I don't understand the Romans' linking of humor, season, and characteristics for Humours 1-3. E.g. for 1: 1.1. Why'd black bile predominate in autumn (which I agree, is cold and dry)?

1.2. Why'd coldness + dryness, be linked to despondency, thoughtfulness? The Romans wouldn't have needed modern science to feel that coldness + dryness hinder human metabolism?

2.1. Same two questions each for Humours #2-3.

4 is the only humour with which I can empathize, as modern science substantiates heat to cause anger. Picture on the left, the right:

An illustration of the four humors

1 Answer 1


The (Pseudo-)Hippocratean treatise “On the nature of man” proposes the theory of the four humours (blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and the imaginary black bile) as an explanation not only for diseases, but for a large number of natural phenomena, including the four seasons, each of which is associated with one of the humours. This association is as logical or illogical as anything else in the theory of humours. Much later Galen expanded the theory by associating the four humours with the four Empedoclean elements (fire, air, water, earth) and the Aristotelean four basic qualities (wet, dry, hot, cold), but this is not part of the original Hippocratean system.

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