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Conclusions - The Fluidity Of Pharmacological Knowledge

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Chapter Summary

This chapter attempts to tackle questions such as were there medical texts written before the fifth century BC, why did physicians start to use the written medium, and what was the relation between the oral and the written word in the transmission of medical knowledge. The Hippocratic collections of recipes, more than 1500 recipes in total, are the most extensive written source for the study of pharmacology in the fifth and fourth centuries BC. However, these collections only represent a portion of the written recipes produced in the classical period. In addition, much of the ancient pharmacological knowledge may have been transmitted only orally, and may never have been written down in the form of recipes. Writing also allowed structuring the pharmacological body of knowledge into the form of catalogues.

Keywords: Hippocratic collections of recipes; pharmacological knowledge



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