16th-century medical astrology

16th-century medical astrology

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Credit: CORDELIA MOLLOY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Medical astrology. 16th-century artwork of Zodiac Man, a male body labelled with the twelve signs of the zodiac. This artwork was published in Freiburg in 1503 in the encyclopedia Margarita Philosophica by the German author Gregor Reisch (c.1467-1525). This encyclopedia was very popular, and was one of the standard textbooks of the time. The artwork shows how physicians thought the universe (the Macrocosm) was reflected in the human body (the Microcosm), a central concept in the astrology and natural philosophy of medieval Europe and the Renaissance. The abdominal and thoracic organs are shown by dissection. Increased use of dissections from the late 1400s eventually led to advances in medical science and a decrease in the influence of astrology on medicine.

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