A History of Ideas About the Prolongation of Life (Springer by Gerald Gruman MD PhD

By Gerald Gruman MD PhD

Dr. Gruman's booklet examines the hunt for toughness and immortality as much as the yr 1800. He offers multicultural views and attitudes as depicted in Islamic and chinese language societies in addition to in Western Civilization. This scholarly paintings contributes to our realizing of the origins of medication, own hygiene and public wellbeing and fitness in addition to the underlying mental and social determinants of sturdiness and humanity's eager for its attainment.

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Extra resources for A History of Ideas About the Prolongation of Life (Springer Series on the Origins of Geriatrics and Gerontology)

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63 This last fountain is described as originating from the Euphrates, one of the four rivers of Paradise. M By the time of Ponce de León, the fountain-of-youth idea must have become familiar to e very one in Western Europe. " Marvelous waters, however, represent only one variety of the fountaintype legend, which was defined as being based on the idea that there exists a substance with the property of significantly prolonging life. Besides the water of the fountain of youth there are a host of other prolongevity substances which appear in legends.

54 This passage recalls the cold-dry theory of aging discussed in the previous chapter, according to which senility was caused by the loss of "vital" moisture. The implication of Herodotus' statement is that, if the waters of the Ethiopian spring are oilier and lighter than ordinary moisture, then they partake of the characteristics of "vital" moisture and, by frequent contact with the body, might actually lengthen life. Despite these intriguing remarks by Herodotus and Pausanias, the idea of a fountain of youth remained alien to Greco-Roman culture, and the only Classical contribution to the legend was an indirect one—the story of Glaukus.

51 Ancient and medieval attempts to explain oíd age were dominated by these traditional concepts of the four humors, the four qualities, and the four ages. There always was some uncertainty as to whether oíd age was cold and moist (as the Hippocratics had it) or cold and dry (as Aristotle stated), but that question need not concern us here. Both Galen and Avicenna followed Aristotle's lead, so it will be convenient for us to refer to this type of explanation of oíd age as the cold-dry hypothesis..

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