Mental Disorders in Classical Antiquity


A conference organized by the Center for the Ancient Mediterranean, Columbia University

Friday April 9th, 2010, Teatro, Italian Academy.

There will be a discussion period after each paper.

10: William Harris (Columbia), Welcoming Remarks.

10:15-10:45: Jackie Pigeaud (Nantes), “The problem of diagnosing so-called mental illnesses in antiquity”.

11:00-11:30: refreshments.

11:30-12:00: Julian Hughes (Newcastle). “If only the ancients had DSM, all would have been crystal clear: reflections on diagnosis”.

12:15-12:45: Sarah Francis, “Cursed madman, gifted seer, victim of failed
physiology: the changing face of the mentally impaired in antiquity”.

1:00-2:15: lunch break

2:15-2:45: George Kazantzidis (Oxford), “Reading melancholy without black bile: anti-humoralism and mental illness in Greek and Latin medicine”.

3:00-3:30. Michael Lambert (KwaZulu-Natal), “Strategies for avoiding mental illness: magical papyri, amulets and contemporary African healers”

3:45-4:15: refreshments

4:15-5:00: Brooke Holmes (Princeton), “Suffering together: mind-body sympathy in Greek medicine and philosophy”.

5:15-5:30: Discussant: Roberto Lewis-Fernandez (New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University).

5:30-6:00: General Discussion.

6:00-7:30: Reception
Saturday, April 10th, 2010, 612 Schermerhorn Hall.
10:00-10:30: David Konstan (Brown), “Madness and Responsibility“.

10:45-11:00: refreshments

11:00-11:30: Jacques Jouanna (Paris), “L’étiologie de la folie chez les médecins et les philosophes”.

11:45-12:15: Glenda McDonald (Columbia), “‘Nam quidam imaginibus, non mente falluntur’: hallucinations as symptoms of mental illness”.

12:30-2:00: lunch break

2:00-2:30: Philip van der Eijk (Berlin), “The curability and incurability of mental disorders in ancient medical thought”

2:45-3:15: Peter Pormann (Warwick), “Medical epistemology and mental illness: Rufus of Ephesus between East and West”.

3:30-4:00: refreshments

4:00-4:30: Peter Toohey (Calgary), “Madness in the Digest“.

4:45-5:15: Glenn W. Most (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and Chicago), “The madness of tragedy”.

5:15: Discussant: tba.

5:30-6:00: General Discussion.

For more information please visit

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