History events at the IHR

Healthy Living in Pre-Modern Europe: The Theory and Practice of the SIx Non-Naturals (c.1400-1700)

13 September 2013, 09:00 - 14 September 2013 18:00

Event Type: Conference / Symposium


This conference seeks to bring together scholars working on topics related to the role played by the six Non-Naturals in health maintenance in the late-medieval and early modern period.  It is well-known that health was thought to depend on the regulation of the six key factors affecting body functions: the air one breathes, sleep, food and drink, evacuations, movement and emotions.In pre-modern medicine careful management of these spheres of life was regarded as crucial if one wished to prevent disease. Yet the study of the Non Naturals has been neglected, as scholars have focused on the development of the concept in medical thought rather than on the advice regarding the individual non-naturals. The only exception concerns the recommendations related to food and diet while the other Non-Naturals have been the object only of general surveys. Even less attention has been paid to the relationship between preventive advice and practice.  This conference intends to address these gaps. Moreover we hope to stimulate discussions which will enable us to compare different regions and countries and to explore changing approachs to the Non-Naturals (and to the underpinning humoural principles) over the period under consideration.


Venue: Room G35 (Ground Floor)

Senate House, South Block
Malet Street 
London WC1E 7HU 

Download a map of the central precinct with directions for getting to the University of London Senate House.