The special issue of Early Science and Medicine (Brill), Complexio Across Disciplines, edited by Chiara Beneduce (CNRS – Paris Cité University) is now online in open access
The essays presented in this special issue constitute a set of case studies, which are grouped thematically but which also follow a mainly chronological order stretching from Antiquity to the early modern era. The essays therefore address various issues related to the long history of the notion of “complexion,” with a clear focus on the later Middle Ages and the Renaissance – since the notion of ”complexion” was central to these two periods.
In line with the general aims of the special issue, the contributions address both (1) cases in which ‘complexion’ is used in non-medical fields and texts, and (2) cases in which its medical use intersects with other disciplines. In addition to offering an original, specific perspective on the notion of “complexion” by tracing its history “across disciplines,” the special issue also touches upon some of the most pertinent scholarly debates related to the broader history of complexion – especially its relationship to a variety of philosophical concepts and problems.
Among other topics, the essays discuss complexion in connection with the body and the soul; complexion and the plurality of forms; complexion as a principle of individuation; complexion, matter, and form; complexion as a process and/or the result of a process; complexion and natural determinism; complexion, human actions, and moral virtue; the semantics of complexion (i.e., the relationship of the word/notion to other similar words/notions, such as mixtio, commixtio, mixtura, temperamentum, dispositio etc.); and the relationship between complexion theories and the use of the notion ‘complexion’ in medical practice. Virtually unexplored theoretical topics related to complexion are also addressed, including the counter-operations of bodily complexions and the relationship between complexion and occult qualities (especially in the framework of magnetism).
Complexio. Across Disciplines – Introduction to this Special Issue – Chiara Beneduce
Eukrasia and Enkrateia: Greco-Roman Theories of Blending and the Struggle for Virtue – Giouli Korobili
The Concept of Complexion in Antonio da Parma’s Medical Anthropology – Aurélien Robert
Can There Be Two Perfectly Identical Complexions? Peter of Abano and Jacopo of Forlì on Avicenna’s Interdict – Gabriella Zuccolin
Complexion of the Members, Complexion of the Body, in Late-Medieval Scholastic Medicine – Joël Chandelier
Between Matter and Form: Complexion (mizāǧ) as a Keystone of Avicenna’s Scientific Project – Tommaso Alpina
Complexio in the Late-Medieval Latin De animalibus – Chiara Beneduce
Is Memory a Matter of Complexion? On Memory Disorders in the Latin Commentaries on De memoria (1250–1300) – Véronique Decaix
Complexio and the Transformation of Learned Physiognomy ca. 1200–ca. 1500 – Joseph Ziegler
Can Mixtures Be Identified by Touch? The Reception of Galen’s De complexionibus in Italian Renaissance Medicine – Viktoria von Hoffmann
Temperament and the Senses: The Taste, Odor and Color of Drugs in Late-Renaissance Galenism – Elisabeth Moreau
The Constitution of Air: Observation and the Limits of Temperament in Italian Renaissance Medical Writing – Craig Martin
Tempering Occult Qualities: Magnetism and Complexio in Early Modern Medical Thought – Christoph Sander