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Astro-medicine

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Abstract

Astromedicine, the notion that human health is in some way linked to the stars, is found in many societies. The Babylonians and Ancient Egyptians were famous for their astronomical knowledge, and used it to predict and diagnose disease, and influenced some Greek and Roman doctors from 100 BCE onwards. Galen of Pergamum preferred a meteorological explanation for illness, but his discussion of critical days allowed his successors in Late Antiquity to include the influence of the stars in their calculations. This Galenic astromedicine was developed by the Arabs and taken over in the learned medicine of Western Europe from 1200 CE. Objections were raised in the Renaissance, and by 1600, medical astrology had fallen out of favour among the elite physicians. Patients, however, still flocked to astrologers like Simon Forman. Arabic astromedicine also spread eastwards to India and Tibet, although Chinese astromedicine developed differently.

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