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A History of the Mind and Mental Health in Classical Greek Medical Thought


  • Date Published: June 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107176010

£ 105.00

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About the Authors
  • The Hippocratic texts and other contemporary medical sources have often been overlooked in discussions of ancient psychology. They have been considered to be more mechanical and less detailed than poetic and philosophical representations, as well as later medical texts such as those of Galen. This book does justice to these early medical accounts by demonstrating their richness and sophistication, their many connections with other contemporary cultural products and the indebtedness of later medicine to their observations. In addition, it reads these sources not only as archaeological documents but also in the light of methodological discussions that are fundamental to the histories of psychiatry and psychology. As a result of this approach, the book will be important for scholars of these disciplines as well as those of Greek literature and philosophy, strongly advocating the relevance of ancient ideas to modern debates.

    • Comprehensively explores the early history of Western ideas about the mind and its health
    • Discusses medical ideas in their cultural context, making it invaluable for scholars of Greek literature, art and culture
    • Engages fully with theoretical approaches and evaluates ancient medicine in the light of current debates in psychiatric theory and practice
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This book makes an important contribution to the study of mental disorder in antiquity. Thumiger's thorough survey of relevant material offers an invaluable resource for the researcher, and her historiographical introduction is outstanding in its detail and clarity. The methodological remarks in the opening chapter offer a careful account of the role of medical anthropology in the history of medicine in antiquity. There is little doubt that this book will become a standard in the study of mental disorder in ancient medical and non-medical texts.' Jessica Wright, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107176010
    • length: 510 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 30 mm
    • weight: 0.84kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Mental disorder and history: methodological and general issues
    Part I. The Body of the Insane:
    2. The body perceived
    3. The vital functions and mental life: sleep, food and drink, sex, death
    Part II. The Mind of the Insane:
    4. Sensory perception and its impairment
    5. Personality and personal psychology: emotions, character, reasoning
    Appendix: dates and dating.

  • Author

    Chiara Thumiger, University of Warwick
    Chiara Thumiger is a Wellcome Trust Medical Humanities Fellow in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick and a Gastwissenschaftlerin in the Department of Classical Philology at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Her research focuses on ancient medical approaches to mental health in dialogue with literary sources and modern debates. She is the author of Hidden Paths: Notions of Self, Tragic Characterization and Euripides' Bacchae (2007) and co-editor of Eros in Ancient Greece (with C. Carey, N. Lowe and E. Sanders, 2013) and Homo Patiens: Approaches to the Patient in the Ancient World (with G. Petridou, 2015).

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