Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(770 words)

1. Concept and origins

Melancholy, or melancholia, literally means “[condition of] black gall” (from Greek mélas; “black”; cholḗ, “gall”). It long denoted merely the natural condition of the melancholic human type, in the context of the ancient idea that each of the four temperaments (sanguine, choleric, melancholic, phlegmatic) was categorically ruled by one of the four bodily humors (black and yellow gall, blood, and phlegm; Humoralism). The proportions of humors, whi…

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Naphy, William and Dworzak, Angelika, “Melancholy”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 02 March 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_023917>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20190801

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