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Woodcut disease man chart showing male figure facing front with the twelve symbols of the zodiac placed over the body parts which are ruled by each constellation with boxes of text by each zodiac figure describing possible interactions, from Johannes de Ketham’s Fasiculo de medicina. (Venice: Gregori, 1493).  NLM Call number: WZ 230 K43fI 1494.

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"Zodiac Man."
Johannes de Ketham.
Fasiculo de medicina. (Venice: Gregori, 1493).

Medical astrology was based on the belief that the body's "microcosm" corresponded to the "macrocosm" of the planets and stars and gave order to the seemingly random course of life and health. Thus, it assisted the physician in prescribing treatment, in predicting the course of a disease, and in casting horoscopes. This woodcut shows which constellation, symbolized by a sign of the zodiac, governs each region of the body. Aries governs the head as well as March (which was once the first month of the year), and so on. Consequently, the table advises that a region of the body should not receive medication when the corresponding sign is dominant. Thus, it is bad to treat the head in March, and "anyone who does so will cause a concussion or die."
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