Departmental Papers (Classical Studies)

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Book Chapter

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Erôs in Ancient Greece

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Eros and "the erotic' are terms generally applied to psychological and emotional states, but as most people know from personal experience, it can be small step from teh psychological to the physical. From ancient poetry to the pop songs of our own day, the effects of love on teh body have been well catalogues and long lamented, and in extreme cases the doctors have to be brought in. Greek medical writers have not left us copious clinical discussions of the physical consequences of eros, but they have certainly aware that an individual's emotional state could be prodoundly affect the body, and erotic desire was commonly implicated in a variety of physical pathologies. Just where - or how - these emotional state could profoundly affect the body was a constant puzzle for Green and Roman doctors, especially those whose materialist orientation encouraged them to map emotional states on to specific organs.


Rosen, Ralph M. "Galen, Plato, and the Physiology of Eros." In Sanders, E., Thumiger, C., Carey, C., & Lowe, N. (Eds.) Erôs in Ancient Greece. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford UP, 2013. 111-27. DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199605507.001.0001

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Date Posted: 12 December 2016