(Littré VII. 260 foll.), was in at least two cases a
species of remittent malaria.
In connexion with the question of malaria it should
be noticed that malarial cachexia, the symptoms of
which are anaemia, weakness, dark complexion and
enlarged spleen, is often described in the Hippocratic
collection. Especially vivid is the description in
Airs Waters Places. This is further evidence of
the malarious condition of the ancient Greek world.
This word is closely connected both with the
doctrine of the humours and with the prevalence
of malaria. It is fully discussed in Malaria and
Greek History, pp. 98-101. Generally it means our
"melancholia," but sometimes merely "biliousness."
In popular speech μελαγχολία and its cognates sometimes
approximate in meaning to "nervous breakdown."
Probably the name was given to any
condition resembling the prostration, physical and
mental, produced by malaria, one form of which
(the quartan) was supposed to be caused by "black
bile" (μέλαινα χολή).
See Foes' Oeconomia, p. 148, where quotations are
given which enable us to distinguish ἐρυσίπελας from
φλεγμονή. Both exhibit swelling (ὄγκος) and heat
(θερμασία), but whereas ἐρυσίπελας is superficial and
yellowish, φλεγμονή is internal also and red.
The former is local, and causes merely the passing
of unhealthy excreta. The latter is accompanied by