Famous Greeks

Socrates Louvre
Portrait of Socrates, a Roman copy from a Greek statue, Louvre museum

Socrates (469 BC – 399 BC) was one of the greatest Greek philosophers. He did not propose any specific knowledge or policy. He showed how argument, debate, and discussion could help men to understand difficult issues. Most of the issues he dealt with were only political on the surface. Underneath, they were moral questions about how life should be lived. Such is the influence of Socrates that philosophers before him are called the Presocratic philosophers.

Sofocle Capitolini
A Roman bust of Sophocles

Sophocles (497 BC, 496 BC, or 495 BC – 406 BC) was an Ancient Greek writer who wrote 123 plays, according to the Suda. Only 7 of his tragedies have survived complete. Sophocles was the second of the three greatest Ancient Greek writers of tragedies, the others were Aeschylus and Euripides. The most famous of Sophocles’ tragedies are those concerning (relating to, being about) Oedipus and Antigone: these are often known as the Theban plays, although each play was actually a part of different tetralogy, the other members of which are now lost.


Hippocrates rubens.jpg
Engraving by Peter Paul Rubens, 1638

Hippocrates (c. 460 – c. 370 BC) was a Greek doctor who is called the “father of medicine”. He was the first person to write that people got sick for scientific reasons. People used to believe disease was caused by angry (mad) gods.

Hippocrates wrote about treating sick people. His writings are still important to doctors today. He said many ideas that doctors still study. An idea he wrote about is “patient confidentiality”. This means that doctors cannot tell anyone else what their patients tell them. Another idea is that the doctor cannot do anything to kill a patient. These kinds of ideas are part of medical ethics.

The Hippocratic Oath is named after him. This is a promise or oath doctors say. This means they say they will do what is said in the Hippocratic Oath. (People now think that Hippocrates did not write it.)