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polytheist extractions

Lucian, How to Write History

“There is a story of a curious epidemic at Abdera, just after the accession of King Lysimachus. It began with the whole population’s exhibiting feverish symptoms, strongly marked and consistent from the very first attack. About the seventh day, the fever was relieved, in some cases by a violent flow of blood from the nose, in others by perspiration no less violent. The mental effects, however, were most ridiculous; they were all stage-struck, mouthing blank verse and ranting at the top of their voices. Their favourite recitation was the Andromeda of Euripides; one after another would go through the great speech of Perseus; the whole place was full of pale ghosts, who were our seventh-day tragedians vociferating: ‘O Love, who lord’st it over gods and men…’ and the rest of it. This continued for some time, till the coming of winter put an end to their madness with a sharp frost. I find the explanation of the form the madness took in this fact: Archelaus was then the great tragic actor, and in the middle of the summer, during some very hot weather, he had played the Andromeda in Abdera; most of them took the fever in the theatre, and convalescence was followed by a relapse – into tragedy, the Andromeda haunting their memories.” – Lucian, How to Write History

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