Tools
  • APPENDIX: TWO SHORT TREATISES
    • INTRODUCTION 431
    • 1. ON THE BEST CONSTITUTION OF OUR BODY 434
    • 2. ON GOOD BODILY STATE 452
  • INDEXES 463
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PREFACE

PREFACE

Galen’s concept of the combination (krasis) of the four elemental qualities (hot, cold, wet, and dry) is fundamental to his account of the structure and function of the human body (and of animal and plant bodies generally), which is in turn fundamental to his theory of medical practice. Disturbances of krasis (dyskrasias) constitute one of his three major categories of disease, as well as being regarded as the cause of deviations from perfect health that fall short of disease and are the province of hygiene. Thus his work ΠΕΡΙ ΚΡΑΣΕΩΝ (On Krasias) is of the greatest importance to his theory and practice of medicine. This is the main work included in the present volume. Two other related works are included, dealing with specific aspects of dyskrasia, thus amplifying the concept: On Non-Uniform Distemperment and The Soul’s Traits Depend on Bodily Temperament. The former clarifies Galen’s distinction between what might be called focal and systemic dyskrasias. The latter makes the argument for dyskrasias of the brain and its membranes being a major cause of what would now come under the heading of nervous and mental diseases. Also of interest is that this work, probably written some two decades later than the principal work on krasis, includes the notion of substance as that in which the elemental

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