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"The Satyriasis Victim Describes His Plight"

Jacob Jordache

Medical historians have long known of the existence of many diseases which were a scourge in ancient times, but which exist no longer in the modern world, among them the dreaded "Sweating Sickness" of the early 19th century and the fulminating form of leprosy mentioned so often in the Old Testament.

One of the more bizarre of these "lost" afflictions was Classical Satyriasis. Its cause is unknown, although the symptoms have been described in many ancient medical journals and depicted in quite a few paintings. An affliction of surprisingly rapid onset, the classic form of the disease was indicated by compulsive nudity, excessive hair growth, the sprouting of horns upon the forehead, changes to the lower limbs and the fusing of the feet into hoof-like protuberances, as well as by unquenchable lust that was not at all particular about the object that it focused on.  Adolpho Boogaloo once painted a satyriasis victim caught in such a dilemma with "An Exhausted Satyriasis Sufferer Discovered at the Catskills Summer Camp for Girls".

Jordache, from the early 17th-century Depressionist school, records a visit to a farm family by a sufferer of the strange ailment. He holds the family spellbound with his tale, distracting all but the young boy from noticing that he is at the same time putting it to the family dog, whose puzzled expression indicates that she would be much happier with a canine swain. The bull to the far left of the painting has just realized that he had better get back to his cows and prepare for a fight later in the evening.

The painter recorded several other instances of Classical Satyriasis, most notably "The Sixth Grade Field Trip Interrupted" and "Contented Cows." After all his models died off he attempted to switch to recording Nymphomania, a related affliction, but these canvases were never completed for some reason.


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