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Arch Hellen Med, 34(4), July-August 2017, 511-514


Melancholy in Aristotelian texts

N. Papavramidou, P. Konstantopoulos, H. Christopoulou-Aletra
History of Medicine, School of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece

The ancient roots of melancholy are presented in this paper, derived from sources in the Aristotelian texts. An attempt is made to define the medical thought of the period concerning black bile, which was believed to be the main etiological factor of the "illness". The Aristotelian beliefs about black bile, the etiology of mental "illnesses" in general, and the melancholic character are studied, with emphasis on the attempted connection between inspiration and melancholy. Finally, the influences of the Aristotelian concept of the "illness" of melancholy on later medical authors are outlined.

Key words: Ancient medicine, Aristotle, Melancholy.

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