• Elements, Mixture and Temperament: The Body’s Composition in Renaissance Physiology

    Author(s):
    Elisabeth Moreau (see profile)
    Date:
    2018
    Subject(s):
    Medicine, Middle Ages, Sixteenth century, Seventeenth century, Science
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Tag(s):
    Fernel, galenism, renaissance humanism, Medieval and early modern medicine, 16th-century science
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/n32n-8s10
    Abstract:
    In early medicine, the doctrine of temperament referred to the state of health, resulting from a balance or an imbalance of the four qualities. This definition was based on the elemental composition of the body, following Aristotelian physics and Galenic medicine. At the intersection of natural philosophy and medicine, Renaissance physiology provided a comprehensive account of the healthy temperament, by discussing the nature of elements, their union into a mixture, and their interaction with a vital principle. This chapter examines the theory of temperament expounded in a major treatise in early modern medicine, Jean Fernel’s Physiologia (1567). It aims to show that (1) Fernel’s account of mixture and temperament stimulated a discontinuous interpretation of the elements as contiguous particles; (2) beyond its humanist promotion of Ancient authors, i.e. Plato, Aristotle and Galen, Fernel’s interpretation was much indebted to medieval medicine, in particular Avicenna.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Book chapter    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    3 years ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives
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