Health and dietetics in medieval preventive medicine: the health regimen of Peter of Spain (thirteenth century)
Amarante dos Santos, Dulce O. (Universidade Federal de Goiás) and Daílza da Conceição Fagundes, Maria (Universidade Estadual de Goiás)
História, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos, Vol.17:2 (2010)
This text is an analysis of a preventive medical work, Liber de conservanda sanitate, composed in the thirteenth century by the Portuguese physician and doctor, Peter of Spain (?1210- 1277). His work enables us to look at the conceptions of health and hygiene and understand the social role of university physicians in medieval preventive medicine. The work constantly displays the notion of the balance in corporal health between internal elements, or natural things (complexion, for example), and external ones, or non-natural things (air, sleep, exercise, food, baths, passions of the soul).
Among the various kinds of medieval medical texts in Latin the health regimens can be found, composed starting at the end of the twelfth century and the beginning of the thirteenth in the European context of the emergence of urban university medicine. They are orientation manuals on the margin of religious or magical ideas and denote concern with maintaining corporal health. The Liber de conservanda sanitate (Compendium of the preservation of health), attributed to the Portuguese physician Peter of Spain (?1210- 1277), the subject analyzed by this article, constitutes a concrete example of this interest in the preservation of health and the fight to avoid diseases. Peter of Spain, a man of science, or learning, was one of a minority of physicians, students and university professors who at that time sought to rationally approach on a theoretical plane the world of nature and natural phenomena, such as health and disease.