‘YOUR LOVE IS LIKE BAD MEDICINE’: THE MEDICAL TRADITION OF LOVESICKNESS IN THE LEGENDS OF HIPPOCRATES AND ERASISTRATUS OF CEOS

Akroterion

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Title ‘YOUR LOVE IS LIKE BAD MEDICINE’: THE MEDICAL TRADITION OF LOVESICKNESS IN THE LEGENDS OF HIPPOCRATES AND ERASISTRATUS OF CEOS
 
Creator Ribeiro, LFC
 
Subject
Lovesickness; erotomania; erōs; Hippocrates; Erasistratus; erotic psychopathologies; melancholy
 
Description The image of the lover physically afflicted by erōs, with erratic pulse and fiery flushes under the skin, goes back at least as far as Sappho.  Ancient doctors like Galen and Oribasius of Pergamon saw the lovesick as a patient with a real disease in need of medicalintervention. In Western medieval medicine, the disease had various names, such as amor heroes and erotomania. This study defines lovesickness as erotomania, a psychosomatic illness with depressive symptoms caused by unrequited love, with its roots sometimes sought in a humoral imbalance of black bile, an excess of seminal fluid or in some inflammation of the brain. It traces this tradition to the anecdotes about the physicians Hippocrates and Erasistratus of Ceos on how they diagnosed and treated royal patients suffering from lovesickness. It is argued that these stories reflect real-life medical debates. The anecdotes suggest the cause of the disease to have been seen as psychic rather than purely physiological and somatic, calling for a therapy one might term psychological. They suggest the choice treatment for a patient suffering from sick unrequited love was to requite the demands of erōs.
 
Publisher Stellenbosch University, Department of Ancient Studies
 
Contributor
 
Date 2021-03-11
 
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article
info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion
Peer-reviewed Article

 
Format application/pdf
 
Identifier http://akroterion.journals.ac.za/pub/article/view/1024
10.7445/65-0-1024
 
Source Akroterion; Vol 65 (2020)
2079-2883
0303-1896
 
Language eng
 
Relation http://akroterion.journals.ac.za/pub/article/view/1024/1046
 
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Rights Copyright (c) 2021 Akroterion
 

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