The College possesses three plaster busts of Hippocrates, two of which are identical, having probably been cast from the same original bust. The first of these identical busts is displayed in the Great Hall (see right), whilst the second is located in the Sibbald Library (see below). It is probable that the College purchased the pieces from Brucciani & Co. who were also responsible for providing some of the other busts and statues in the College’s collection alongside the reliefs in the Great Hall. Moreover, Brucciani listed a bust of Hippocrates in the 1885 catalogue of reproductions in the British Museum.

These identical busts of Hippocrates offer a classical portrayal of the physician. His face is also notably lined with with wrinkles, particularly in the forehead, a stylistic feature which may be intended to emphasise his deep thought and intellect. Furthermore, these busts arguably offer a more restrained portrayal than that seen in the college's third bust of Hippocrates.

 A full statue of Hippocrates is also found on the principle façade of the College, visible from Queen Street. As well as this Hippocrates appears in a front facing portrait in the frieze in the Great Hall.

Bust of Hippocrates in the Sibbald Library

Hippocrates (c.460 - 370 B.C.E)

Hippocrates was a Greek physician and the originator of what is now called Hippocratic medicine.  In his lifetime he was renowned as a teacher and his younger contemporary Plato makes reference to this in the Asclepiad. Hippocrates is also strongly associated with the Corpus Hippocraticum, a collection of writings which date approximately from the fifth to the third century B.C.E.. Whilst the authorship of this work was traditionally attributed to Hippocrates this is now a matter of scholarly debate as the authorship appears to have changed over the period of its composition. However, it is now certain that two of the works are known to have been written by Polybus, Hippocrates’ son-in-law. The collection is significant because it established medicine as a practice separate from philosophy and religion. Also significant from a medical-historical perspective are the observations and arguments which the texts make about diseases, medical problems and other factors effecting health. Also set out in this corpus was the theory of the four humours (blood, phlegm, yellow and black bile) and the idea that perfect health was achieved by balancing these, usually through the pursuit of a specific diet and regimen. Furthermore, laid out in the introduction is the Hippocratic Oath which formed the basis of the ethical model to be followed by medical professionals.

The first recorded books in the College’s library were donated by Sir Robert Sibbald in the late seventeenth century and amongst these works was ‘Hippocrates in Greek’.