It was in Salerno, for example, that much work was done by academics and others, supported and sponsored by the Church, to articulate for a new age the traits of Hippocratic medicine as a tradition. It is the results of this and other contemporaneous work which exerted great influence on physicians, healers and other medical practitioners until as late as the 19th century (Porter 1998, p. 13).2
Opportunities for a medical education were scarce at the beginning of the High Middle Ages. So-called cathedral universities that offered medical education, such as that of Chartres in France, were an exception. One reason for this seems to be that, because universities during this period generally offered a broad education in the humanities that did not have as a specific objective a curriculum designed to produce professional physicians, the education one could expect differed substantially in nature and content from that which was developed in Salerno from the 11th century onwards (Nutton 1995, p.139).
The earliest Salernitan texts used for teaching purposes were the product of many variables, such as the influence of Arab medical knowledge imported into southern Italy by Arab settlers who maintained contact with Byzantium and northern Africa, which combined to infuse a new and more speculative view into medieval medical thought (Nutton 1995, pp.140).
Medical education and professional training in the Late Middle Ages was greatly influenced and accelerated by a narrowed focus on medical learning as a discipline, which was adopted by university educators from about 1250 onwards (Nutton 1995, pp. 142-159). One work in particular, Articella, revived interest in and pursuit of the Galenic medical tradition, which built on the earlier Hippocratic works, and for the first time gave university medical educators and practitioners a 'sacred text' by which a physician's professionalism and knowledge could be measured and benchmarked based on his expert comprehension, understanding and application of the series of books that comprised the contents of the Articella compendium (Nutton 1995, p. 142).
By holding to an assumption that all disease stems from natural as opposed to supernatural causes, physicians and healers throughout the medieval period, following the Hippocratics who established the tradition long before them during the Hellenic period, appealed to human nature itself for specific natural causes. It is for this reason that the treatise in the Corpus that elaborates the main tenets of Hippocratic medicine most ardently and succinctly is On the Nature of Man (Jones 1923, Volume IV). Medieval medical practitioners, in adopting and using these ideas, sustained the essence of Hippocratic thought by seeking to explain the nature of the human body by direct observation of it followed by systematic analysis of this observation.
Medieval physicians and other medical practitioners used the precepts presented in the Hippocratic treatise, On the Nature of Man, to treat their patients (Nutton 1995, pp. 175-183). It is in this text that the theory of the four humors is discussed in detail, relating that the human body is comprised of blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile