Herodicus, the father of sports medicine

  • Anastasios D. GeorgoulisEmail author
  • Irini-Sofia Kiapidou
  • Lamprini Velogianni
  • Nicholas Stergiou
  • Arthur Boland
Sports Medicine


Herodicus (fifth century bc) is the first person in the history of medicine who actually combined sports with medicine. He used to be a sports teacher, who later studied medicine and managed to succeed Euryphon in the medical school of Cnidos, one of the most prominent in ancient Greece together with its neighbor medical school of Cos (Hippocrates’ home). In Cnidos Herodicus formed his own theoretical perspective of medicine. He considered, namely, bad health to be the result of imbalance between diet and physical activity and for this reason he recommended strict diet, constant physical activity and regular training. He believed that this combination was the ideal way to maintain good standards of health and he applied this type of treatment method to his patients. Unfortunately, Herodicus’ works are lost today. However, excerpts of his medical system, which can be traced in ancient texts, support the fact that Herodicus can be considered as the father of sports medicine.


Sports medicine History of medicine Physical activity Herodicus Training Diet 


  1. 1.
    Adler A Suidae lexicon, v. I-IV, Leipzig 1928–1935 (repr. 1967–1971)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Burnet J Platonis opera, v. II. Oxford 1901 (repr. 1967)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Burnet J Platonis opera, v. III. Oxford 1903 (repr. 1968)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Burnet J Platonis opera, v. IV, Oxford 1902 (repr. 1968)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cohen MR–Drabkin IE A source book in greek science, Harvard University Press, Cambridge 1966, p 503Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Couvreur P., Hermeias von Alexandrien. In Platonis Phaedrum scholia. Paris 1901 (repr. Hildesheim 1971)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Dambasis ΙΝ (1966) Historikai Iatrikai Meletai Seira Proti, Athens pp 259–265Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Deichgräber K (1932) Die ärztliche Standesethik des hippokratischen Eides, Quellen und Studien zur Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften und der Medizin 3:162Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Diels H, Anonymi Londinensis ex Aristotelis iatricis Menoniis et aliis medicis eclogue. Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca suppl. 3.1, Berlin 1893Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Edelstein L (1987) Ancient Medicine. Selected papers of Ludwig Edelstein, Baltimore-London, p 138Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Grensemann H (1975) Knidische Medizin. Teil I: Die Testimonien zur ältesten knidischen Lehre und analyse knidischer Schriften im Corpus Hippocraticum, Berlin, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hartofilakidis-Garofalidis G, Papathanassiou B T (1972) Orthopaedics in ancient Greece. Clin Orthop Relat Res 88:309Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Jouanna J (1974) Hippocrate. Pour une archéologie de l’Έcole de Cnide, ParisGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kiel F, Herodikos, Der Kleine Pauly 1967, 2:1098Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kollesch J (1989) Knidos als Zentrum der frühen wissenschaftlichen Medizin im antiken Griechenland (46) 12–13Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Legrand Ph-E, Hérodote. Histoires, v. I-IX, Paris 1932–1954 (repr. 1968–1970)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Littré É, Oeuvres complètes d’Hippocrate, v. II, III, IV, Paris 1840–1846 (repr. Amsterdam 1961–1962)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Pauly-Wissowa, Realencyclopaedie, v. VIII1, pp 978–979Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Pollak K (1969) Die Heilkunde der Antike. Griechenland-Rom-Byzanz. Die Medizin in Bibel und Talmud, Düsseldorf-WienGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ross WD Aristotelis ars rhetorica Oxford 1959 (repr. 1964)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Sarton G (1960) A history of science. Ancient science through the golden age of Greece, Cambridge pp 334–337Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Schumacher J (1963) Antike Medizin. Die naturphilosophischen Grundlagen der Medizin in der griechischen Antike, Berlin pp 81–85Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Sigerist HE, A history of medicine, v. I-II, New York, 1951–1961Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Thivel A (1981) Cnide et Cos? Essai sur les doctrines medicales dans la collection hippocratique, ParisGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anastasios D. Georgoulis
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Irini-Sofia Kiapidou
    • 1
  • Lamprini Velogianni
    • 1
  • Nicholas Stergiou
    • 2
  • Arthur Boland
    • 3
  1. 1.Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Center of Ioannina, Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryUniversity of IoanninaIoanninaGreece
  2. 2.HPER Biomechanics LaboratoryUniversity of Nebraska at OmahaOmahaUSA
  3. 3.Massachusetts General Hospital, Sports Medicine/Shoulder ServiceBostonUSA
  4. 4.IoanninaGreece

Personalised recommendations