par Moreau, Elisabeth
Référence Complexio across Times and Disciplines (25-26 February 2021: Radboud University (Nijmegen, the Netherlands))
Publication Non publié, 2021
Communication à un colloque
Résumé : Early physicians abundantly discussed the nature, composition, and active powers of drugs in relation to the Galenic notion of “temperament” that is the body constitution defining its state of health. In the same way as living and natural bodies, drugs were considered as having a temperament for their composition into elements and their properties related to primary/secondary qualities and other specific powers. According to this reasoning, efficient drugs were seen as transforming the temperament of the affected body parts by restoring the balance of their own qualities or by acting through particular active powers. In this paper, I will look more closely at how late Renaissance physicians understood the nature and functioning of drug properties in connection with the notion of temperament and the related medieval concept of “complexion”. To this purpose, I will examine a series of treatises on pharmacology by major figures of sixteenth-century medicine such as the French physician Jean Fernel (c. 1497–1558) and the Italian physician Andrea Cesalpino (1519–1603). By comparing their views on the temperament of drugs and its action on that of the human body, I will assess their reception of ancient and medieval medical texts on this theme in order to trace late Renaissance explanations of drug composition and assimilation.