Democritus (ca. 460–370 B.C.) is considered the last of the early Greek cosmologists. Democritus employed in several healing rituals. The rod and snake (sometimes called a caduceus) continues to symbolize the medical profession even today.
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At the temples, pr iests practiced medicine in accordance with the teachings of the famous deceased practitioners. The priests kept such teach- ings largely secret, and this temple medicine became very popular. In fact, insofar as the ailments treated were psychosomatic (or trivial and transitory), tem- ple medicine was likely effective because treatment was typically accompanied by an abundance of rit- ual and lengthy ceremony. For example, patients would need to wait before being seen by a priest, drink “sacred” water, wear special robes, and sleep in a sanctuary. During the period of sleep—a high point in treatment—the patient (it was claimed) often had a dream in which a priest or god would directly cure the patient or tell him or her what to do in order to be cured.