Also known as Ephialtis. Both names stem from the Greek noun ephialtes (also spelled as epialtes), which means leaper, or 'the one who jumps upon'. In Greek mythology Ephialtes, a manifestation of Pan, was considered the daimon of " nightmares. In 1900 the German classical scholar Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher (1845-1923) published an extensive account of the essence of the classical and modern nightmare in relation to Ephialtes. Referring to the nightmare-inducing experiments carried out by one of his contemporaries, Roscher asserts that "In these cases the nightmare was a peculiar bastard animal - half dog and half monkey - that did not, as before, slowly slink up to the bed, but sprang in one leap upon the breast of the victim without being previously noticed (as the result of covering the patient's face). This sudden leaping jump of the nightmare is characteristic of the majority of cases and hence the word 'Ephialtes' - 'the one who jumps up' - is very apt. The animal then remained quiet as if sleeping on his victim while the unfortunate person, out of sheer anxiety, did not dare to move until finally the animal fell down as the result of some movement executed at the height of the torture." According to Roscher, shapes in which the nightmare tends to appear are the cat, marten, hedgehog, mouse, bear, he-goat, pig, horse, tiger, snake, toad, eel, dragon, and half-dog-half-monkey. Human or humanoid figures, such as a goblin, a satyr, or a giant, are also considered possible manifestations. However, in Roscher's opinion the most frequent embodiment of the nightmare is the black poodle. Representatives of the Hippocratic School strongly opposed the popular view that the nightmare was a god, or demi-god, or wicked spirit. Instead, they considered the nightmare the equivalent of epilepsy, which they carefully addressed as 'the disease called sacred', suggesting its status as a natural rather than a supernatural disease. The term " ephialtes nocturnus is used in the older literature as a synonym for "nightmare, and " ephialtes vigilantium as a synonym for " daymare.
   Roscher, W.H. (1972). Ephialtes. A pathological-mythological treatise on the nightmare in classical Antiquity. In: Pan and the nightmare.Trans-lated by O'Brien, A.V. Edited by Hillman, J. Dallas, TX: Springfield Publications.

Dictionary of Hallucinations. . 2010.

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  • Ephialtes — (Griechisch: Ἐφιάλτης) ist der Name von Ephialtes von Athen († 461 v. Chr.), griechischer Staatsmann Ephialtes von Trachis, verriet die griechischen Truppen in der Schlacht bei den Thermopylen an die Perser Ephialtes ist in der griechischen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • ephialtes — nightmare or demon that causes nightmares, c.1600, from Gk. Ephialtes, name of a demon supposed to cause nightmares; the ancient explanation is that it was from ephallesthai to leap upon, but OED finds considerable phonological difficulties with… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Ephialtes — Eph i*al tes, n. [NL., fr. Gr. ?, lit., one who leaps upon.] The nightmare. Brande & C. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ephialtes — (gr.), 1) der Alp, die Mahr; 2) einer der Aloiden, s.d.; 3) Malier od. Trachinier, welcher den Persern unter Xerxes den Weg zeigte, auf welchem sie den Griechen bei Thermopylä in den Rücken fielen. Von den Amphiktyonen geächtet, floh er außer… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Ephiáltes — Ephiáltes, 1) Grieche aus Malis, der nach der gewöhnlichen Überlieferung den Persern unter König Xerxes (480 v. Chr.) einen Fußsteig über den Kallidromos zeigte, auf dem sie den Griechen bei Thermopylä in den Rücken fielen. Deshalb von den… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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  • Ephiáltes — Ephiáltes, Grieche aus Malis oder Trachis, zeigte 480 v. Chr. den vor den Thermopylen lagernden Persern einen Weg, auf dem sie den Griechen in den Rücken fielen. Er ward deshalb geächtet und in Anticyra erschlagen …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Ephialtes — Ephialtes, griech., der Alp …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

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