Wrong theories on the origin of blood vessels: Polybus and De Natura Hominis

Mohammadali M. Shoja, R. Shane Tubbs, Marios Loukas, Mohammad R. Ardalan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Polybus of Cos (~ 400 B.C.) was the son-in-law and the successor of Hippocrates. He is credited with founding the school of Dogmatism, and writing "The Nature of Man" which was important in advancing the theory of the four body humors (humoralism). Some earlier scholars negated Polybus' role as an independent medical figure. However, Corpus Aristotelicum quoted him as having a unique theory regarding the body vasculature which stated that this system was composed of four pairs of blood vessels originating from the head and that these supplied the whole body. In an interpretation of this theory, we opined that numerological mysticism might have been the common motive for both Hippocrates' humoralism and Polybus' theory of the vasculature. A discussion on this issue is presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-315
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 6 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Anatomy
  • Aristotle
  • Humors
  • Polybus
  • Vasculature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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