The Greek Novel between Medical Theories and Controversies: Achilles Tatius, IV 9, 1-11; 15, 1-17, 5

Christina Savino


In Achilles Tatius novel The Adventures of Leucippe and Clitophon, the dramatic description of a seizure and sudden fall to the ground of the young heroine Leucippe, with subsequent illness, gives an idea of how widely Greek medical culture developed and spread in the Graeco-Roman world. The present article provides an analysis of this episode, by focusing on symptoms, signs and explanation of Leucippes illness within the novel, in an attempt to draw inferences about the authors medical knowledge and views. The result is that symptoms and signs are at odds, since they belong to different diseases, according to the ancient medical sources. Achilles Tatius appears to be more interested in impressing his readers, rather than in being coherent in following medical literature and theories.


Key words: Greek Novel - Achilles Tatius - Medical Theories

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