Tarantism

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fr:Tarentisme

Tarantism is, allegedly, a deadly poisoning resulting from a wolf spider bite (Lycosa tarantula, also known as the "tarantula"). The condition was common in southern Italy during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. There were strong suggestions that there is no organic cause for the heightened excitability and restlessness that gripped the victims. The stated belief of the time was that victims needed to engage in frenzied dancing to prevent death from tarantism. Supposedly a particular kind of dance, called the Tarantella, evolved from this therapy. Many people have suggested that the whole business was a deceit to evade religious proscriptions against dancing.

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