"I Swear on Apollus Medicus...": The Birth of Medical Deontology

Sandro Ceccobelli


In the Oath, Hippocrates does not cite Dionisus at all. In Greek mythology, Apollus and Dionisus are, in some way, absolutely conflicting gods, nonetheless complementary each to the other; both are devoted to healing practices, one through his téchne founded on scientific knowledge, the other throught collective cathartic processes. The author conjectures that the exclusion of Dionisus from the medical Hippocratic scene means the birth of a medical deontology founded on the contrast between profecy and extasis, knowledge and happiness, order and change, health and disease. Balancing these cultural different aspects of therapy and cure, Bioethics could reunify the concepts of health, sickness and disease in the idea of Life, continuosly changing and developing. The curing process needs synthesis - invoking Apollus to rescover Dionisus mask.

Key words: Dionisus Hippocratic Oath Katharsis

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