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Volume 2010, Article ID 857657, 6 pages
Review Article

The Beliefs, Myths, and Reality Surrounding the Word Hema (Blood) from Homer to the Present

First Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Laiko General Hospital Athens, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens 11527, Greece

Received 10 February 2010; Revised 7 April 2010; Accepted 4 May 2010

Academic Editor: Edward F. Bell

Copyright © 2010 John Meletis and Kostas Konstantopoulos. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


All ancient nations hinged their beliefs about hema (blood) on their religious dogmas as related to mythology or the origins of religion. The Hellenes (Greeks) especially have always known hema as the well-known red fluid of the human body. Greek scientific considerations about blood date from Homeric times. The ancient Greeks considered hema as synonymous with life. In Greek myths and historical works, one finds the first references to the uninterrupted vascular circulation of blood, the differences between venous and arterial blood, and the bone marrow as the site of blood production. The Greeks also speculated about mechanisms of blood coagulation and the use of blood transfusion to save life.