Descriptions of urinary stone in the Hippocratic collection

Here we present the ‘Abstract‘ of the corresponding paper by Saitoh H.



Hippocrates was a famous physician of Kos in ancient Greece (c. 460 B.C.). His works later were described in the Hippocratic Collection, in which I studied references to urinary stones.


I collected mentions of urinary stones from the Hippocratic Collection (Roeb, Otsuki, and Kon editions) to compared descriptions of urinary stones between the Kos and Knidos schools.


Urinary stones were mentioned in 24 passages of the collection: 12 (50%) referred to pathogenesis of urinary stones; 6 (25%) to symptoms; 4 (17%) to treatment, and 2 (8%) to other aspects. Symptoms of urinary stones included hematuria, colic, painful urination, difficult urination, and passing a urinary stone. Bladder stones were mentioned in 15 passages (63%), renal stones in 4 (17%), and both bladder and renal stones in 2 (8%). Although no site was mentioned directly in 7 passages (29%), these appeared most likely to refer to bladder stones. Descriptions by Kos, Knidos, and unspecified schools accounted for 15 (63%), 4 (17%), and 5 (21%) of mentions of urinary stones. Descriptions of bladder stones by the Kos school were relatively numerous, while most of the few renal stones were described by the Knidos school. Treatments for urinary stone included medication, presumably to aid in passing the stone or to relieve pain; warm soaks or applications to treat pain; and incision over the kidney, when the affected area showed swelling with elevation.


Urinary stones were mentioned in the Hippocratic Collection more frequently by the Kos school. No description of cystolitotomy included. The Oath of Hippocrates proscribed use of the knife to treat urinary stones, however, incision over the kidney (presumably nephrolithotomy) was mentioned in “Internal Affection” by the Knidos school.

(Link for the paper:


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