Hippocrates to Harrison : Aristotle's Compleat


Classical Works
Obstetrics and Gynaecology
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Who was Harrison?

Classical works

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Aristotle's compleat master piece : in three parts: displaying the secrets of nature in the generation of man ... To which is added, a treasure of health; or, the family physician ...
London? : Printed and sold by the booksellers, 1753.
25th edition

Image from Aristotle's Compleat Master Piece Image from Aristotle's Compleat Master Piece

In the medieval period one of the important reasons for studying astrology was its relationship to medicine and medical prognosis Treatment was often determined by astrological information. Just as the movement of the heavens was believed to influence the weather, so it was believed that it could influence human physiology, and each part of the body was associated with astrological signs. Students of medicine at the University of Bologna, for instance, learnt astrology for four years.

Many medical works therefore included an image of the Zodiac Man, which was intended to inform practitioners which astrological signs influenced which parts of the body. This determined the propitious time for treating various ailments, as a region of the body should not receive medication when its corresponding sign was dominant.

Aries governed the head, Sagittarius ruled the thighs, Pisces the feet, and so on. Consequently, it was bad to treat the head in March. Bloodletting, a medical treatment intended to rectify the imbalance of bodily humours, was regulated by the position of the moon. When the moon was in the zodiac ruling a particular part of the body, bloodletting from that part was to be avoided, since the attraction of the moon might cause excessive bleeding.

RB 4653.44