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Under the Influence of the Heavens: Astrology in Medicine in the 15th and 16th Centuries

For a number of centuries, prior to the advent of the scientific revolution, "astrology was used as a tool for both treatment and diagnosis of any number of aches and pains." On this website, created by the Historical Medical Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia Digital Library, visitors can learn more about this perceived link between astrology and human health via a number of fascinating archival materials from the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. While none of these documents feature English text, each are accompanied with detailed annotations to enable contemporary visitors to appreciate their significance. For example, visitors can examine detailed illustrations from Margarita Philosophica, a 1517 encyclopedia. One such illustration, "The Zodiac Man," details how astrological signs influence different body parts. Meanwhile, a fifteenth century document, entitled Amicus Medicorum (which translates to "friend of physicians") highlights the controversial role of horoscopes during the early Renaissance years. As a whole, this collection highlights a fascinating and oft-overlooked aspect of European medical history.
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