Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

Living Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Arsev Ayşen Arslanoğlu Yıldıran
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27771-9_9115-1

Hysteria, arguably the oldest neurosis in recorded medical history, dates back to an Egyptian medical papyrus written in about 1900 B.C. which noted that some curious behavioral changes were observed in women. The word itself derives from the Greek word “uterus” originating from the Sanskrit word for stomach or belly. The term reflects the ancient view on the nature and origin of the disease. The ancient Egyptians interpreted that the symptoms seen in women resulted from movement of the uterus “which they believed to be an autonomous, free-floating organism” (Micale 1995, p. 19). They thought that those bizarre symptoms occurred when the uterus moved upward and applied pressure on the diaphragm. The ancient Greeks shared the idea of a “wandering womb” adopting it as a migratory uterus, and established the connection between hysteria and an unsatisfactory sexual life. In the ancient period, figures such as Galen and Soranus suggested various views; however, it is appropriate to say...

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of English Language and LiteratureArtvin Çoruh UniversityArtvinTurkey