Recently I discovered the Stanford University article titled A History of the Heart while browsing online. It fascinates me that the story of human heart is documented throughout history.
The article discusses the history of writings and illustrations of the heart from the fourth century B.C. through the seventeenth century A.D. It describes work done by fourth century B.C. philosopher Aristotle, who declared the heart the center of life energy in the body. In the centuries that followed, the heart was known to be the body organ that produced heat and served feeling, attracting, and thinking functions.
The story continues by observing that study of the heart focused more on its physical nature when anatomical science flourished in the 15th century Renaissance era. Leonardo da Vinci created fascinating drawings that applied physics and engineering principles to the heart and its function. One is included here.
The article goes on to describe the work of 17th century English physician William Harvey, who decided the role of the heart is to move blood throughout the body. It also reminds us that the heart has a metaphysical history, too. Throughout centuries, it has been deemed the source of human emotion—fear, anger, passion, sadness, and other strong feelings.
Everyone has physical and emotional heart history. In my early adult years, I remember hearing the cliche about not having fully lived unless my heart had been broken. I don’t know if that’s required for a full life. I do know that heartbreak can move me and my heart into the same space—where “we” feel each powerful beat and second. Please share something you know about heart history.