Sunday, 28 October 2007

Non dantur Vampyri

I have found less time for writing posts recently. However, as you will no doubt have noticed, I have added some elements to the blog layout, including a short introduction to the subject of the blog. Accompanying this text is a scan of a portion of the title page of the dissertation on vampires written by Pohl and Hertel and published in Leipzig in 1732, Dissertatio de hominibus post mortem sangvisvgis, vulgo sic dictis Vampyren. As is common in some texts, the word sanguisuga is used as the Latin equivalent of "vampire". "Sanguisuga" is a contraction of "sanguis" and "sugo", meaning "blood-sucker", usually in the sense leech, like e.g. in Proverbs 30, 15 in the Vulgate: "sanguisugae duae sunt filiae dicentes adfer adfer" (King James Bible: The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give.).

Pohl and Hertel find that the "vampyres" should be explained by natural causes:

"Non dantur Vampyri, sed mortis genuina causa potius morbo epidemico est adscribenda."

That is: There are no vampires, but the genuine cause of death should rather be ascribed to an epidemical disease.

The horseleach or haemopis sanguisuga however certainly exists, and pictures of it can e.g. be seen here.

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