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Eric: Southern England
The Hand of Man
In the South of England

By Nancy & Eric Anderson
Photography by Authors

he South of England is different from the rest of the United Kingdom in the sense that F. Scott Fitzgerald understood the very rich: "They are different from you and me."

Southern England is different. It has been smiled on more that the rest of the country and seems to know it. It has the population and the climate, the prestigious older universities, for the most part the BBC accents that the world sees as educated and sophisticated, the political proximity of Parliament, the nearness of "the Continent" which suggests its cuisine might be better than British standard fare (it is) - and apart from the time when William the Conqueror put an arrow through the eye of the English King Harold in 1066, it has been spared the incestuous infighting that has so dominated the history of places to its North.

And as if this is not enough it has some exquisite tourist attractions to captivate visitors. Not so much natural ones as man-made. The plains of England's South do not have the scenery apart from the sea-hammered cliffs of the West Country -- and the white cliffs of Dover although bomber pilots in World War II, staggering home over the English Channel on one engine after bombing Berlin, found the cliffs' mere 350 feet of altitude insurmountable.

So what has man put up on what God created in the South of "England's green and pleasant land"? Remember the era of "Kilroy Was Here"? What would a historic Kilroy have thought about those places?

Stonehenge, the Mystery on the Salisbury Plain

The ancient Welsh stones of Stonehenge in the county of Wiltshire cannot really be accurately dated. Historians believe the monument was built around 2500 BC but recently archaeologists have found burial and cremation remains dating earlier to 3000 BC. Indeed, the construction of the "hanging stones" seems to have evolved over at least 1500 years.

the Stonehenge, Wiltshire county, southern England

So who would be around like Kilroy at Stonehenge? Easy! The Druids. They are apparently still around in two "modern" forms: the religious Druids who practice what they call Neopaganism based on what they agree are "sparse Roman and early medieval sources," and the cultural Druids who hold Celtic competitions in poetry and music. If you join be sure and connect with the right group.

Some of today's Druids may be seen as burned-out hippies and lost souls, but at least they are not embracing a religion that chooses not to condemn those of its members who believe their god wants them to kill Americans.

Veryan: West Country Village of Roundhouses

The Veryan story involves a Cornwall minister in the 18th century, Jeremiah Trist, who had five unmarried daughters. He decided to build a home for each but worried that the Powers of Darkness might seek out such worthy spinsters. On top of each roof he placed a cross to keep away evil and made the walls round to deny the Devil a dark corner where he could hide. He located two houses at each entrance to the village and positioned one in the center close to the church for extra protection, suggesting perhaps even God-fearing preachers play favorites with their children. The buildings still stand and are occupied although the virginity of the occupants is unknown. Maybe some teenagers there will have written that information on Facebook.

riders passing by thatched round houses and parked car in Veryan, Cornwall, southern England

Veryan's earliest settlers were Bronze Age tribes. Although this era came earlier in Europe, it is conventionally dated as about 1900 BC in England. Thus these tribes in Veryan may well have been around when Stonehenge was erected and if the Druids were the Kilroys of Stonehenge maybe the Reverend Trist was our Kilroy in Veryan.

Royal Pavilion, Brighton: People who Live in Glasshouses Shouldn't

The Prince of Wales who became King George IV first visited the seaside resort of Brighton in 1783. The town in East Sussex is mentioned in the Domesday Book, the government 1086 record of what landowners had been taxed by the previous monarch. Answer: Big Bucks, so let's tax them more and "there is no appeal." The word Domesday meant Day of Judgment so no wonder the new king William the Conqueror was not popular (the same one who put an arrow through Harold's eye in 1066.)

top: the Royal Pavilion in Brighton; bottom: book cover of The Prince's Mistress, Thomas Gainsborough painting and a painting of Pope Sixtus IV with his illegitimate sons

In 1783, the British monarchy wasn't just taxing the people it was charging the taxpayers for its mistresses. The Royal Pavilion was a case in point. The heir to the British throne is historically called the Prince of Wales and the story of those young blue bloods is rife with tales of the boudoir. Seemingly before their majesty oblige required circumspect behavior, those spoiled brats would explore their permissive surroundings - outrageously. The 17 year-old Prince of Wales made Mary Robinson, an actress his most famous mistress in 1779 when he built a palace, the glass and cast iron Pavilion for her. This gilded lily is a light-hearted soufflé of avant garde architecture that is completely out of character even in England's sunny South. The "Kilroy was Here" prince died ten years after his coronation. Later Queen Victoria lost interest in spending weekends at the Royal Pavilion when a train service began bringing commoners, of all people, down to Brighton.

The disdain some historians have for the contemptible behavior of some monarchs is, of course, echoed in the scorn they have for some popes. A guide once told us: In 1667 one Gregorio Leti disapproved so much of the pope's illegitimate sons (his "nephews") that he published a book Il Nipotismo di Roma. The Italian word nipotismo means nephew and is the origin of the word nepotism. Melozzo da Forli painted Pope Sixtus IV with his "nephews" about 1471; two of them were made cardinals and one even became Pope Julius II.

Back to royalty: You can buy Hester Davenport's book The Prince's Mistress: A Life of Mary Robinson at Amazon and view the Thomas Gainsborough 1781 oil painting of when she played Perdita at the Wallace Collection in London.

The Leather Bottle, an Inn in Cobham, Kent

This half-timbered inn was built in South East England in 1629 but got its name in 1720 when an old leather bottle containing gold coins was found nearby. The Leather Bottle website has so much history it can hardly be bothered talking about it but the Kilroy here is Charles Dickens, the popular Victorian author (1812 to 1870). Dickens is said to have spent his honeymoon in Room Six although a cottage in little Chalk, near Gravesham in Kent makes the same honeymoon claim. Dickens and his wife Catherine had ten children and his domestic story is complicated. They probably did honeymoon here- he describes the inn in his novel The Pickwick Papers and there's certainly a lot of Dickens' memorabilia on the inn's walls.

3 views of The Leather Inn, a historic half-timbered inn in Cobham, Kent

We glance at some of the stagecoach prints on the wall. They show rotund cheerful innkeepers wearing what look like butcher's aprons holding horses as guests dismount. We look at the petite French woman who is now the innkeeper and feel compelled to ask, "You have a role that historically was that of a fat strong Englishman - and you are none of those things." We smile at her, "Do you feel miscast?"

She smiles, "Mon Dieu, Jamais! I am a better innkeeper. A guest would approach a male landlord and say, 'I was cold last night. May I get another blanket tonight?' But I would say the day before, 'It will be colder tonight. Would you like an extra blanket?'"

She smiles. We grin back and murmur, "Touché!"

London and its Giants

London was once the largest city on Earth and, as the capital in days of Empire, the most important. It was never a place for those who, before she went to prison for tax evasion Leona Helmsley, the Queen of Mean would call "the little people." (By the 1970s this Brooklyn hatter's daughter had become the second wife of Harry Helmsley, the "King Kong of Big Apple real estate" who owned the Empire State building and six of New York's toniest hotels - but we digress and pontificate.)

top: statue of Sir winston Churchill; bottom: statue of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower

London's history brought forth men who were giants. Statues of two of them stand for ever beloved in the memory and gratitude of those who lived through World War II. The Allies emerged victorious not because Kilroy Was Here although the graffiti surely appeared anywhere Allied troops could scrawl that message. (We have hyperlinked Kilroy at Wikipedia at the beginning of this article but we really think Bill Myers covers it better with his great story.)

The Allies ended up triumphant because "Churchill and Eisenhower Were Here." And England remembers.


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In the meantime, here are some of the feedback we have already received:


Hey Eric and Nancy! As a fellow Traveling Boy journalist, and as a confirmed WW2 aficionado, just wanted you to know how much I loved your story on Arnhem. Really great stuff, and truly brilliant riveting writing.

I’ve been there twice and covered it on my KNX radio show when I was on LA radio, and your story and evocative photos brought back a ton of wonderful and poignant memories. This could have been an amazingly brilliant military operation – as you both know – that might well have ended the War in Europe maybe a year earlier. However, allied misreading -- and in my view disregarding certain aspects of the situation in Holland -- plus the fact that they dropped the paras over 3 days and not in one huge assault at night (and not in the day as they did) doomed the mission to failure.

Your clever words and great photos brought all this graphically to life, and it should be required reading for anyone interested in any aspect of WW2, and certainly should be read by today’s teenagers. Again Bravo and well done!!!!

John Clayton
Travel with A Difference

We just couldn't leave your website before saying that we genuinely enjoyed the high quality information you offer for your visitors... Would be back frequently to check up on new stuff you post!

Raanana

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What a fantastic write-up!

I could almost copy and paste most of your narrative verbatim as it reflects our fantastic experience with Fantasy Cruises almost to a tee. It was truly one of the greatest vacations my girlfriend and I have ever experienced.

Cheers!
Mike Richard, Editor, Vagabondish.com

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One of my dreams is to go to Alaska by way of cruise. This article very much intensifies the longing for that dream to come to fruition. I simply cannot wait much longer. And I will never again be able to think of a waterfall without picturing myself "nosing up" to it. Thank you for this intriguing, virtual journey.

Sandra Mines, Seattle, WA

Thank you for writing, Sandra. Alaska really is a wondrous place. Re "Nosing up" to a waterfall: we have a different article up at Physician's Money Digest on the same cruise (Small Ship Cruising: Alaska by the Back Door). The third last set of images there shows a crew member filling a jug of ice water from a waterfall while standing in the bow of the ship! Best wishes. Get there! To Alaska one day.

Eric & Nancy

Loved your photos from Alaska! Because I am the Director of Sales & Marketing for Westmark Hotels, I am up in AK and the Yukon quite often to visit our hotels and staff! But your pictures were so enjoyable-love to see the "real" Alaskans!

Heidi Howeiler, Seattle, WA

Hi Ms. Howeiler, That was kind of you to write and yes, you do see real people in Alaska, don't you? Alaskans always remind us off rural Texans or Australians in the isolated Red Centre of their country: hard working, sensible, rolled-up-sleeves people with no affectations. We love your Westmark hotels and we take our hats off to the person who started your company, Chuck West. What a great guy!

Eric & Nancy

Enjoyed your realistic and practical comments on Provence. Always wanted to go there ever since reading Peter Mayle's 2 books on Provence. But the two times I went to France, time was always short, so we spent our days in Paris. And now you say, it is losing its unique charm to tourism. (Sigh). It's always a choice between sharing beauty, and keeping it hidden. The world lurches on. Thanks for your thoughts.

Dette, Iligan City, Philippines

Hi Dette, (Would love to see all your waterfalls), Thank you for writing. Provence is busy in the tourist season but it hasn't lost all its charm or the quirkiness Mayle talks about in his book Provence A to Z. It's still a place to visit. Appreciate hearing from you. Best wishes.

Eric & Nancy

What a great article, especially regarding Louis XIV. I was not aware there was a contemporary account of his execution. It was fascinating. Thank you!

Celtic fan, Nashua, MA

Dear Celtic fan, Thanks for writing. I didn't know about the account of his execution either till I stumbled upon it. Sad to think that the French revolutionaries thought they could be both judge and jury. We are lucky to have a more elegant system today. Thanks for writing.

Eric & Nancy

Nancy and Eric,

Enjoyed reading your article on Santa Fe, NM. I was in AZ travel nursing in 2008 and 2009 and made it to Santa Fe. Took a lot of pics and really loved walking around the old town while I was there. Hope to be able to take the wife there in the future.

Brett Eidson, Soso, MS

Hi dude! Nice to see your site. It's beautiful. My congratulations.

New York

Hi New York, Thank you for writing. Best wishes.

Eric & Nancy

Hi www.travelingboy.com! Your web-site is very interesting and I want to tell www.travelingboy.com G'night.

New York

Dear New York,

Thank you for writing. Glad you find the site interesting. We are here for you. Keep visiting.

Eric & Nancy

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This is all genuine. I will return to scan.

Keflavik

Hi Keflavik, Thank you for writing. We are happy you will return.

Eric & Nancy

Good article.

On Behalf Of Diane, Port Ludlow, WA

Thanks for writing from Port Ludlow. We hear that's a beautiful place. Best wishes.

Eric & Nancy

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When I was hurt in a boat accident my life would be changed totally. I really don't post much but thanks for the good times I have here. Love this place. Long time lurker, thought I would say hello!

Miami

Dear Miami, Thanks for writing. It's nice to hear from you. Hope you are getting better. Glad you get some good times at Traveling boy. Good luck.

Eric & Nancy

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Dear friends,

My name is Adelina. I am a 22 years girl from Italy. I was looking for a free translation software and I found one. Program's name is Babel Fish and it supports 75 languages. I installed it but I could not understand how to use it. I am not a computer expert. Can someone help me please on how to run this.The link is here :http://access.im/3/babelfish. I thank you very much for your help.

Adelina, Celaya

Adelina, I didn't want to download it but I saw examples online. It seemed easy. You select the page you want translated, copy it and paste it into the box. You then click on the button to translate. You may have to do one page at a time. You can also use Google to translate a page; that's what I do because I don't want to load too much software.

Eric & Nancy

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Amiable brief and this mail helped me a lot in my college assignment. Thanks you seeking your information.

WordPress Themes, Gray Mountain

We are glad to have been of help. Best wishes.

Eric & Nancy

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What's up everyone? Great forum. Lots of lovely people. Just what I need. Hopefully this is just what i'm looking for. Looks like I have a lot to read.

Spanish John, Benidrom

Encouraging to get your feedback. Glad to hear from you. Thank you for writing.

Eric & Nancy

Nice dispatch (http://www.travelingboy.com/travel-eric.html) - and this enter helped me a lot in my college assignement. Thank you as your information.

Gray Mountain

Hi Gray Mountain,

Thank you for your comment. Your email reminds us all at TravelingBoy how important it is to be accurate in what we write. Good luck with your studies and have a great life.

Eric & Nancy

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Hello people, I just signed up on this splendid community forum and wanted to say hey there! Have a wonderful day!

Jacksonville

Hi Jacksonville, We are pleased to hear from new readers at TravelingBoy. Your feedback encourages us all to do better. Thank you for writing.

Eric & Nancy

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What a fascinating bit of Russian history you wrote about! How sad to learn that 100,000 churches were reduced to create skating rinks and such during the revolution, after seeing the photo of the interior of a magnificent church filled with art! War is so devastating on so many levels! The art of their culture is so beautiful as is shown in the image of the painted box! Thank you,

Yoka, Westlake Village, CA

Dear Yoka,

Thank you for writing. Nancy is originally Lutheran and Eric is a dour Scot, more used to the frequently cold and often cheerless churches of his native land so we were both overwhelmed to see the beauty of Russian churches. It was kind of you to write, Yoka.

Thank you,
Eric & Nancy

Interesting observations.... Very informative and thought provoking. Questions.... What would be the best way to get from Moscow Airport DME to boat dock? taxi? prearranged limo? prepaid Viking Tours transfer? Any idea on cost and travel time for taxi or limo or Viking Cruise pickup from airport to boat? We shall be flying to Moscow on our own. Do you happen to have an address for the river boat dock that Viking Cruises uses in Moscow? I would be nice to Google map the situation. Thanks,

Robert Hopwood, Ottawa, Canada

Hi Bob,

Excuse the delay; we were on a trip. I do understand your question and will try and get you an answer. The Viking river dock in Moscow was for us in the north part of the city but once we were on the boat it was an easy ten minute walk to the Metro station that had us downtown within 30 minutes. I'm a lot more relaxed at the end of a trip than at the beginning and therefore I always feel taking the cruise-line sponsored trip from the airport to the dock makes sense: What starts right usually ends right.

Eric & Nancy Anderson

Hi Bob,

I’m back with more information. The river port’s address is Northern River Boat Station Leningradsky Prospekt, Khimki. If you Google that you will see it is about 15 minutes’ walk from two Metro stations. http://www.aptouring.com.au/files/documents/17/29022_Moscow2.pdf .

I spoke to Nancy at customer relations at Viking Cruises at the new LNR Warner Center in 5700 Canoga Avenue, Woodland Hills, Calif.

She was very helpful and advises you to take the Viking transportation service. She is biased, of course, but she’s right. Moscow DME airport is 40 miles away on the opposite side of the city, at least two hours driving time. The airport has no Metro station; you’d have to take the Aeroexpress train to Paveletsky station then change to the Metro and go to Rechnoy Vokzal station then take a cab to the port. A cab all the way from DME would cost at least 2000 rubles (more than $70). That’s less than the $60 each that Viking would charge…but…I think you’d be ill-advised to do it on your own. Why start the trip where the potential to screw up is so likely? Moscow taxi drivers are as dishonest as most tourist city cab drivers and probably yours won’t speak English. I think the address in Russian is

BUT...

I strongly discourage you from economizing on this and doing it on your own. Buy the transfer and save money somewhere else.

We have other Viking Volga web articles up at http://travelingboy.com/archive-travel-eric-russia.html and at http://www.ericandersonsworld.com/story.php?id=6LvDg.

Good luck. Great show Canada’s putting on for the Olympics!

Eric & Nancy Anderson

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Reseller Hosting, London

Hi, Is it Britni Freeman?

Thank you, we think... We suspect your comments are valid. In fact we think all of us writing for TravelingBoy are starting to get into the swing of things and do a better job -- and your encouragement spurs us to do even better. Thank you for writing. Have a good 2010,

Eric & Nancy Anderson

Dear Nancy and Eric

Thank you so much for the wonderful article on statues in Europe. Statues are my favorite art form and your descriptions were delightful to read - knowledge and fun together. I do still wonder about that foot in Rome...

Peggy - Pasadena, CA

Hi Peggy,

Thank you for writing. We appreciate your comments. We used to be critical of people who can't identify the persons on statues in foreign cities -- until one day a tourist stopped us in our own San Diego and asked us, in vain, for details on a statue we'd never noticed before! We wonder about that Roman foot too. If Eric had stood any closer he'd be in his typical foot-in-mouth position.

Eric & Nancy Anderson

I live in Santa Fe and see and delight in it every day, but your writing makes it sparkle even more. How nice to see Santa Fe through your eyes. Great photos!

Cynthia Whitney-Ward - Santa Fe, NM

Dear Dr. Anderson:

I have followed your writing career for as long as I can remember, and I think the thing I enjoy the most about your travel writing is the sense of joy and discovery that leads the reader to anticipate ever corner you turn in your travels.What a delightful traveling companion you are, and I know have always been, with that wonderfully eternally youthful joie de vivre...I wonder:do you feel that East, West, home is best? And where IS that place you have never been, but want to go most of all,yet? Bring we, your devoted readers ever along!

CAT -- San Diego (Scrips Ranch), CA

Dear CAT,

Thank for taking the time to write to TravelingBoy.com. You are very kind. We don't know that travel writers make the best companions; we suspect they may be obsessed with getting the best photograph or may monopolize the guide with questions so that others don't get to ask what interests them. What place is best? Well, it may be fun to sit in a rickshaw in Beijing or try to master the Metro in Moscow, but -- as you imply -- it is good to get home after trips.

Home is as comfortable as a pair of old shoes and home for many of us fortunately contains family.

We've never been to Easter Island and may have missed the boat (no pun intended) there. The island is losing its innocence; we've seen that happen at Machu Picchu or, closer to home, at Lake Powell in Arizona. So maybe the best travel advice is: Go when you are fit and healthy, before rising prices make a destination inaccessible -- and before hordes of tourists ruin any destination's mystique.

With best Holiday Wishes from Traveling Boy,

Eric & Nancy Anderson

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What a fantastic primer on New York City. I think you have really captured its essence with this exciting overview of its offerings. Well done!

Gillian Abramson - New York

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You describe a city on wheels - er, wings - and an absolutely perfect way to travel. SHOWERS & FLOWERS! Amazing! I love that your passion for all-things-aviation comes through in this story about an almost unbelievable airplane. Thanks for breaking the news in such an engaging way!

Richard Frisbie - Saugerties, New York

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Enjoyed your blog on Romania. Noticed you called Bucharest "The Paris of the East." I wonder, is there any city not called "The Paris of something." I've read San Francisco is 'the Paris of the West,' Buenos Aires 'The Paris of South America,' and even Tromso, Norway 'The Paris of the Arctic.'

Terry Cowan - Fresno

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Hi Terry,

Thanks for writing to TravelingBoy. And thanks for educating me; I didn't know that about Tromso, didn't even know there was a Tromso. I heard Bangkok called the Venice of the East when I was there and, in two weeks, I'm heading for the Venice of the North, St. Petersburg, Russia.

It does become a bit silly, doesn't it? But we are originally an immigrant nation that was Eurocentric. Maybe it gave our forefathers confidence even courage when they took old names, old ideas to the New World with them. I know I feel nostalgic if I drive around Ontario, Canada and see all the British place names.

I appreciate your email. Thank you for writing.

Eric

Eric -

Enjoyed your article on Madrid. I noticed that you find it superior to Rome. Most of the Spanish folks that I meet seem to prefer Barcelona. How would you rate that city?

Samuel K
Seattle

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Hi Samuel,

We loved Barcelona although driving around the city was surprisingly complicated as our maps were inadequate. The cathedral had scaffolding around it so I couldn't get the pictures I wanted but we found the architecture fascinating and the Picasso museum rewarding. We were anxious to get on the road to Costa Brava and didn't have more than a couple of days in Barcelona.

Thanks for writing.
Eric


Great article on Madrid. I've heard there is a rivalry between the people of Madrid and Barcelona. In which city are the people friendlier? How about for hipness? I noticed you were Scottish. I felt a similar thing in Scotland, with a Glasgow v. Edinburgh vibe.

Gary
Santa Monica

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Thank you for writing to TravelingBoy, Gary. We found Barcelona friendlier.

Maybe that's because it's not the capital and it's not so busy either. Maybe it's because the Gaudi architectural influence is pervasive and -- to both its citizens and tourists -- comforting. Maybe it's because Barcelona is the gateway to the work of artist Salvatore Dali, and his spirit catches us. (I don't know much about art but I've seen a lot of Dali's work enough to think he never took himself too seriously and often painted tongue in cheek. Maybe fun people spring for fun places?) Hipness? Madrid is more formal and dressy but Barcelona, I believe, is more hip maybe, again, because it's more fun.

Your points about Scotland are valid. It's more than a joke. The Glaswegians are more down to earth. I think we see it here in the belief that if you had a flat tire in Middle America passers-by would be more inclined to stop and help than perhaps New Englanders.

- Eric

Dear Eric,

I liked the article. As I read it, I was wondering how you as a physician were influenced by Hippocrates. What influence did this historical figure have on the practice of medicine beyond the obvious 'oath.' Why is Hippocrates considered to be such a paragon of medicine? DWA - San Pedro, CA

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Dear David,

Thank you for writing to Travelingboy.com.

Hippocrates is revered because he believed his duty was to the individual patient, not to the community at large. This is a very important premise. The Romans, whose empire followed that of the Greeks, achieved much in health matters by emphasizing clean drinking water and personal hygiene, and created great national works like aquaducts and public baths but wealthy Romans apparently preferred Greek doctors as their personal physicians.

Hippocrates is also respected because he brought intellectual thought to diagnosis. He taught his students to use their five senses in assessing patients and was openly critical of the junk science of his day as practiced by the priest-physicians who preyed on the fear and ignorance of the ill persons who came to them.

It is true that not all medical chools today require graduating doctors to take the Hippocratic Oath but most conscientious physicians base their lifetime commitment to the practice of medicine on the life and teachings of that one man.

Or so I think. Perhaps if we knew more about our heroes they would seem less heroic. But in Hippocrates' case he did leave a record of his thoughts and some of his principles are today as strong as ever.

Thank you for writing, it is appreciated.

Eric

Stay tuned.


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