the cause ; Menecrates that the body is composed
of blood, bile, breath and phlegm, and that health is
a harmony of these.
The Hippocratic collection shows similar diversity
of opinion. Diseases IV. 51, gives as the
four humours bile, blood, phlegm and ὕδρωψ (not
water, but a watery humour). Affections I. ascribes
all diseases to bile and phlegm. Ancient Medicine
recognizes an indefinite number of humours.
The great Hippocratic group imply the doctrine
of humours in its phraseology and outlook on
symptoms, but it is in the background, and nowhere
are the humours described. It is clear, however,
that bile and phlegm are the most prominent, and
bilious and phlegmatic temperaments are often
mentioned in Airs Waters Places and Epidemics I.
and III. There are signs of subdivision in πικρόχολοι
Regimen in Acute Diseases, XXXIII. : οἱ πικ̣όχολοι τὰ
ἄνω : Epidemics III. XIV. (end).|
Amid all these differences, which by their very
variety indicate that they belonged to theory without
seriously affecting practice, there is one common
principle--that health is a harmonious mingling of
the constituents of the body. What these constituents
are is not agreed, nor is it clear what exactly
is meant by "mingling."
The word ἄκρητος, which I have translated "unmixed"
or "uncompounded," is said by Galen to
mean "consisting of one humour only." It is more