Typology, the classification of human beings according to their physical and psychological characteristics, is as old as medicine itself. It is particularly relevant to those forms of therapy which take account of the whole person. Dr Vannier attached great importance to the subject, believing that it could help the homoeopath to know the patient better, and the patient to perceive more clearly the full extent of his or her own potential.
He takes as his models the gods of Antiquity - Mars, Saturn, Apollo, Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Luna and Terra - studying their mythological attributes as prototypes of the mental and physical characteristics of human beings. Each of these principal types is described at length under the following headings: physical make-up, morphology, intellect, character, the conditions and problems to which they are prone, and the changes that are likely to occur with age and circumstance. He then studies in detail the homoeopathic remedies to which the individual types respond best - usually a group of six to eight related remedies dominated by a major polychrest.
Dr Vannier makes it clear that no human being is a pure prototype, exhibiting one set of characteristics alone, and that in his view two, three or even four types will be found in one person, either together in varying degree, or else in succession. He describes briefly a number of'metatypes' - combinations of prototypes - which he names after gods not included in the original eight.
The text is illustrated throughout with line drawings and photographs, showing how artists and sculptors from classical times until the present century have depicted the different types and their many variations.