Skip to main content
×
×
Home

On the Prevalence of the Causes of Insanity among the Ancients

  • D. Hack Tuke
Extract

Passing from the Egyptians to the Greeks and Romans, we proceed to pursue, in regard to these, the same line of enquiry as that which we have already attempted in regard to other nations. Were their habits, their social life, the character of their civilization, such as to lead us to expect that there must have existed among them, in any well marked degree, the clearly recognised causes of insanity ? In this investigation we must carefully distinguish between their early and heroic age and the period of their highest culture and refinement, otherwise we shall fall into the error of comprising under the same term widely different conditions of society, and in the endeavour to compare them with our own—that is to say, modern civilized life—shall draw a totally false inference. The seeds of insanity may have been widely sown among the people of one age, and but sparsely among those of another. We have abundant evidence in the immortal verse of Homer of the general character of the civilization of the Greeks at the period to which he refers—the legendary and heroic age of Greece; not as a state of barbarism, assuredly, but one which we feel differs widely from our own. They were far removed, doubtless, from the savage condition of certain early Greeks, described by Thucydides, marked, as he represents it to have been, by piracy—men falling upon towns which were unfortified and like straggling villages, and rifling them without disgrace, but rather with glory. He adds that in many other respects it might be shown that the Greeks, at the period of which he is speaking, lived in a manner similar to “the barbarians of the present age,” implying by this that their food consisted of milk and what the chase afforded, uncooked, and that they were clothed in undressed hides. To the people who were in this rude condition the remarks we have already made on barbarous tribes would apply; and we can have no doubt that the causes of insanity were then prevalent in only a limited degree.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      On the Prevalence of the Causes of Insanity among the Ancients
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      On the Prevalence of the Causes of Insanity among the Ancients
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      On the Prevalence of the Causes of Insanity among the Ancients
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2514-9946
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 2 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 6 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 19th February 2018 - 23rd April 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

On the Prevalence of the Causes of Insanity among the Ancients

  • D. Hack Tuke
Submit a response

eLetters

No eLetters have been published for this article.

×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *