Melancholia

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MELANCHOLIA, med. jur. A name given by the ancients to a species of partial intellectual mania, now more generally known by the name of monomania. (q.v.) It bore this name because it was supposed to be always attended by dejection of mind and gloomy ideas. Vide Mania.,

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(28) Ficino's dread of an inordinate melancholy even made him state that learned people would be 'the happiest and wisest of mortals, were they not driven by the bad effects of black bile to depression and even sometimes to folly', (29) as melancholy could make 'the soul sad and fearful'.
He maintained that blood permeated the septum between left and right ventricle and persisted in the Hippocratic misconception that the body's fluids were composed of an equilibrium of four humours (black bile, yellow bile, blood, and phlegm) and the rationale of medicine was to restore any disease-causing imbalance.
I was personally confounded by how the Greeks came up with the notion of Black Bile, which unlike the other three humors doesn't immediately strike a modern reader as having any obvious physiological substances to correlate it with.
(48) According to medieval medical theory, this anger and heat causes the black bile to undergo the Hippocratic process of krasis, or "cooking," the result of which is burnt yellow bile and mania, the hallmark of which is violent and even homicidal behavior.
It was thought that the nature of tumours depended on mixtures of humours (blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile) and their response to stimuli such as fever, injury, fractures and overexertion, present in a particular region of the body.
A spokeswoman for the John Moores contemporary painting prize said: "The artist tells us the title Black Bile refers to the time when it was believed melancholia was a physical affliction.
He also improved the Aristotelian specifications of the relationship between melancholy and disorder in the black bile. See al-Kindi, Medical Formulary, or Aqrabadhin, tr.
Loss of balance merely opened the door to affliction, giving the chance to black bile, say, alone and unchecked, to eat through skin, corrode flesh, and pool and harden into gangrenous tumors.
Keeping with the Hippocratic notion that each humor gives rise to a different temperament, Aristotle decided that an abundance of black bile was not necessarily an illness, and that melancholy might even be a gift: "all men who have become outstanding in philosophy, statesmanship, poetry or the arts are melancholic." At the same time, however, early physicians understood melancholy as a sickness to be remedied.
Denise and Danny lie down on the sand, soaking up rays, when a half-decomposed body lurches out of the sea and spews black bile into Danny's mouth, choking him to death.
He shows how the history of breast cancer treatment was for many centuries embedded in Galenic humoral of "black bile"--theories which resulted in the rejection of surgical intervention and the use of a variety of ineffective herbal concoctions.
Keywords: black bile; fear; imagination; melancholy; vision