning or explanations. However, during the Classical and the Hellenistic periods, the Greeks clearly differentiated their thinking from all other civilizations by inventing philosophy and empirical science. Drains/sewers, baths and toilets and other sanitary installations reflect the high cultural and technological level of the period; they are also associated with hygienic and medical studies and practical applications. At that time, medicine was mainly based on clinical observations and scientific investigations. Prior to that time, in the Bronze Age, medicine was entirely confined to religious rituals and beliefs. In ancient Greece, medicine was practiced in Asclepieia
), which were healing sanctuaries which also functioned as medical schools and hospitals. In the Classical Greece period, more than 400 Asclepieia
were operating offering their medical services. The basic elements of each Asclepieia
included a clean source of water and related infrastructure. At that time Hippocrates, the father of medicine, and his successors wrote a large number of medical texts in which the crucial role of water and sanitation is documented. They also identified numerous medical terms, many of which remain in use today. The Hippocratic treatises also contributed to the scientific evolution which occurred in later centuries, because they sought to explain the causes of observed natural phenomena in a deterministic way rather than on theocratic explanations in use at the time. In this paper, the evolution of hygiene, focusing on water use in ancient Greece is examined.
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