Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Four Humours;

Or, A noteworthy blip in the (admittedly short) History of Modern Medicine.
1st Asklepios (mythical),
Then Hippocrates (He of the Oath)
and Then Galen.

Disorders of the body were once symbolised by body type (physiognomy), color, and miscellaneous paradigms of attitude...these are the four archetypes which had evolved little over the course of centuries. All are believed to be a result of excess or imbalance not only of life-style or personality but of physiology and other natural factors (elements, seasons &c).
Sanguine: Blood , Air. Jolly, Lustful. Some, such as Galen, say it is the most balanced of the humours, yet synonymous with those given to baser instincts.


Choleric: Yellow Bile, Fire. Temper-prone, belligerent. Generally acidic in word and deed.


Melancholic: Black Bile, Earth. The depressed condition, Saturnine in disposition. Ironically also associated with contemplation and the introspective act of negotioating logic puzzles (voir Durer's epononymous work on the subject).

Phlegmatic: The self-same substance, Water. It it is an apathetic, lack-a-daisy and sickly state of being.

A balance of all four, apparently, would garner a sort of Temperance...but this is a subject best left to the classical Philosophers that vaingloriously search for transmutation of All Things or the Gypsies with their enigmatic (some say prophetic, some preposterous) card-based picture-plays.

~Dain Quentin Gore

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