Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Friday Fact

I nearly forgot to put this up! We have company and The Munchkin is wounded again.

The Zodiac Man

The history of bloodletting as a medical practice is quite fascinating. This week, we're discussing the Zodiac Man.

No, he's not a character in a book. He's a chart. Up until the mid 19th century, theories of medicine were based on the ancient theory of the Four Humours. This theory came about during the Greek Empire. Those four humours are black bile, yellow bile, phlegm and blood. The medical theory stated that all four humours must remain in balance for a person to be healthy. If they were sick, one of the humours was either out of balance or there was too much of it. Certain diseases were tied to certain humours. Fevers were generally tied to blood.

The Zodiac Man entered the picture during the Middle Ages when astrology was at its height. It's a drawing of a man, and around him are the twelve zodiac signs. Each sign was attached to a different part of the body. When the barber or the doctor decided a person needed to be bled, the first thing he did was consult the chart. For instance, if the sign of Scorpio was highest, then he would bleed from the upper left thigh.

I'm rather fond of this image of a German Zodiac Man. There's also one of an Aztec man, and this one that appears to be from the early Middle Ages.

1 comment :

  1. This is very interesting. I'd never heard of a Zodiac man.

    I hope the Munchkin's injuries are not too severe.