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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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Theophrastus compared the emotional effects of Black Bile to the experience of having drunk too much wine, with rapid changes from hilarity to depression taking place.
Whereas karkinos arose from excess black bile, oedema was caused by excessive phlegm.
STRANGE: Alex Gene Morrison's Black Bile, shortlisted for the John Moores award
Black bile, however, was nowhere to be found, and indeed the causes of the melancholic condition--or at least the observable, biological causes that are the gold standard of modern medicine--have, until recently, remained elusive, leaving us with an account of depression as something other than pure, physical illness.
We would like to underline the fact that, by explaining this process of an inward vision, physicians (Timothy Bright, Thomas Willis) have discovered that the power of imagination, rather than the nature of black bile, is the direct cause of the melancholic's distorted and monstrous perception of himself and of the world.
southerners with an excess of black bile, an identification of
Humor Element Season Yellow bile Fire Summer Black bile Earth Autumn Phlegm Water Winter Blood Air Spring Combinations Qualities Yellow bile + blood Hot Yellow + black bile Dry Blood + phlegm Wet Phlegm + black bile Cold
Schooled in the classics, Degas would have most certainly known of the ancient understanding of melancholia, a disease of the mind thought to be caused by an excess of black bile and marked by intense sadness.
The surgeons of the day put deadly infections down to "bad air" and disease on imbalances of the "four humours" - blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile.
It is based on the concepts of the four humours: Phlegm (Balgham), Blood (Dam), Yellow bile (afra) and Black bile (Sauda).
She begins with the humoral theory in which a subject's health is determined by the equal balance of yellow bile, phlegm, blood and black bile, which are associated with heat, wetness, dryness and coldness respectively.
Classical Greece had a similar philosophy of cuisine (probably imported from China), and named four humors (blood, black bile, yellow bile, phlegm) and their essences (heat, cold, dry, moist).