The Government of the Body: A Reconstruction of the Physiological Chapters in Nemesius of Emesa’s De natura hominis

In: Early Science and Medicine
David Lloyd Dusenbury Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

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This contribution argues that the physiological and psychological chapters of Nemesius of Emesa’s highly influential conspectus of late-antique anthropology, De natura hominis, are not random memoranda on the human organism or disjecta membra extracted from a range of late-antique sources. On the contrary, it is claimed here that De natura hominis 6-28, in which the medical anthropology of the Platonic–Galenic tradition comes to the fore, mark a decisive phase in the argument of Nemesius’ text. The human is defined by Nemesius as the only living being which is at once ruler and ruled. In De natura hominis 6-28, this image of humankind is given an anatomical proof.

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