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The four main humors were sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic, and melancholy.
Each humor was associated with a different body substance, with combinations of heat and moisture, and with a particular element (see chart).
In general, the body's health was seen through an Aristotelian viewpoint.
Observing that human personalities could be divided into a few similar groupings, and that many illnesses were caused by and/or produced effects more like some personalities than others, classical and medieval authorities reasoned that the body was governed by substances called s, which ran throughout the body in differing quantities, not only causing variations in personality, but also causing varying states of health.
Natural though it was, however, sex was also morally fraught because of the pleasure associated with sexual activity.
When engaged in for strictly defined right reasons, sex was sinless.
In addition to more and less palatable recipes to aid conception, contains some very entertaining passages. [read more] O my companions you should be aware that although certain women do not know the secret cause of what I shall describe, many women are familiar with the effect, . As a consequence of this duality, sex was most often depicted in extreme ways that ignored the well-balanced middle ground inhabited by most medieval people.
In one such, the author claims that a person who consumes sage upon which a cat has ejaculated will have kittens. [read more] Note that if the womb and intestine of a hare are dried and pulverized they become very hot, and similarly a pig's liver is hot in itself . Celibacy or whoredom, chastity or adultery – in literature and art there was often no middle ground, and these oppositional portrayals bled over specifically into depictions of women.
Women's health was considered to be somewhat mysterious in its workings, and was generally, in practice if not always in theory, treated differently than men's health.This is where natural philosophy came in; what physicians could not observe, they had to infer.Some classical texts on medicine had survived into the Middle Ages, and physicians and scholars used these as a starting point for medical knowledge.Some other treatises on women's health and women's bodies were not so free of morality.One such book, rather humorous by our standards, was a treatise called ), whose author claimed to be the German natural philosopher Albertus Magnus (a claim which scholars regard as spurious, resulting in the text's author being known as "Pseudo-Albertus Magnus"). [read more] Sex and Society The most difficult aspect of sex, widely acknowledged both by physicians and by priests, was its highly pleasurable nature, an aspect variously thought to indicate its inherently natural and/or sinful qualities.