Julius Caesar's Disease: A New Diagnosis
It is generally accepted as a historical fact that Julius Caesar suffered from epilepsy, an illness which in classical times was sometimes associated with divinely bestowed genius. The ancient sources describe several episodes when, sometimes at critical junctures, one of the most famous military commanders in history was incapacitated by his illness referred to as morbus comitialis. But does the evidence really fit with the diagnosis of epilepsy? And if it was not epilepsy that afflicted Caesar, then what was it? These are the questions that doctors Galassi and Ashrafian seek to answer by applying modern medical knowledge to the symptoms and circumstances described by contemporary historians and commentators of Caesar’s life (which include the great man himself). The result is a fascinating piece of historical-pathological detective work that challenges received wisdom about one of the most famous men of all time.
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Alexander ancestors ancient sources Appian arteriovenous malformation Augustus authors battle of Thapsus behaviour brain cachexia Cæsar Caesar suffered Caesar’s disease Caesar’s epilepsy Caesar’s health Caesarion Caligula cardiovascular Casca caused Cawthorne cerebrovascular certainly Chapter Cicero classical clinical condition considered Corduba deafness death described developed Dictator Perpetuus dictator’s Dio Cassius Dirckx discussion divine Divus Iulius Donnadieu eclampsia epileptic attacks epileptic fits epileptic seizures epileptic theory episode etiologies evidence explain fact falling sickness generalised Greek Hartnup disease head trauma headaches highlighted historical Hughes hypothesis interpreted Julia JulioClaudian Julius Caesar Kanngiesser Lupercalia malaria Mamurra manifestations Ménière’s disease meningioma mentioned military morbus comitialis Napoleon Napoleon III nervous crises neurological one’s passage pathological patients people’s Plutarch Plutarchean political Pompey Pompey’s possibility present Professor psychological psychomotor reference relevant reported Roman Rome senate Shakespeare specific stress stroke sudden SUDEP Suetonius suffered from epilepsy suggest symptoms syphilis Thapsus translation tumour unlikely words