The Greek (Hellenic) rheumatology over the years: from ancient to modern times

Rheumatol Int. 2019 Jun;39(6):947-955. doi: 10.1007/s00296-019-04261-4. Epub 2019 Feb 25.


Rheumatology has its roots in ancient Greece. Hippocrates and other prominent Greek (Hellenes) physicians in ancient times, Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine period were acute observers of disease course and of patients and were able to define many disorders. They wrote books on various aspects of medicine and these writings were the basis of medical practice and education in Europe and the Arabic world well into the seventeenth century. In 1821, Greece emerged from a long occupation by the Turks. In 1930, Adamantiades, a Greek Ophthalmologist, before Behcet of Turkey, described what is known as (Adamantiades)-Behcet disease. The first scientific Hellenic Society for Rheumatology (ERE) was established in 1960 and today ERE having been merged with the Professional Union of Greek rheumatologists (EPERE) is known as ERE-EPERE. Rheumatology is a strong specialty with 348 rheumatologists for a population of around 11 million. Greek rheumatologists have contributed to rheumatology science and practice, and are active physicians participating in the American College of Rheumatology and the EULAR annual congresses and in many educational postgraduate courses. ERE-EPERE formed therapeutic protocols for inflammatory and autoimmune rheumatic diseases which were incorporated in the electronic National prescription system. Rheumatologists are authorized to use this platform to prescribe biologicals free of charge for patients. ERE-EPERE publishes a peer-reviewed English language journal, the Mediterranean Journal of Rheumatology (MJR), an open access journal with no publication fees. MJR is a quarterly journal with international Editorial Board.

Keywords: Arthritis; Behcet’s disease; Byzantine; Galen; Gout; Hellenistic; Hippocrates; Mediterranean.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Greece
  • Greece, Ancient
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • History, Ancient
  • History, Medieval
  • Rheumatology / history*