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March 6, 1981

Mind and Madness in Ancient Greece: The Classical Roots of Modern Psychiatry

JAMA. 1981;245(9):969. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03310340055032

When I was in grade school and high school, and would frequently encounter the word "ibid" in various books, I assumed it was just another one of those Greek stories, like The Odyssey and The Iliad. With that kind of classical education, you can imagine the apprehension with which I approached Mind and Madness in Ancient Greece, an attempt to trace the classical roots of modern psychiatry. The author is a psychoanalyst who has happily joined what are obviously the two great intellectual loves of his life: the Greek classics and a contemporary view of mental illness. He has also succeeded in calming the fears of those of us who felt that such a marriage had no hope of our personal blessing or comprehension or that we might not even stay awake during the ceremony.

This book, by Dr Bennett Simon, communicates the author's enthusiasm for his subject and reading