Letter | Published:

Malaria and Ancient Greece

Nature volume 82, page 278 (06 January 1910) | Download Citation



IN his scholarly “Malaria and Ancient Greece”, reviewed in NATURE of December 16, 1909, p. 192, Mr. Jones has apparently overlooked what seems to be, though modified for dramatic purposes, a description of an acute attack of ague, i.e. that given by Sophocles of the sufferings of Philoctetes in his play known by that name. Here, just as he is about to accompany Neoptolemus to the ships, Philoctetes is seized with a sudden attack (line 730). He recognises the prodromal symptoms of what he describes to Neoptolemus as a recurrent attack of his malady (ηκɛι γαρ αυτη δια χρóνoυ, line 758). The attack appears to be ushered in with pain or discomfort (line 730) and shivering (735). The symptoms become increasingly acute (και τι πρoσδoκω νɛoν, 784) until they become almost unendurable (790). Soon, however, from previous experience, Philoctetes can foretell that the worst is over (808), and that the attack will pass away during the sleep which always supervenes. λαμβανɛι γαρ oυν υπνos μ, öταν πɛρ τò κακòν ɛξιη τóδɛ, 766.

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