Aretaeus of Cappadocia, and his Magnificent Treatise on Satyriasis

Document Type: Original Article


History of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Thessaly, Larissa,Greece


Men’s hypersexuality was called in ancient Greece “satyriasis” (Greek: Σατυρίαση). Satyrs, were depicted in ancient Greek mythology as half men and half goats, given to lecherous revelry in their dedication towards the exaggerated appetites, being lower class deities who accompanied Dionysus. Aretaeus of Cappadocia, gave a masterful description of the disease, supporting the Hippocratic doctrine of the four humours, and considering the excess of the blood inside the big arteries of the kidneys as the main pathological cause of the penile erection. He had proposed various remedies, and considered that Satyriasis was an acute fatal disease that could kill the sufferer within seven days.