STORIES AND HISTORIES OF LIVING HEALTH

ancient world to contemporary

IMG_20181028_085157_resized_20190731_050651111.jpg

about chiara

My interest in the history and narratives of human health and illness began very early in my research.

After finishing my undegraduate studies in Italy I moved to London to pursue a PhD in Greek literature at King’s College London. I decided I wanted to work on Euripides’ Bacchae, the last play of the youngest of the three great tragedians of the fifth century, precisely because madness, and what it means to have a sound mind is such an important topic in this play.

After obtaining my doctorate (2004) and publishing it (2007) I taught and researched a few more years in London, and kept exploring the topics of mental life and view of self, and to reflect on how ancient poets and writers choose to depict subjectivity, „mind“ and mental suffering in their work.

In 2010 I had a unique opportunity that changed my perspective in a fundamental way: I was offered a post within a research group on history of ancient medicine at the Humboldt University in Berlin („Medicine of the mind, Philosophy of the body“, directed by Ph. Van der Eijk).

I have worked on ancient medical ideas about the relationship between body and soul, bodily and mental/spiritual health and mental disorder ever since. I find the way in which ancient thinkers framed the challenges of psychopathology and the possibility of a 'psychiatry' as caring practice still extremely valuable, often sophisticated and at times more insightful than our own. Whether one shares this view or not, the terms of discussion offered by ancient thinkers remain fundamental in the way we discuss these topics nowadays. In many respects, this value still awaits exploration and recognition in current scholarship.

In addition, I have an interest in wider conceptions of life and health in the ancient world and their heritage - in particular, I have worked on animals and animal imagery, in poetry as well as medicine.

After five years based in the Humboldt University in Berlin, from 2015 to 2019 I was a Research Fellow at Warwick University, where i held a Wellcome Trust grant in Medical Humanities. I was part of the department of Classics, joining a group of experts in ancient Greek and Arabic medicine directed by Simon Swain.   

In August 2019 I have ben given the wonderful opportunity to join a new research community at the University of Kiel, devoted to the study of human interaction with the environment in a broad-ranging perspective, the research cluster ROOTS. My contribution will be in the field of ancient medicine and science, with a project on ancient views about the nutritional processes in a broad cultural historical perspective, from food consumption to digestion and excretion, from dietetics to eating disorders, from metaphorical ‘resources’ to the portrayal of human anatomy, to economical aspects of eating as fundamental aspect of human relations with the outside world. The title of this project is ANCIENT GUTS.

contact: cthumiger@roots.uni-kiel.de, chiara.thumiger@hu-berlin.de

ANCIENT GUTS (2019-)

This project focuses on a key, but comparatively underrated aspect of ancient medicine and anatomy: the gastric area of the body, and the process of food ingestion and assimilation. Other functions and vital processes have attracted more attention in historiographies of medicine (such as the role of the brain in cognition; cardiocentric models in competition with encephalocentrism; blood circulation; the humours; respiration). Despite its well-known importance and involvement in a variety of aspects of animated life, the gastric sphere, instead, has not been centred in historiographies of medicine. Ma aim is to redress this balance, exploring the topic from the most concrete and material (the drawing of bodily anatomies; the physiology, pragmatics, and economy of human food intake) to the most abstract (psychological and cultural, even metaphorical ‘guts’).

 

My topic is innovative in a number of ways: first, it focuses on an aspect of the human body and its physiology seldom thematised, despite its obvious centrality; secondly, it combines the philology of ancient texts, history of medicine, and material and cultural history in a broader sense while including consideration of current neuroscientific suggestions to bring ancient theories in dialogue with modern views about the body; thirdly, it explicitly joins medical models and non-technical perceptions and metaphors of the body; finally, it aims at bringing together the history of ancient doctrines about the body and the concrete, material history of ancient life in one of its most basic aspects, the consumption of food and drink and its processes. Thus, it aims at furthering a dialogue between different areas of history, while strongly affirming the relevance of ancient texts to contemporary questions.

The lines of inquiry I propose can be subdivided, to the purpose of presentation, into anatomical, medical, environmental and cultural issues; in terms of practical inquiry, the issues are interrelated and illumine one another. 

ancient holisms (2015-)

(International conference, LONDON, 11-12.09.17)

Localisation has always been one of the key modalities, if not the central modality by which we read ancient accounts of human fundamental bodily experiences such as pathology, emotions and mental alteration. The firm identification of a locus affectus, an organ (or a set of organs) involved, or a suffering area of the body is indeed very visible in medical discussions of diseases and disorders, whether strictly physiological or also mental, as well as poetic representations of biological or mental experiences. The alternative modality, that of de-localisation and more generally of an attention to human experiences of the body as diffuse, dynamic and explicitly disjointed from a firm location has received instead much less attention. To redress this balance, we want in this conference to invite dedicated discussion on the following questions:

- What are the prominent examples of disputes on localisation in ancient science? What epistemological purposes are served by these disputes, aside from the advocacy of different medical doctrines?

- How did the ancient physicians explicitly engage with, and challenge questions of localisation, and why?

- What alternative ‘de-localising’ models were proposed? (e.g., bodily fluids and circulation models; the transit of substances in and out of the body through bodily vessels and channels; 

models of sympatheia between organs or areas of the body; attention to signs and symptoms affecting the body as a whole; and so on)

- What contributions can poetic representations give to this topic? In which way do representations of mental life and the emotions in epic, tragedy, lyric poetry - for example - compare to the localised model that appears dominant?

- Conversely, to what extent do medical authors refer to, criticise, adopt or distort poetic images of holism to make their theories conspicuous?

- Are there ancient roots, ancestors, or precursors of modern (medical and folk) concepts such as the ‘systemic’ level of bodily functioning, or the living animal as ‘organism’? Or are these completely anachronistic associations?

- Relatedly: what are the contemporary uses (and abuses) of ancient medical traditions in the elaboration of folk bio-medical systems and ‘holistic’ therapeutical ideals? 

In this conference scholars of ancient science and philosophy and experts in Graeco-Roman literature and culture meet to explore the ancient sources against powerful and influential contemporary constructs such as holism, psycho-somatic unity, and systemic approaches to human health, in order to highlight a less scrutinised feature of ancient readings of the body, as well as a strand of modern and contemporary reception of ancient medical ideas.

 

PHRENITIS (2015-2019)

My last project, now almost completed, was entitled Ancient Histories of Phrenitis’ (Wellcome Trust funded, based at Warwick University). This project aimed to look at the vicissitudes of an ancient disease that was from its beginnings – 2500 years ago or so – considered to impair the mind. Phrenitis is established in the Hippocratic texts as a high fever with derangement, displaying a set of rather fixed symptoms, and remains throughout the ancient world a key mental disease all notable physicians debated and diagnosed. Different details and observations were made through the centuries, different localisations proposed, but what remained constant was the acute and often mortal quality of the disease, and its important place in the study of human pathology. From the place it occupies in medical writings, in other words, we can only conclude that phrenitis must have been (in the perception of physicians, of course) a very frequent disease, and an impressive one for its severity and mortality.

After the end of the ancient world, the disease did not disappear. It is however with the beginning of the modern era that phrenitis began to receive fresh attention and new impetus, through the work of anatomists such as Giovanni Battista Morgagni (17th/18th century) or the Dutch physician Gerard van Swieten (18th century), to cite two prominent examples. The prominent French psychiatrist Pinel inserts it in his Nosographie Philosophique (1798), classifying it as ‘inflammation of the membranes of the brain’. Official diagnoses of phrenitis by medical authorities are documented as late as the nineteenth century.

That of phrenitis always striked me as a great case of both continuity of a disease entity (named and described for 2500 years!) and of adaptation through history, cultural as well as scientific, to the point of complete disfiguration.

By carefully analysing the different stories attached to this disease label, I hope to show something more about how ideas of mental disorder, the human body and our knowledge of it, and individual subjectivity contribute to the creation of those biological and anthropological entities we call ‘Mental Diseases', ‘Mental Disorders’ and the like. This is an exploration of history of medicine and history of science; its implications (social, political and personal) for human existence, however, are very evident; and they often have huge consequences for the life of many.

MENTAL HEALTH IN CLASSICAL MEDICINE (2010-2015)

A History of the Mind and Mental Health in Classical Greek Medical Thought. Cambridge University Press (2017)

 

The history ofWestern psychiatry and, more generally, of the medical attempts to assess and cure mental health in our tradition is generally seen to be dominated by the following historical facts and scientific events: neurological discoveries, first, and biochemical advancements, second, which play a major role in contemporary approaches to mental health; thirdly, the history of the policies of mental health, from the emergence of the asylum to other social and institutional practices. In addition, if not necessarily in alternative to these fundamentals there is the development, from the twentieth century onwards, of various forms of psychoanalytical approaches to address mental disturbance. 

Graeco-Roman antiquity, despite the authoritative positioning of figures such as Hippocrates and Galen in modern history of medicine, and despite the Greek origin of much of the nomenclature in use in modern psychiatry (as in other branches of medicine) is generally not seen as contributing in any serious way to this history, precisely because of their exclusion from any biochemical and neurological understanding (i.e., any understanding that might provide continuity with modern science) and for their externality to any psychodynamic approach to the human mind. Even more radically, no concept of ‘psychiatry’ separated from other branches of medicine was recognised by the ancient; and no specialisation in this sense is to be found, neither for practicing doctors nor in terms of patient categories, at least until the early centuries of our era. Psychiatric disturbances occur together with other ailments, and are addressed as part of a general physiological picture. Even when they are, at least in part, targeted through practices that might appear to resemble modern psychotherapeutics they remain firmly located within an embodied physiological frame. For these reasons, there has always been a perceived gap between the ancient (or indeed, pre-modern) world and the modern history of psychiatry.

 

This project, and the book that derived from it, aims at correcting this view by giving the testimony of the early phases of ancient medicine – especially Greek classical medicine (fourth- and fifth- century BCE) - a more visible place in the history of mental health care and medical reflections about the human mind. Its attention is focused on technical, medical sources (especially, but not exclusively the so-called Hippocratic texts), but places them in dialogue with the testimony offered by literary texts from the same period. The approach is thus interdisciplinary, as far as the more strictly delimited boundaries of ancient science are concerned. It is also anthropological, in the sense that it considers ideas about mental life as cultural-historical information that enriches our knowledge of ancient Greek life and thought as human phenomena; philological, in that it looks closely at the ancient texts, their wording, images and generic conventions; and theoretically engaged, insofar as it assesses ancient doctrines against the set of questions and problems that have become fundamental in the history of Western psychology, in order to highlight their impact on the origins of this history and their enduring contribution as part of it.

ancient disability

“Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations.

Disability is thus not just a health problem. It is a complex phenomenon, reflecting the interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives. Overcoming the difficulties faced by people with disabilities requires interventions to remove environmental and social barriers.

People with disabilities have the same health needs as non-disabled people – for immunization, cancer screening etc. They also may experience a narrower margin of health, both because of poverty and social exclusion, and also because they may be vulnerable to secondary conditions, such as pressure sores or urinary tract infections. Evidence suggests that people with disabilities face barriers in accessing the health and rehabilitation services they need in many settings”

 (WHO, accessed 17.07.2016, http://www.who.int/topics/disabilities/en/)

 

The WHO definition emphasizes impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions as part of the human experience of disability, focusing thus on the body, on society's reactions to certain conditions, and on the need for interventions to remove respective barriers. This definition – the standard in our world - covers mental impairments only in a derivative way. At the centre are the physiology and structures of the human body and their variations, framed within the activities and interactions of life.

Mental disability is only a particular case within this whole, and notably one which ancient medical literature barely consider in ways on which we could superimpose our own modern constructs, (e.g.) discussions of what used to be called 'retardation' in modern or contemporary medicine – 'mental disability'. In this sense we are setting ourselves out onto an anachronistic path as we inquiry mental disability in ancient sources, and both the correspondences and the differences between us and the ancient can be only partial. 

Nonetheless, to search for the antecedent of modern ableism and dis-ableism (on these see F.A. Kumari Campbell, Contours of Ableism: The Production of Disability and Abledness, London, 2009) is an important critical exercise to both challenge our own prejudices and the polices and institutions of our societies, and to better understand ancient social organisations and thought systems.

For example, in the WHO definition the terms ‘impairment’, ‘activity limitation’ and ‘restriction’ indicate a permanent or long-lasting state of things that characterize an individual in his or her life and interactions with the world outside. This enduring quality of a disability, mental or physical, by which health is deeply embedded into the nature of each individual find a match with several ancient ideas: for example, that of hereditary defilement, ‘family guilt’; or the correspondence between bodily excellence and moral character (the so called kalokagathia, ‘to be good and handsome’). All these characteristics cannot be changed through therapy or good will.

On the other hand, to these impairments qualities of excellence are sometimes associated. The god Hephaistos is famously represented as lame, as well as being an extraordinarily skilled artisan:

London B 507, London British Museum

From Caskey & Beazley, plate XLIV. With permission of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Boston 13.188

...as well as there is a pattern of representing figures of wisdom and artistic greatness as as blind, like famously the poet Homer or the Theban seer Thyresias.

 

Büste Homers; aus dem 2. Jahrhundert n. Chr. stammende römische Kopie eines hellenistischen Originals (British Museum, London)


On the other hand Archilochus, the iambic poet of the 7th century BCE, went as far as clearly pointing out that an imperfect bodily appearance had nothing to do with a man’s qualities; a crooked, but strong-hearted soldier is of much more value than a brainless and cowardly macho:

‘I love not a tall general nor a straddling,

nor one proud of his hair nor one part-shaven;

for me a man should be short and bowlegged to behold,

set firm on his feet, full of heart’

οὐ φιλ<έω> μέγαν στρατηγὸν οὐδὲ διαπεπλιγμένον

οὐδὲ βοστρύχοισι γαῦρον οὐδ' ὑπεξυρημένον,

ἀλλά μοι σμικρός τις εἴη καὶ περὶ κνήμας ἰδεῖν

ῥοικός, ἀσφαλ<έω>ς βεβηκὼς ποσσί, καρδίης πλέως.

(114 West)

All these sparse, and well-known examples – many more could be mentioned – illustrate the existence of both a prejudice on ‘disabled bodies’ – whether positive or negative prejudice - and of a challenge to it from very early in Western culture.

Still, the ancient lacked a clear categorization of ‘disability’ as general experience and could be said, in some respect, to have held a less normative view of what it means to be a human being worthy of this name. This does not mean that the life of the mentally of physically impaired would have been necessarily less difficult, and sometimes tragic than it is in many places and contexts nowadays. A clear classification of able vs. dis-abled was not there, however: and it is precisely classifications, rather than the recognition of innate differences and degrees of strength among individuals per se what notably brings in rigid social divisions, margialisation and devaluation, and the ultimate call for a homogenisation of humanity based on a set of given measurable values.

Much work has been done in disability studies to reflect critically on what ‘(dis)ability’ means, and to uncover different human attitudes to this aspect of human difference in other historical periods. Still much works has to be done, especially in the area of mental disability in its various forms, notably more problematic to reconstruct than bodily particularity. Here are some studies on the ancient period:

 

Breitwieser, Rupert 2012. Behinderungen Und Beeintrachtigungen / Disability and Impairment in Antiquity. Oxford, Archaepress.

Francis, Sarah 2017. ‘From private disabilities to public illnesses: placing the mentally incapacitated in Roman society’, in Thumiger and Singer (eds.).Mental Illness in Ancient Medicine. From Celsus to Caelius Aurelianus. Leiden, Brill.

Garland, Robert. 2010. The Eye of the Beholder: Deformity and Disability in the Graeco-Roman World. London, Bristol Classical Press.

Goodey, Christopher F. 2011. A History of Intelligence and ‘Intellectual Disability’: The Shaping of Psychology in Early Modern Europe. Ashgate, Routledge.

Hubert, Jane 2000. Madness, disability and social exclusion: the archaeology and anthropology of ‘difference’. London, Routledge.

Kellenberger, Edgar 2011. Der Schutz der Einfältigen. Menschen mit einer geistigen behinderung in der Bibel und in weiteren Quellen. Zürich, TVZ Theologischer Verlag Zürich.

Kellenberger, Edgar 2013. Children and Adults with Intellectual Disability in Antiquity and Modernity: Toward a Biblical and Sociological Model, CrossCurrents 63.4: 449–472.

Laes, Christian 2013. ‘Approaching disabilities a Capite ad Calcem: hidden themes in Roman Antiquity’, in Laes et al. (eds.), pp. 1–15.

Laes, Christian 2014. Beperkt? Gehandicapten in het Romeinse Rijk. Leuven, Davidsfonds Uitgeverij.

Laes, Christian 2016. Disabilities in Antiquity. London, Routledge.

Laes, Christian, Goodey, Chris F. and Rose, M Lynn (eds.) 2013a. Disabilities in Roman Antiquity. Disparate Bodies a Capite ad Calcem. Amsterdam, Brill.

Rose, Martha L. 2003. The Staff of Oedipus. Transforming Disability in Ancient Greece. Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press.

Thumiger, Chiara ‘Mental disability? Galen on mental health' In C. Laes (ed.) Disabilities in Antiquity. London: Routledge (2016).

Caelius aurelianus

Caelius Aurelianus on Mental Health

The broad objective of this research project is to contribute to our understanding of the history of concepts, representations, and treatment methods of mental health and mental disorders in Greek and Roman medical thought. In particular, I am interested in the development of medical approaches to mental well-being and mental disturbances in post-Hellenistic thought. While the texts of the so-called Hippocratic Corpus and Galen have received a great deal of attention, the concepts and representations of mental illness offered by nosological authors of the Imperial period, such as the Anonymus Parisinus, Aretaeus, and Caelius Aurelianus, have been neglected by comparison. These authors are usually consulted cursorily and unsystematically, in spite of the rich clinical details and therapeutic advice they provide. I hope to address this deficit in the historiography of ancient medicine by putting these authors’ medical views on mental life under the spotlight.

This broad aim will be pursued by focusing on a key (and understudied) medical author of Late Antiquity, Caelius Aurelianus, a fifth-century AD North African (Numidian) member of the Methodist school of medicine, who produced a major nosological text in Latin (Celeres Passiones, 3 books; Tardae passiones, 5 books). Although long considered merely a translator of the (lost) nosological treatises written in Greek by the first-century CE Methodist physician Soranus, whom he frequently quotes and with whose ideas he always declares himself in agreement, Caelius Aurelianus is increasingly studied as a medical author and thinker in his own right. My aim is to provide a detailed study of his work against the background of earlier and contemporaneous medical ideas about mental health and mental illness (some of which Caelius engages with explicitly) in Late Antiquity. I shall offer an in-depth analysis of Caelius Aurelianus’ ideas on the nature of mental illnesses, highlighting the strikingly detailed and rich accounts he gives of their symptoms and his sophisticated therapeutic projects, which are unparalleled in earlier Greek and Latin literature.

posthuman criticism and ancient medicine

PUBLICATIONS

Books

(Co-)edited Books

Articles and Chapters

• ‘Animality, Illness and Dehumanisation: The Phenomenology of Illness In Sophocles’ Philoctetes’. In G.M. Chesi and F. Spiegel (eds.) Undoing the Human: Classical Literature and the Post-Human. Bloomsbury (2019).

• ‘Aretaeus’ Stomachikon: a parodistic vein in a nosological description’. In Kazantzidis, G. (ed.) Morbid Laughter (2019).

• ‘Ancient therapies of the word’. In White, R., Xenophontos, S., et al. (eds.) Other Psychotherapies. Special issue of the journal Transcultural Psychiatry (2019).

• ‘Liebe als Krankheit’. In N. Reggiani and F. Bertonazzi (ed.) Parlare la Medicina: fra lingue e culture, nello spazio e nel tempo. Atti del Convegno Internazionale (Parma, 5-7 Settembre (2016). Firenze: Le Monnier, 2018. Collana "STUSMA - Studi sul Mondo Antico" (2018).

• ‘A most acute, disgusting and indecent disease’: Satyriasis in ancient medicine’. In Mental Illness in Ancient Medicine. From Celsus to Caelius Aurelianus (co-edited with P. Singer). Brill, Leiden (2018).

• ‘Stomachikon, Hydrophobia and eating disorders: volition and taste in late-antique medical discussions’. In Mental Illness in Ancient Medicine. From Celsus to Caelius Aurelianus (co-edited with P. Singer). Brill, Leiden (2018).

• ‘Introduction’. In Mental Illness in Ancient Medicine. From Celsus to Paul of Aegina (co-authored with P. Singer). Brill, Leiden (2018).

• ‘The professional audiences of the Hippocratic Epidemics. Patient cases, in ancient scientific communication’. In The Greek Medical Text and its Audience: Perception, Transmission, Reception, ed. by P. Bouras-Vallianatos and S. Xenophontos. Tauris (2017).

  • ‚The Hippocratic Patient‘. In P. P (ed.) Cambridge Companion to Hippocrates. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2017).

  • ‘The view of madness in the Ancient Greek and Roman tradition’. In G. Eghigian (ed.) The Routledge History of Madness (2017). London: Routledge.

  • ‘The tragic prosopon and the Hippocratic facies: face and individuality in Classical Greece’. Maia. Rivista di Letterature Classiche (2016).

  •  ‘Mental disability? Galen on mental health’. In C. Laes (ed.) Disabilities in Antiquity. London: Routledge (2016).

  •  ‘Fear, Hope and the definition of Hippocratic Medicine’. In W.V. Harris (ed.) Popular Medicine in the Graeco-Roman World: New Approaches. (Columbia Studies in the Classical Tradition 42). Leiden: Brill (2016).

  • 'Grief and Cheerfulness in early Greek medical writings'. In Bosman, P.R. (ed.) Ancient Routes to Happiness. Acta Classica Supplement 7. Pretoria: Classical Association of South Africa (2016) 95-116.

  • (with Ph. van der Eijk and Orly Lewis), ‘Gradualism and mental health in ancient medicine’. In G. Keil, and L. Keuck and R. Hauswald (eds.) Gradualist Approaches to Mental Health and Disease. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2016).

  •  ‘Patient function and physician function in the Epidemics cases’. In G. Petridou and C. Thumiger (eds.) Homo Patiens. Approaches to the patient in the ancient world. Leiden: Brill (2015) 107-37.

  • ‘Introduction.’ In G. Petridou and C. Thumiger (eds.) Homo Patiens. Approaches to the patient in the ancient world. Leiden: Brill (2015) 1-22.

  •  ‘Animals in tragedy’. In G. Campbell (ed.) Oxford Handbook of Animals. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2014) 84-98.

  • ‘Metamorphosis: human into animal’. In G. Campbell (ed.) Oxford Handbook of Animals. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2014) 384-413.

  • ‘Mental insanity in the Hippocratic texts: a pragmatic perspective’. Mnemosyne  (2015) 210-233.

  •  ‘The early Greek medical vocabulary of insanity’. IN W.V. Harris, (ED.) Mental Disorders in the Classical World. Leiden: Brill (2013) 61-95.

  • ‘Vision and knowledge in Greek drama’. In D. Cairns, N. Rabinowitz, S. Blundell (eds.) Vision and Viewing in Ancient Greece. Special Issue of Helios 40 (2013), 223-46.

  • Entries ‘Ancient and modern views on character and personality’, ‘Madness’, ‘Concept of Mind’, ‘Animals and animal imagery’, ‘Vision and knowledge’, ‘Bacchae’. In H. Roisman (ed.) Blackwell Encyclopedia of Greek Tragedy. Oxford: Blackwell (2013) 206-12; 785-7; 849-51; 112-4; 1466-7; 353-9.

  • ‘Hallucination, Drunkenness and Mirrors: Ancient Reception of Modern Drama’. In A. Bakogianni (ed.), Dialogues with the Past 1: Classical Reception Theory and Practice. BICS Supplement 126-1. London (2013) 39-60.

  • ‘Mad Eros and eroticized Madness in Tragedy’. In E. Sanders, C. Thumiger et al. (eds.) Eros in Ancient Greece. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2013) 27-40.

  • ‘Introduction’. In E. Sanders, C. Thumiger et al. (eds.) Eros in Ancient Greece. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2013) 1-8.

  • ‘Metatheatre in modern and ancient fiction’. Materiali e Discussioni per l’Analisi dei Testi Classici 63 (2009) 9-58.

  • Epidemia tra le Baccanti di Euripide, Tucidide e il Corpus Hippocraticum’. Studi Italiani di Filologia Classica 7(2) 2009, 176-200.

  • anagkês zeugmat’ empeptôkamen: Greek Tragedy between Human and Animal’. Leeds International Classics Seminar (2008).

  • ‘Personal Pronouns as Identity Terms in Ancient Greek: The Surviving Tragedies and Euripides’ Bacchae’. Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 104 (2008).

  • ‘Visione e identità nelle Baccanti di Euripide’. ACME II (2007) 3-30.

  • ‘Animal World, Animal Representation, and the “Hunting-Model”: Between Literal and Figurative in Euripides’ Bacchae’. Phoenix 60.3-4 (2006) 191-210.

In preparation

  • (With L. Graumann) ‘Children And The Art Of Medical Storytelling: Contemporary Practice And Hippocratic Case-Taking Compared’. In Cases and Anecdotes, ed. by M. Asper et al. (forthcoming)

  • Chapter on ‘Animals’. In L. Totelin (ed.) The Berg/Bloomsbury Cultural History of Medicine. Volume on Antiquity. London: Bloomsbury (2019)

  • • ‘Hiding the body: the expression of shame in ancient medicine’. In Kazantzidis, G., Spatharas, D. (ed.) Medical Understandings of Emotions.

    • ‘The transmission of information in ancient medical belief systems: the case of phrenitis’. In C. Meyns (ed.) Information and the History of Philosophy. Routledge

  • ‘Asclepiades on phrenitis’. (Forthcoming)

 
 


 

 

 

DISCUSSIONS ON DISABILITY

“Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations.

Disability is thus not just a health problem. It is a complex phenomenon, reflecting the interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives. Overcoming the difficulties faced by people with disabilities requires interventions to remove environmental and social barriers.

People with disabilities have the same health needs as non-disabled people – for immunization, cancer screening etc. They also may experience a narrower margin of health, both because of poverty and social exclusion, and also because they may be vulnerable to secondary conditions, such as pressure sores or urinary tract infections. Evidence suggests that people with disabilities face barriers in accessing the health and rehabilitation services they need in many settings”

 (WHO, accessed 17.07.2016, http://www.who.int/topics/disabilities/en/)

 

The WHO definition emphasizes impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions as part of the human experience of disability, focusing thus on the body, on society's reactions to certain conditions, and on the need for interventions to remove respective barriers. This definition – the standard in our world - covers mental impairments only in a derivative way. At the centre are the physiology and structures of the human body and their variations, framed within the activities and interactions of life.

Mental disability is only a particular case within this whole, and notably one which ancient medical literature barely consider in ways on which we could superimpose our own modern constructs, (e.g.) discussions of what used to be called 'retardation' in modern or contemporary medicine – 'mental disability'. In this sense we are setting ourselves out onto an anachronistic path as we inquiry mental disability in ancient sources, and both the correspondences and the differences between us and the ancient can be only partial. 

Nonetheless, to search for the antecedent of modern ableism and dis-ableism (on these see F.A. Kumari Campbell, Contours of Ableism: The Production of Disability and Abledness, London, 2009) is an important critical exercise to both challenge our own prejudices and the polices and institutions of our societies, and to better understand ancient social organisations and thought systems.

For example, in the WHO definition the terms ‘impairment’, ‘activity limitation’ and ‘restriction’ indicate a permanent or long-lasting state of things that characterize an individual in his or her life and interactions with the world outside. This enduring quality of a disability, mental or physical, by which health is deeply embedded into the nature of each individual find a match with several ancient ideas: for example, that of hereditary defilement, ‘family guilt’; or the correspondence between bodily excellence and moral character (the so called kalokagathia, ‘to be good and handsome’). All these characteristics cannot be changed through therapy or good will.

On the other hand, to these impairments qualities of excellence are sometimes associated. The god Hephaistos is famously represented as lame, as well as being an extraordinarily skilled artisan:

London B 507, London British Museum

London B 507, London British Museum

From Caskey &amp; Beazley, plate XLIV. With permission of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.   Boston 13.188

From Caskey & Beazley, plate XLIV. With permission of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Boston 13.188

...as well as there is a pattern of representing figures of wisdom and artistic greatness as as blind, like famously the poet Homer or the Theban seer Thyresias.

 

Büste Homers; aus dem 2. Jahrhundert n. Chr. stammende römische Kopie eines  hellenistischen  Originals ( British Museum , London)

Büste Homers; aus dem 2. Jahrhundert n. Chr. stammende römische Kopie eines hellenistischen Originals (British Museum, London)


On the other hand Archilochus, the iambic poet of the 7th century BCE, went as far as clearly pointing out that an imperfect bodily appearance had nothing to do with a man’s qualities; a crooked, but strong-hearted soldier is of much more value than a brainless and cowardly macho:

‘I love not a tall general nor a straddling,

nor one proud of his hair nor one part-shaven;

for me a man should be short and bowlegged to behold,

set firm on his feet, full of heart’

οὐ φιλ<έω> μέγαν στρατηγὸν οὐδὲ διαπεπλιγμένον

οὐδὲ βοστρύχοισι γαῦρον οὐδ' ὑπεξυρημένον,

ἀλλά μοι σμικρός τις εἴη καὶ περὶ κνήμας ἰδεῖν

ῥοικός, ἀσφαλ<έω>ς βεβηκὼς ποσσί, καρδίης πλέως.

(114 West)

All these sparse, and well-known examples – many more could be mentioned – illustrate the existence of both a prejudice on ‘disabled bodies’ – whether positive or negative prejudice - and of a challenge to it from very early in Western culture.

Still, the ancient lacked a clear categorization of ‘disability’ as general experience and could be said, in some respect, to have held a less normative view of what it means to be a human being worthy of this name. This does not mean that the life of the mentally of physically impaired would have been necessarily less difficult, and sometimes tragic than it is in many places and contexts nowadays. A clear classification of able vs. dis-abled was not there, however: and it is precisely classifications, rather than the recognition of innate differences and degrees of strength among individuals per se what notably brings in rigid social divisions, margialisation and devaluation, and the ultimate call for a homogenisation of humanity based on a set of given measurable values.

Much work has been done in disability studies to reflect critically on what ‘(dis)ability’ means, and to uncover different human attitudes to this aspect of human difference in other historical periods. Still much works has to be done, especially in the area of mental disability in its various forms, notably more problematic to reconstruct than bodily particularity. Here are some studies on the ancient period:

 

Breitwieser, Rupert 2012. Behinderungen Und Beeintrachtigungen / Disability and Impairment in Antiquity. Oxford, Archaepress.

Francis, Sarah 2017. ‘From private disabilities to public illnesses: placing the mentally incapacitated in Roman society’, in Thumiger and Singer (eds.).Mental Illness in Ancient Medicine. From Celsus to Caelius Aurelianus. Leiden, Brill.

Garland, Robert. 2010. The Eye of the Beholder: Deformity and Disability in the Graeco-Roman World. London, Bristol Classical Press.

Goodey, Christopher F. 2011. A History of Intelligence and ‘Intellectual Disability’: The Shaping of Psychology in Early Modern Europe. Ashgate, Routledge.

Hubert, Jane 2000. Madness, disability and social exclusion: the archaeology and anthropology of ‘difference’. London, Routledge.

Kellenberger, Edgar 2011. Der Schutz der Einfältigen. Menschen mit einer geistigen behinderung in der Bibel und in weiteren Quellen. Zürich, TVZ Theologischer Verlag Zürich.

Kellenberger, Edgar 2013. Children and Adults with Intellectual Disability in Antiquity and Modernity: Toward a Biblical and Sociological Model, CrossCurrents 63.4: 449–472.

Laes, Christian 2013. ‘Approaching disabilities a Capite ad Calcem: hidden themes in Roman Antiquity’, in Laes et al. (eds.), pp. 1–15.

Laes, Christian 2014. Beperkt? Gehandicapten in het Romeinse Rijk. Leuven, Davidsfonds Uitgeverij.

Laes, Christian 2016. Disabilities in Antiquity. London, Routledge.

Laes, Christian, Goodey, Chris F. and Rose, M Lynn (eds.) 2013a. Disabilities in Roman Antiquity. Disparate Bodies a Capite ad Calcem. Amsterdam, Brill.

Rose, Martha L. 2003. The Staff of Oedipus. Transforming Disability in Ancient Greece. Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press.

Thumiger, Chiara ‘Mental disability? Galen on mental health' In C. Laes (ed.) Disabilities in Antiquity. London: Routledge (2016).

 

 

 

resources

Online:

The best portal on events, publications conferences in History and Philosophy of Psychiatry-Psychology: https://historypsychiatry.com

A unique website devoted to ancient disability, physical and mental: http://www.disability-ancientworld.com

A great new blog on ancient medicine and philosophy, by Sean Coughlin http://www.ancientmedicine.org

 

 

events:

bibliography:

A list of secondary works on ancient mental life in general; ancient ideas on mental pathology; ancient medical approaches to the mind. It is broadly organised thematically. Its purpose is not to be exhaustive but to highlight what I consider to be new or fundamental contributions.

Literary representations of madness and mental life

These are studies about the representation, or the motif of madness in non medical ancient literature, including the metaphorical understanding of madness as form of artistic creativity or marker of an extraordinary personality.

Beta, Simone 1999. ‘Madness on the comic stage: Aristophanes’ Wasps and Euripides’ Heracles’, GRBS 40: 135–57.

Ciani, Maria 1983. Psicosi e Creatività nella Scienza Antica. Venice, Marsilio.

Clarke, Michael 1999. Flesh and Spirit in the Songs of Homer. Oxford University Press.

Dawson, Abigail 2006. Madness in context in the Histories of Herodotus. Diss. Auckland.

Di Benedetto, Vincenzo 1985. ‘Intorno al linguaggio erotico di Saffo’, Hermes 113: 145–56.

Ferrari, Franco 2001. ‘Saffo: nevrosi e poesia’, SIFC 19: 3–31.

Fontaine, Miachel. ‘On being sane in an insane place — The Rosenhan experiment in the laboratory of Plautus‘ Epidamnus’, Curr. Psychol. DOI 10.1007/s12144-013-9188-z.

Fratantuono, Lee 2007. Madness Unchained: A Reading of Virgil's Aeneid. Lanham, Lexington Books.

Fratantuono, Lee 2011. Madness Transformed: A Reading of Ovid's Metamorphoses. Lanham, Lexington Books

Fratantuono, Lee 2012. Madness Triumphant: A Reading of Lucan's Pharsalia. Lanham, Lexington Books.

Giusti, Alberto 1929. ‘La pazzia religiosa di Cambise’, Bilychnis 33: 181–96.

Glenn, Justin 1979. ‘Pentheus and the psychologists. Some recent views of the Bacchae’, RCS 27: 5–10.

Guardasole, Alessia 2000. Tragedia e Medicina nell’Atene del V secolo AC. Naples.

Holmes, Brooke 2008. ‘Euripides' Heracles in the Flesh’, Classical Antiquity 28: 231–81.

Kazantzidis, Georgios 2011. Melancholy in Hellenistic and Latin Poetry. Medical readings in Menander, Apollonius Rhodius, Lucretius and Horace. Diss. Oxford.

Kazantzidis, Georgios 2017. ‘Between insanity and wisdom: perceptions of melancholia in the pseudo-Hippocratic Letters 10–17’, in Thumiger and Singer (eds.).

Lanata, Guiliana 1968. ‘Linguaggio scientifico e linguaggio poetico. Note al lessico del De Morbo Sacro’, QUCC: 22–36.

Mattes, Josef 1970. Der Wahnsinn in griechischen Mythos und in der Dichtung bis zum Drama des fünften Jahrhunderts. Heidelberg, C. Winter.

Montiglio, Silvia 2005. Wandering in ancient Greek culture. Chicago University Press.

O’Brien Moore, Ainsworth 1924. Madness in ancient literature. Weimar, R. Wagner.

Padel, Ruth 1981. ‘Madness in fifth-century Athenian tragedy’, in Heelas, Paul and Lock, Andrew (eds.), Indigenous Psychologies: the Anthropology of the Self. London, Academic Press, pp. 105–31.

Padel, Ruth 1992. In and Out of the Mind. Greek Images of the Tragic Self. Princeton University Press.

Padel, Ruth 1995. Whom Gods Destroy. Elements of Greek and Tragic Madness. Princeton University Press.

Pelliccia, Hayden 1995. Mind, Body and Speech in Homer and Pindar. Göttingen, Vandenhoeck & Rupprecht.

Rütten, Thomas 1992.  Demokrit, lachender Philosoph und sanguinischer Melancholiker. Leiden, Brill.

Shelton, Matthew J. 2012. Madness in Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura. Diss. Cape Town.

Thiher, Allen 2004. Revels in Madness: insanity in medicine and literature. Ann Arbor, The University of Michigan Press.

Thumiger, Chiara 2007. Hidden Paths. Notions of Self, Tragic Characterization and Euripides’ Bacchae (BICS Suppl. 99).  London, University of London Institute of Classical Studies.

Thumiger, Chiara 2009. ‘Epidemia tra le Baccanti di Euripide, Tucidide e il Corpus Hippocraticum’, Studi Italiani di Filologia Classica 7.2: 176-200.

Thumiger, Chiara 2013. ‘The Early Greek Medical Vocabulary of Insanity’, in Harris (ed.), pp. 61–95.

Thumiger, Chiara 2016. ‘The tragic prosopon and the Hippocratic facies: face and individuality in Classical Greece’, Maia. Rivista di Letterature Classiche.

Toohey, Peter 1990. ‘Some ancient histories of literary melancholia’, ICS 15: 143–61.

Toohey, Peter 1992. ‘Love, lovesickness and melancholia’, ICS 17: 265–86.

Toohey, Peter 2004. Melancholy, Love, and Time: Boundaries of the Self in Ancient Literature. Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press.

Toohey, Peter 2011. Boredom: A Lively History. London and New Haven, Yale University Press.

Vaughan, Agnes C. 1919. Madness in Greek thought and custom. Baltimore, Kessinger Publishing.

Vernant, Jean-Pierre 1981. ‘Sacrificial and Alimentary Codes in Hesiod’s Myth of Prometheus.’ Trans. R.L. Gordon, in  Gordon, Richard and Detienne, Marcel (eds.), Myth, religion, and society: structuralist essay. Cambridge University Press, pp. 59–79.

Vernant, Jean-Pierre 1996. Entre mythe et politique. Paris, Seuil.

Vernant, Jean-Pierre 2006. Myth and Thought among the Greeks. transl. by J. Lloyd. New York, Zone Books. (Mythe et pensee chez les Grecs. Etudes de psychologie historique. Paris 1965).

Vernant, Jean-Pierre and Vidal-Naquet, Pierre 1990. Myth and tragedy. Transl. by J. Lloyd. New York, Zone Books. (Mythe et tragédie en Grėce ancienne. Paris 1986)

Walshe, Thomas M. 2016. Neurological Concepts in Ancient Greek Medicine. Oxford University Press.

Ancient ideas of mind/soul and aspects of mental life

This broad category includes various studies on ancient psychology and anthropology that are relevant to a study of the ancient mind, comprising ancient emotions, dreaming, suffering and pathology, and constructs such as intelligence and happiness; as well as philosophical and religious concepts of ‘soul’ and ‘mind’.

 

Böhme, Hartmut (2009). Vom phobos zur Angst. Zur Begriffs- und Transformationsgeschichte der Angst’, in Harbsmeier, Michael and Möckel, Sebastian (eds.), Pathos, Affekt, Emotion. Transformationen der Antike, Frankfurt am Main, Suhrkamp Verlag, pp. 154–84.

Braund, Susanne and Gill, Christopher (eds.) 1997. The Passions in Roman Thought and Literature. Cambridge University Press.

Braund, Susanne and Most, Glenn (eds.) 2003. Ancient Anger. Perspectives from Homer ro Galen. Cambridge University Press.

Bremmer, Jan 1983. The Early Greek Concept of the Soul. Princeton University Press.

Byl, Simon 1998. ‘Sommeil et insomnie dans le Corpus Hippocratique’, Revue Belge de philologie 76: 31–6.

Byl, Simon 2002. ‘Le vocabulaire de l’intelligence dans le chapitre 35 du Livre I du traité du Régime’Rev. De philologie, de littérature et d’historire anciennes 76: 217–24.

Chaniotis, Angelos 2012. Unveiling emotions: Sources and Methods for the Study of Emotions in the Greek World, Volume I. Stuttgart, Franz Steiner Verlag.

Chaniotis, Angelos 2013a. Unveiling emotions: Sources and Methods for the Study of Emotions in the Greek World. Volume II. Stuttgart, Franz Steiner Verlag.

Chaniotis, Angelos and Ducrey, Pierre (eds.) 2013b. Emotions in Greece and Rome: Texts, Images, Material Culture. Stuttgart, Franz Steiner Verlag.

Clarke, Michael 1999. Flesh and Spirit in the Songs of Homer. Oxford University Press.

Crowley, Jason 2012. Psychology of the Athenian Hoplite: The Culture of Combat in Classical Athens. Cambridge University Press.

Crowley, Jason 2014. ‘Beyond the universal soldier: combat trauma in classical antiquity’, in Meineck, Peter and Konstan, David (eds.) Combat Trauma and the Ancient Greeks. The New Antiquity. New York, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 105–30.

Davidson, James 2007. The Greeks and Greek Love. A Radical Reappraisal of Homosexuality in Ancient Greece. London, Random House.

Guidorizzi, Giulio 1988. Il sogno in Grecia. Bari, Laterza.

Guidorizzi, Giulio 2010. Ai confini dell’anima. I greci e la follia. Milan, Raffaello Cortina.

Guidorizzi, Giulio 2013. Il compagno dell’anima. I greci e il sogno. Milan, Raffaello Cortina.

Hankinson, Robert J. 1991. ‘Greek medical models of mind’, in Everson, Stephen (ed.),

Harris, William V. 2003. ‘The rage of women’, in Braund and Most (eds.), Ancient Anger, pp. 122–43.

Harris, William V. 2009. Dreams and Experience in Classical Antiquity. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press.

Harris, William V. 2010. ‘History, empathy, and emotion’, Antike und Abendland 56: 1–23.

Harris, William V. 2011. Restraining Rage: the Ideology of Anger Control in Classical Antiquity. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press.

Harris, William V. 2013a. Mental Disorders in the Classical World. Leiden, Brill.

Harris, William V. 2013b. ‘Greek and Roman hallucinations’, in Harris (ed.), pp. 285–306.

Herman, Gabriel 2011. ‘Greek Epiphanies and the Sensed Presence’, Historia 60: 127–57.

Hershkowitz, Debra 1998. The madness of epic: Reading insanity from Homer to Statius. Oxford University Press.

Horden, Peregrine 2005. ‘Travel Sickness: Medicine and Mobility in the Mediterranean from Antiquity to the Renaissance’, in Harris, William (ed.), Rethinking the Mediterranean, Oxford University Press, pp. 179–99.

Hüffmeier, Friedrich 1961. ‘Phronesis in den Schriften des Corpus Hippocraticum’, Hermes 89: 51–84.

Hulskamp, Maithe A.A. 2008. Sleep and Dreams in Ancient Medical Diagnosis and Prognosis. Diss. Newcastle.

Hulskamp, Maithe A.A. 2013. ‘The Value of Dream Diagnosis to the Hippocratics and Galen’, in Oberhelman, Steven (ed.), Dreams, healing and medicine in Greece: from antiquity to the present. Farnham and Burlington VT, Routledge, pp. 33–68.

Kahn, Charles H. 1985. ‘Democritus and the origins of moral psychology’, AJPh 106: 1–31.

King, Richard A.H. 2008. Common to Body and Soul. Philosophical Approaches to Explaining Living Behaviour in Greco-Roman Antiquity. Berlin, De Gruyter.

Lo Presti, Roberto 2015. “For Sleep, In Some Way, Is An Epileptic Seizure’ (Somn.Vig. 3, 457 a 9–10): Empirical Background, Theoretical Function, and Transformations of the Sleep-Epilepsy Analogy in Aristotle and in Medieval Aristotelianism”, in Holmes, Brooke, Fischer, Klaus-Dietrich (eds.), The Frontiers of Ancient Science: Essays in Honor of Heinrich von Staden, Berlin, De Gruyter, pp. 339–396.

Lo Presti, Roberto 2015. ‘Le sommeil dans les Épidémies hippocratiques’, in Leroux, Virginie, Palmieri, Nicoletta, Pigné, Christine (eds.) Approches hippocratiques du sommeil, in Approches philosophiques et médicales du sommeil de l’Antiquité à la Renaissance. Paris, Honoré Champion, pp. 209–33.

Lo Presti, Roberto 2016. ‘Perceiving the coherence of the perceiving body. Is there such a thing as a “Hippocratic” view on sense perception and cognition?’, in Dean-Jones, Lesley and Rosen, Ralph M. (eds.), Ancient concepts of the Hippocratic. Leiden, Brill, pp. 163–94.

Marzari, Francesa 2010. ‘Paradigmi di follia e lussuria virginale in Grecia antica: le Pretidi fra tradizione mitica e medica‘, I Quaderni del Ramo d'Oro on-line 3: 47–74.

Oberhelman, Steven M. 2013. Dreams, Healing, and Medicine in Greece. Ashgate Publishing.

Onians, Richard B. 1951. The Origins of European Thought: About the Body, the Mind, the Soul, the World, Time and Fate. Cambridge University Press.

Poivre, Amandine 2009. La Faim dans la Littérature Grecque jusqu’à Aristophane. Diss. Paris.

Renberg, Gil 2003. Commanded by the Gods: an epigraphical study of dreams and visions in Greek and Roman religious life. Diss. Duke.

Renberg, Gil 2010. ‘Dream Narratives and Unnarrated Dreams’, in Scioli, Emma and Walde, Christine (eds.), Sub Imagine Somni: Nighttime Phenomena in Greco-Roman Culture. Pisa, Edizioni ETS, pp. 33–62.

Renehan, Robert 1981. ‘The meaning of ΣΩΜΑ in Homer: a study in methodology’, CSCA 12: 269–81.

Robinson. Thomas M. 2000. ‘The Defining Features of Mind-Body Dualism in the Writings of Plato’, in Wright and Potter (eds.), pp. 37–55.

Rohde, Erwin 1890–4. Psyche: Seelencult und Unsterblichkeitsglaube der Griechen. Tübingen, Mohr.

Sassi, Maria M. 1978. Le teorie della percezione in Democrito. Florence, La Nuova Italia.

Sassi, Maria M. 2001. The Science of Man in Ancient Greece. University of Chicago Press.

Sassi, Maria M. 2007. Tracce nella mente: teorie della memoria da Platone ai moderni. Pisa, Edizioni della Normale.

Sassi, Maria M. 2013. ‘Mental Illness, moral error, and responsability in late Plato’, in Harris (ed.), pp. 413–26.

Scioli, Emma and Walde, Christine 2010.  Sub imagine somni: Nighttime Phenomena in Greco-Roman Culture. Testi e studi di cultura classica, 46. Pisa, Edizioni ETS.

Smith, Wesley D. 1965. ‘The so-called possession in pre-Christian Greece’, Transactions of the American Philological Association 96: 403–36.

Smith, Wesley D. 1990. (ed. and transl.) Hippocrates, Pseudepigraphic Writings: Letters, Embassy, Speech from the Altar, Decree. Leiden, Brill.

Snell, Bruno 1960. The Discovery of the Mind. The Greek Origins of European Thought. Trans. T.G. Rosenmeyer. New York, Torchbooks (Die Entdeckung des Geistes. Hamburg 1946).

Sorabji, Richard 2006. Self. Ancient and Modern Insights about Individuality, Life and death. Oxford University Press.

Stefanelli, Rossana 2010. La temperatura dell'anima: parole omeriche per l'interiorità. Padua, Unipress.

Strobl, Petra 2002. Die Macht des Schlafes in der griechisch-römischen Welt: eine Untersuchung der mythologischen und physiologischen Aspekte der antiken Standpunkte. Hamburg, Verlag Dr. Kovac.

Ustinova, Yulia 2009. Caves and the Ancient Greek Mind. Descending Underground in the Search for Ultimate Truth. Oxford University Press.

Ustinova, Yulia 2011. ‘Consciousness alteration practices in the West from prehistory to late antiquity’, in Cardeña, Etzel and Winkelman, Michael (eds.), Altering Consciousness: Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Santa Barbara, Praeger.

Wohlers, Michael 1999. Heilige Krankheit. Epilepsie in antiker Medizin, Astrologie und Religion, Marburger Theologische Studien 57. Marburg, N.G. Elwert.

Wöhrle, Georg 1995. Hypnos der Allbezwinger: Eine Studie zum literarischen Bild des Schlafes in der griechischen Antike. Stuttgart, David Brown Book Company.

Wolfsdorf, David 2013. Pleasure in Ancient Greek Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.

Wollock, Jeffrey 1997. The noblest animate motion: speech, physiology and medicine in pre-Cartesian linguistic thought. Amsterdam, John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Reception

Under ‘Reception’ I list studies which are heavily informed by a modern or contemporary methodology or discipline (Freudian Psychoanalysis, neurology and contemporary biomedicine more generally, twentieth-century philosophy…), or propose a reflection on these modern grids of interpretations.

 

Armstrong, Richard 2006. A Compulsion for Antiquity. Freud and the Ancient WorldCornell University Press. 

Bowlby, Rachel 2007. Freudian Mythologies. Oxford University Press.

Caldwell, Richard 1974. ‘Selected bibliography on psychoanalysis and classical studies’, Arethusa 7: 115–34.

Caldwell, Richard 1989. The Origin of the Gods: A Psychoanalytic Study of Greek Theogonic Myth. Oxford University Press.

Devereux, George 1970a. ‘The nature of Sappho’s seizure in fr. 31 as evidence of her inversion’, CQ NS 20: 17–31.

Devereux, George 1970b. ‘The psychotherapy scene in Euripides’ Bacchae’, JHS 90: 35–48.

Devereux, George 1976. Dreams in Greek Tragedy: an Ethno-psychoanalytical StudyOxford, Basil Blackwell.

Evans, Katie, McGrath, John and Milns, Robert 2003. ‘Searching for schizophrenia in ancient Greek and Roman literature: a systematic review’, Acta Psychiatr. Scand.: 323–30.

Gill, Christopher 1985. ‘Ancient Psychotherapy’, Journal of the History of Ideas 46.3: 307–25.

Henrichs, Albert 1984. ‘Loss of self, suffering, violence: the modern view of Dionysus from Nietzsche to Girard’, HSCP 88: 205–40.

Matentzoglu, Silvia 2011. Zur Psychopathologie in den hippokratischen Schriften. Berlin, Winter Industries.

Nussbaum, Martha C. 1990. ‘The transfiguration of intoxication: Nietzsche, Schopenhauer and Dionysos’, Arion I: 75–111.

Sale, William (ed.) 1977. Existentialism in Euripides: Sickness, Tragedy and Divinity in the Medea, the Hippolytus and the BacchaeVictoria, Aureal Publications.

Sale, William 1972. ‘The psychoanalysis of Pentheus in the Bacchae of Euripides’. YCS 22: 63–82. 

Walshe, Thomas M. 2016. Neurological Concepts in Ancient Greek Medicine. Oxford University Press.

Zajko, Vanda and O’Gorman, Ellen 2013. Classical Myth and Psychoanalysis. Ancient and Modern Stories of the Self. Oxford University Press.

 

Modern discussions

 

 

An absolutely not exhaustive selection of modern and contemporay discussions that I have found illuminating or useful:

Busfield, Joan 2011. Mental Illness. Oxford, Polity Press.

Frances, Allen 2009. ‘A warning sign on the road to DSM-V: beware of its unintended consequences’, Psychiatric Times 26.06.09.

Frances, Allen 2010.  ‘Good Grief’, The New York Times. 14.08.10.

Frances, Allen 2011. ‘The Uses and Misuses of Psychiatric Diagnosis’. Paper delivered at the conference ‘Situating Mental Illness’. ICI Kultur Labor Berlin, 28–29 April.

Fuchs, Thomas and Schlimme, Jann E. 2009. ‘Embodiment and psychopathology: a phenomenological perspective’, Current Opinion in Psychiatry  22: 570–75.

Gallagher, Shaun 2005. How the Body Shapes the Mind. Oxford University Press. 

Gilman Sander L. 2011. ‘Seeing bodies in pain: From Hippocrates to Freud’, International Journal of Psychoanalysis 92: 661–74.

Guenther, Katja 2015. Localisation and its Discontents. A Genealogy of Psychoanalysis and the Neuro Disciplines. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Hopkins University Press.

Hornsby, Jennifer 1997. Simple Mindedness: In Defense of Naive Naturalism in the Philosophy of Mind.  Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press.

Hurley, Susan L. and Noë, Alva 2003. ‘Neural plasticity and consciousness’, Biology and Philosophy 18.1: 131–68.

Kächele, Horst 2011.The single case study approach as a bridge between clinicians and

Kächele, Horst, Schachter, Joseph, Thomä, Helmut 2009. From Psychoanalytic Narrative to Empirical Single Case Research. New York, Routledge.

Kendler, Kenneth S. 2005. ‘Toward a philosophical structure for psychiatry’, Am.J. Ps. 162–3: 33–40.

Kleinman, Arthur 1980. Patients and Healers in the Context of Culture. An exploration of the Borderland between Anthropology, Medicine and Psychiatry. Berkeley, University of California Press.

Kleinman, Arthur 1991. Rethinking Psychiatry. From Cultural category to Personal Experience. New York, Free Press.

Kutschenko, Lara K. 2011a. ‘How to Make Sense of Broadly Applied Medical Classification Systems: Introducing Epistemic Hubs’, Hist. Phil. Life Sci. 33: 583–602.

Kutschenko, Lara K. 2011b. ‘In Quest of “Good” Medical Classification Systems’, Medicine Studies 3.1: 53–70, doi: 10.1007/s12376-011-0065-5.

Matthews, Eric H. 2004. ‘Merleau-Ponty’s body-subject and psychiatry’, Int.Rev.Psych. 16.3: 190–8.

McHugh, Paul and Slavney, Ahilipp 1986. The Perspectives on Psychiatry. Baltimore, Johns

Porter, Roy 1987. A Social History of Madness. Stories of the Insane. London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson History.

Porter, Roy 1991. Faber Book of Madness. London, Weidenfeld.

Porter, Roy 2002. Madness. A brief History. Oxford University Press.

researchers’. (Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Rapaport-Klein Study Group. Austen Riggs Center. Stockbridge, MA, June 3–5 (http://www.psychomedia.it/rapaport-klein/Kaechele-2011.pdf).

Richert, Lucas 2014. ‘“Therapy Means Political Change, Not Peanut Butter”: American Radical Psychiatry, 1968–1975’, Soc. Hist. Med. 27.1: 104–21.

Rosen, George 1968. “Some Notes on Greek and Roman Attitudes to the Mentally Ill.”, in Stevenson, Lloyd and Multhauf, Robert (eds.), Medicine, Science and Culture: Historical Essays in Honor of Owsei Temkin. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 17–23.

Rosen, George 1969. Madness in Society, Chapters in the Historical Sociology of Mental Illness. New York, Routledge.

Rosen, George 1970. “Mental Disorder, Social Deviance, and Culture Pattern: some methodological issues in the historical study of mental illness’, in Mora, George and Brand, Jeanne (eds.), Psychiatry and its History: methodological problems in Research. Springfield, Charles C. Thomas, pp. 17294.

Scull, Andrew. Madness. A very short introduction. Oxford (2011).

Simon, Bennett 1978. Mind and Madness in Ancient Greece: the Classical Roots of Modern Psychiatry. London, Cornwell University Press. 

Simon, Bennett 2013. ‘Carving nature at the joints’: the dream of a perfect classification of mental illness’, in Harris (ed.), pp. 27–40.

Wakefield, Jerome C. 1992a. ‘Disorder as harmful dysfunction: a conceptual critique of DSM-III-R’s definition of mental disorder’, Psych.Rev. 99.2: 232–47.

Wakefield, Jerome C. 1992b. ‘The Concept of Mental Disorder. On the Boundary Between Biological Facts and Social Value’, American Psychologist 476.3: 373–88

Ancient mental diseases and disorders: medicine and philosophy

Historical studies on what ancient medical and philosophical authors had to say about mental life and mental health. In alphabetical order, but on top I list those which are (or will become), in my opinion, the fundamental broader perspectives for an historian of medicine.

 

Ahonen, Marke 2014. Mental Disorders in Ancient Philosophy. Berlin and New York, Springer.

Devinant, Julien 2016. Le troubles psychiques chez Galien. Étude d’une approche philosophique et médicale de l’âme. Diss. Univ. Paris-Sorbonne.

Dols, Michael 1992. Majnun. The Madman in Medieval Islamic Society. Oxford, Clarendon Press.

Drabkin, I.E. 1955. ‘Remarks on ancient psychopathology’, Isis 46: 223–34.

Gundert, Beate 2010. ‘Soma and psyche in Hippocratic Medicine’, in Wright, John and Potter, Paul (eds.), Psyche and Soma: Physicians and Metaphysicians on the Mind-Body Problem from Antiquity to Enlightenment. Oxford University Press, pp. 13–36.

Jouanna, Jacques (ed.) 1999. Hippocrates. Medicine and Culture. Transl. by M.B. DeBevoise. Baltimore and London, Johns Hopkins University Press.

Klibansky, Raymond, Panofsky, Erwin and Saxl, Fritz 1990. Saturn und Melancholie. Frankfurt, Suhrkamp.

Petridou, Georgia and Thumiger, Chiara 2015. The patient in the ancient world. Leiden, Brill.

Pigeaud, Jackie 1981. La maladie de l'âme. Étude sur la relation de l'âme et du corps dans la tradition medico-philosophique antique. Paris, Les Belles Lettres.

Pigeaud, Jackie 1995. La Follia nell’antichità Classica. Trans. By A. D’Alessandro. Bologna, Marsilio. (Folie et cures de la folie chez les medicines de l’antiquité gréco-romaine. La manie. Paris. 1987).

Singer, Peter N. 1992. ‘Some Hippocratic Mind-Body Problems’, in Lopez Ferez, Juan (ed.), Tratados Hipocraticos, Madrid, pp. 131–43.

Thumiger, Chiara. Mental life and mental disorders in fifth- and early fourth-century medical thought. Cambridge (2017).

Van der Eijk, Philip 2013. ‘Cure and (In)curability of Mental Disorders in Ancient Medical and Philosophical Thought’, in Harris (ed.), pp. 307–38.

###

Ahonen, Marke 2013. ‘Mental disturbances. Ancient theories’, in Knuuttila, Simo and Sihvola, Juha (eds.), Sourcebook for the History of the Philosophy of Mind. New York, Springer, pp. 593–603.

Ahonen, Marke 2014. Mental Disorders in Ancient Philosophy. Berlin and New York, Springer.

Ahonen, Marke 2017. ‘Madness, medical and moral: Making the distinction in ancient philosophy’, in Thumiger, Chiara and Singer, Paul (eds.), Mental Illness in Ancient Medicine. From Celsus to Caelius Aurelianus. Leiden, Brill.

Andò, Valeria 2003. ‘La follia femminile nella Grecia classica tra testi medici e poesia tragica’, Genesis 2.1: 17–46.

Byl, Simon and Szafran, Willy 1996. ‘La Phrenitis dans le Corpus Hippocratique. Étude philologique et médicale’, Vesalius 2,2: 98–105.

Ciani, Maria 1987. ‘The silences of the body. Defect and absence of voice in Hippocrates’, in Ciani, Maria (ed.), The regions of Silence. Studies on the difficulty of communicating. Amsterdam, Brill, pp. 14560.

Clark, Patricia 1993. The Balance of the Mind. Diss. Washington.

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