Classics Notes – Mar. 22/12
- Air is attracted by the lungs from outside. Spiritus means pneuma or air, and is a mixture of blood
and air. Its function is to keep the body at a constant temperature. This is the function of the arteries.
- Psychic system: There is a network of arteries called the rete mirable – found out through dissections
of animals. Psychic pneuma is carried through nerves and is responsible for sensation. The food that
we eat and the air we inhale has an effect on our thinking and on our psychic functions.
- The liver is the main organ of nutrition – blood is produced here. If the heart suffers from an
improper mixture of substance the person dies. The movement of the arteries is dependent on the
health of the heart, so if the heart is damaged the person will die.
- Each part of the body has a specific function or activity. The strength and weakness of these functions
determines health or disease. The functions that concern thinking and memory are transmitted
through nerves from the brain and to the body. Through the pulse, you can assess the strength or
weakness of the heart. If the person is pale, shows that there might be a lack of blood – the liver did
not change the food properly into blood. Galen uses these tools to assess the general
functioning/health of the body. He looks at the state of the brain, heart, and liver.
- 4 qualities – warm, cold, moist, dry of the homiomeres. There is a mixture or combination of these –
called krasis temperament. Each part of the body has its specific mixture, but the body as whole has
their own mixture based on their constitution. This is where a person’s temperament comes from.
Eukrasia/dyskrasia – good or wrong combinations of mixtures. There are 8 possible wrong mixtures
of the parts. Each organ has a specific function and if the qualities are correct, the organ can perform
their faculty – attractive, etc. The proper function of these 4 faculties depends on the eukrasia of the 4
qualities. Organs use the 4 faculties for their function. If there is dyskrasia, the function of organs will
not be right. For example, if liver is too cold, this might impair the alterative faculty, which means the
specific function of the liver (to produce blood) will not work properly, which will impair the health
of the person. Galen would call any dyskrasia a disease, which is a disease of the homiomeres. A
disease is always that which impairs a function directly. If there is an obstruction in the liver, the
arrangement of homiomeres in the liver is not correct, and the liver cannot perform its function
properly (cannot produce blood). This is another type of disease – disease of the organ, and is