'HEAD OR HEART?' REVISITED: PHYSIOLOGY AND POLITICAL THOUGHT IN THE THIRTEENTH AND FOURTEENTH CENTURIES
Medical metaphors pervade medieval European political writings. No attempt has been made to establish the relationship between bodily imageries of the political community and anatomical and/or physiological knowledge. A survey of bodily metaphors shows that the primacy of the head of the body politic was challenged at the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries by an alternative view: the pre-eminence of the heart. This coincided with the penetration of Aristotelian physiology into scholastic medicine, which triggered debates over the most important member of the body natural: is it the head or the heart? The medical inspiration for the conceptualization of the body politic illustrates the great impact of the 'Aristotelian revolution' in medieval political thought.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Department of History, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand., Email: [email protected]
Publication date: 01 January 2007