Paradigmi di follia e lussuria virginale in Grecia antica: le Pretidi fra tradizione mitica e medica

Francesca Marzari


The Greek myth of Proetus' daughters – young maidens who went mad when they reached the age of marriage – embodies the beliefs and native representations that relate to the role of virgins within Greek society. This article focuses on the modeling value of this myth, considering in particular the relationship between the madness and lust attributed to its protagonists. The analysis proceeds by comparing the myth with a series of medical texts dating from the 6th / 5th c. BCE to the 6th c. CE, as well as Aristotle's "Historia animalium". In this way, the dual aspect of madness / lust portrayed in the myth is re-read in the light of current homeopathic theory and of the symbolic values conveyed by the cathartic ritual central to the phenomenon of tarantism.

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