Brill’s New Pauly

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Melancholy
(1,547 words)

[German version]

I. Medicine (CT)

In the 5th cent. AD, the originally Galenic notion (Galenism) that melancholy was a temperament ruled by black bile, one of the four main humours, irreversibly merged with the older notion of a specific illness by that name. In that way, black bile had come to be seen as the most dangerous bodily fluid, and melancholics seemed more than ever afflicted with all kinds of diseases. Isidorus [9] Etymologiae X 176, derived the term malus from an excess of black bile, whi…

Cite this page
Nutton, Vivian (London) and Blamberger, Günter, “Melancholy”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 19 January 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1574-9347_bnp_e1503350>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510



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