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Classical element

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The four classical elements.

The Greek classical elements are fire, air, water, and earth. In Greek philosophy, science and medicine, these make up a whole.

  • Fire is both hot and dry.
  • Air is both hot and wet.
  • Water is both cold and wet.
  • Earth is both cold and dry.

The image below has two squares on top of each other. The corners of one are the classical elements. The corners of the other are the properties.

Galen said these elements were used by Hippocrates to describe the human body. The elements are linked to the four humours: phlegm (water), yellow bile (fire), black bile (earth), and blood (air).

In Chinese Taoism the elements are metal, wood, water, fire, earth (金、木、水、火、土).