Heraclea (1)

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Heraclea vel eraclia sive planta aliqua sive gemma sive urbs sive passio ab Hercule nomen acceperunt, eracleam namque antiqui epilepsiam vocabant: eo quod Herculem sepe ab ea infestatum fuisse tradunt.


Heraclea vel (ul' j) eraclia AC j | Hearaclea? uel eraclea ms. e | Heraclea ul' heraclia p | Heraclia ul' haraclia B | Heraclea l' evacia f
aliqua sive gemma sive urbs om. f
sive gemma om. p
gemma | germĩs ms. e
urbs | urbis p
acceperunt | accepit B
Heracleam rubricated in j | eracleam (-ã A) AC | heracleã fp | heracliã B | Haracleã ms. e
namque antiqui epilepsiam vocabant AC ef | n.a.u.e. ms. j | n.u.a.e. B | n.w.u. ms. p
antiqui om. p
epilepsiaʒ (-ã A) AC | epilenʒiã ms. e | epli͞a͞ʒ fp | epl'iam j | epill'am B
vocabant | uocauerũt j


Heraclea or eraclia can be some plant or a gemstone or a city or an affliction, all have taken their name from Hercules; eraclea is the name the ancients gave to epilepsy because Hercules, it is said, was often affected by it.


the Latin adoption of Greek Ἡρακλεία /Hērakleía/, is the adjective derived from the name of the hero Ἡρακλέης /Hērakléēs/ or Ἡρακλῆς /Hēraklês/, Latinised Hercules.

Simon lists the different meanings the word can have:

  • The magnet stone, Greek μαγνήτις λίθος /magnḗtis líthos/, means lit. "stone from the region of Magnesia". At any rate it was a region colonised by the ancient Greek tribe of the Magnetes (Greek: Μάγνητες /Mágnētes/) from where the stone was traded, but there are several Magnesias and it remains unresolved which one it could have been. Simon speaks of a gemma because in antiquity the magnet was counted among the gemstones. Its astonishing property of attracting iron was compared to the strength of Hercules, e.g. already Plato calling it λίθος Ἡρακλεία or Ἡράκλεια /líthos Hērákleia/ or /Hērakleía/ and Pliny speaks of the magnes lapis, the ‘magnet stone'. See Lapis magnes.
  • As for cities and towns, Lewis and Short s.v. Hēraclēa and Hēraclīa name 5 ancient cities bearing that name.
  • The 'disease of Hercules' is the νοῦσος Ἡρακλείη /noûsos Hērakleíē/ already mentioned in the Hippocratic corpus and in Galen; it is another name for epilepsy, Epilepsia, from which Hercules was said to suffer. LSJ mention another disease: Ἡράκλειον πάθος /Hērakleíon páthos/, which is elephantiasis, but this is clearly not meant here.

WilfGunther (talk) 14:17, 19 August 2015 (BST)

See also: Heraclea (2), Eraclea, Eraclepa

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