The Hippocratic Oath

I swear by Apollo the Physician, and Asklepios and Hygieia, and all the Gods and Goddesses that, according to my ability and judgment, I will keep this oath and this syngraphe ('contract'):

to consider him who taught me this Art as dear to me as my parent, to share my substance with him, and to relieve his necessities if required; to look upon his offspring as equivalent to my own brothers, and to teach them this Art, if they wish to learn it, without fee or stipulation;

and that by precept, lecture, and every other form of instruction, I will impart a knowledge of the Art to my own sons, and those of my teachers, and to disciples bound by a stipulation and oath according to the law of medicine, but to none others.

I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients and abstain from whatever is harmful and mischievous.

I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such advice; likewise, I will not give a pessary to a woman to induce abortion.

I will live my life and practice my art with purity and holiness.

I will not cut persons suffering from 'the stone', but will leave this to be done by men who are practitioners of this skill. Whatever houses I enter, I will enter for the benefit of the sick, and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief and corruption, and especially from the seduction of females or males, of free persons or slaves.

Whatever I see or hear in connection with my professional practice or not in the life of men, which should not be made public, I will not divulge, considering that all such knowledge should remain secret.

As long as I continue to keep this Oath inviolate, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the Art, respected by all men, at all times. But if I should trespass and violate this Oath, may the opposite be my lot.


George Sarton, A History of Science I (Cambridge: Harvard 1952) 376;
Ludwig Edelstein, The Hippocratic Oath: Text, translation, and interpretation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins 1943).

June 12, 2009 3:32 PM

John Paul Adams, CSUN

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