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UBC Theses and Dissertations

La tradizione dell amalattia d'amore dal mondo classico allo Scriptum super cantilena Guidonis de Cavalcantibus di Dino del Garbo Ciavolella, Massimo


This study traces the evolution of the medical concept of aegritudo amoris from the Greeks to the end of the Middle Ages, paying attention to the correlation between medical doctrines and literary conventions. In Chapter One it is argued that the concept of love-sickness has its roots in the doctrine of melancholy and of folly developed by the Hippocratic writers. The evolution of the concept is not, however, restricted within the narrow limits of the medical tradition, but it is characterized by a gradual penetration of elements taken from Greek philosophy, represented by Plato and Aristotle, and from the literary tradition, especially Euripides. The influence of this concept is traced through the Roman world (the story of Antiochus and Stratonices, Lucretius, Ovid) and through the writings of the early Fathers of the Church. Chapter Two follows the development of the medical concept of love-sickness from the Byzantine physicians Oribasius and Paulus Aegineta to those medical writers, Arabic and Latin, who dedicated sections of their works to the study of love. The second part of the Chapter provides a transcription of these medical treatments of love. The final Chapter assesses the contribution of this tradition to the literature of the late Middle Ages, through an examination of three prose-treatises on love, the first Arabic: The Dove's Meek Ring by Ibn Hazm, the second French: the De Amore by Andreas Capellanus, the third Italian: the Scriptum super cantilena Guidonis de Cavalcantibus by Dino del Garbo. Finally, the canzone "Donna me prega" by Cavalcanti is examined both from a thematic point of view and in relation to the conception of love developed by Cavalcanti’s "primo amico", Dante Alighieri.

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