In the Grip of Disease: Studies in the Greek Imagination by G. E. R. Lloyd

By G. E. R. Lloyd

This unique and energetic e-book makes use of texts from historical drugs, epic, lyric, tragedy, historiography, philosophy, and faith to discover the impression of Greek rules on healthiness and illness on Greek inspiration. basic matters are deeply implicated: causation and accountability, purification and toxins, the mind-body courting and gender adjustments, authority and the specialist, truth and appearances, solid govt, and strong and evil themselves.

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He agrees to give back Chryses’ daughter (‘for I would rather have the army safe than to die’, 117) but on condition that he is given Achilles’ prize, Briseis, instead. That nearly provokes 16 Archaic Literature and Masters of Truth Achilles to kill Agamemnon on the spot—but he is restrained by a sudden appearance of Athena. Agamemnon duly restores Chryses’ daughter and performs a massive sacrifice, but Achilles has to submit to handing over Briseis. But he swears he will take no further part in the fighting and foresees great devastation for the Achaean army from the Trojans under Hector in his absence.

The mules he attacked first and the swift dogs, but then on the men themselves he let fly his stinging arrows, and struck; and ever did the pyres of the dead burn thick. For nine days the missiles of the god ranged through the army, but on the tenth Achilles called the army to the place of assembly, for the goddess, white-armed Hera, had put it in his heart; for she pitied the Danaans because she saw them dying. So, when they were assembled and met together, among them rose and spoke Achilles, swift of foot: ‘Son of Atreus, now I think we shall be driven back and return home, our plans thwarted—if we should escape death, that is—if indeed war and pestilence alike are to subdue the Achaeans.

5] begins, ‘the man who sits opposite you and listens to your sweet voice and your lovely laughter; that, I vow, has set my heart within my breast a-flutter. For when I look at you a moment, then I have no longer power to speak. ’ The power of the poem lies in the detail with which Sappho describes her feelings. Of course this is high poetry: but that detail reflects, one is tempted to say, an almost clinical observation of her own condition, the cold sweat, the trembling, the aphonia (as the Greek doctors were to say), the fire or flame (where pur is a regular term in Greek medicine for fever) that creeps beneath the skin, even the palpitating heart.

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