Biography of Blas Álvarez de Miraval (s. XVI-XVII)

Spanish doctor born in the province of Valladolid in Medina del Campo at unknown date that arises in a end of century XVI.

He received his doctorate at the University of Salamanca in medicine and theology. Later, he/she became professor at the same University. The breadth of his studies and knowledge was well clear in his work, in which each chapter will be supported by a large number of quotations, both sacred and classical writers of Arabic and contemporary.

The book entitled the preservation of the health of the body and the soul (1597), to which is added a treatise on memory, is the only known work by this author. In the first chapters of the book, devoted to exposing his anthropological vision, is already discovered orientation that presides over the entire work. Therein lies an attempt to combine the Renaissance image of man - its individualiad and its superiority over all creation - with the Christian doctrine of essential revocation of the human being, Miraval attaches to the imperfection of the four elements that make up your body.

The bulk of the book is a treatise of individual hygiene, ordained in lathe to the "sex natural non res" dose and presided over by the Aristotelian rule that virtue is medium. Two of these themes dedicated Miraval Álvarez special attention: the sexual problem and the movements of the mind. In the first, after exposing that "all things are clean and honest to those who clean and healthy treat them" and give evidence of a rooted misogyny, down to details ranging from how avoid the temptations of the flesh, even what the station and the most propitious time for the venereal Act, without forgetting the problem, so in vogue in his time, sterility. Still possess more interest the chapters devoted to the movements of the mind. It is located in an interesting discussion on the interrelations between the soul and the body, as well as a series of rules that show the orientation, while Christian and stoic, the author: prudence, goodness and Temperance as a source of health, and greed, envy, sloth and pride as causes of disease.

The work ends with a few chapters on health and disease in general. In them, returned to become patent, firstly, the Renaissance spirit of Miraval, showing very skeptical to the complicated medieval Pharmacopoeia and advocates the use of simple medicines; Secondly, his theological formation, shown in the spiritual assessment of the disease.

The treatise on memory, which is added to the book, is composed of a series of practical tips of how to enhance this ability. Shows supporter, also, the choice of the profession based on the different development of the faculties, what sets an interesting precedent of Psychology applied to vocational guidance.



Book entitled the preservation of the health of the body and the soul, for the good Regiment of health and longer life of the Majesty of the King Don Philippe third our Lord and very helpful for all genre of States, for Philósophos and doctors, jurists and Theologos and, mainly, for Ecclesiasticos preachers of the word of God. It is added a treatise of the memory. Medina del Campo, S. Ridge, 1597; Salamanca, D. Cussio, 1599; Salamanca, A. Renaut, 1601.


HERNÁNDEZ MOREJÓN, A. bibliographical history of Spanish medicine. Widow of Jordan and sons, 1842-1852, vol. III, pp. 411-414.CHINCHILLA, a. historical annals of medicine in general and biografico-bibliograficos of the Spanish in particular. Valencia, IMP. of López y Cía, 1841-1846, vol. II, pp. 59-61.GRANJEL, L. S. The work of Álvarez's Miraval. Clinic and laboratory, 53 (1957), 271-286.