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Article

History of Hygiene Focusing on the Crucial Role of Water in the Hellenic Asclepieia (i.e., Ancient Hospitals)

1
HAO-Demeter, Agricultural Research Institution of Crete, 71300 Iraklion, Greece
2
Union of Water Supply and Sewerage Enterprises, 41222 Larissa, Greece
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School of Architecture Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Ioannou Soutsou 44–46, 11474 Athens, Greece
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1st Department of Pediatrics, University of Athens Medical School, “Aghia Sophia” Children’s Hospital, Thivon 1, 11527 Athens, Greece
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Department of Civil and Environnemental Engineering, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(3), 754; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030754
Received: 24 January 2020 / Revised: 19 February 2020 / Accepted: 20 February 2020 / Published: 9 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Water Quality and Contamination)
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 (or Asklepieia), 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: Asclepieion and Asclepieia; Minoan Era; Classical and Hellenistic periods; Hippocrates; God offerings; medicine; sanitation; water Asclepieion and Asclepieia; Minoan Era; Classical and Hellenistic periods; Hippocrates; God offerings; medicine; sanitation; water
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MDPI and ACS Style

Angelakis, A.N.; Antoniou, G.P.; Yapijakis, C.; Tchobanoglous, G. History of Hygiene Focusing on the Crucial Role of Water in the Hellenic Asclepieia (i.e., Ancient Hospitals). Water 2020, 12, 754. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030754

AMA Style

Angelakis AN, Antoniou GP, Yapijakis C, Tchobanoglous G. History of Hygiene Focusing on the Crucial Role of Water in the Hellenic Asclepieia (i.e., Ancient Hospitals). Water. 2020; 12(3):754. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030754

Chicago/Turabian Style

Angelakis, Andreas N., Georgios P. Antoniou, Christos Yapijakis, and George Tchobanoglous. 2020. "History of Hygiene Focusing on the Crucial Role of Water in the Hellenic Asclepieia (i.e., Ancient Hospitals)" Water 12, no. 3: 754. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030754

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