“I swear by
Apollo the physician....”
The Hippocratic Oath
I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and
Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will
fulfill according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant:
To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my
parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of
money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my
brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art—if they desire to learn
it—without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction
and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed
me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according
to the medical law, but no one else.
I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick
according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.
I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for
it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a
woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my
I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from
stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.
Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit
of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in
particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free
What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or
even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account
one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to
be spoken about.
If I fulfill this oath and do not violate it, may it be
granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for
all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all
this be my lot.
Translation from the Greek by Ludwig Edelstein. From The Hippocratic Oath:
Text, Translation, and Interpretation, by Ludwig Edelstein. Baltimore: Johns
Hopkins Press, 1943.