Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/40

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freshed and was well and the evil spirit departed from him." The legendary history of Greece affords numerous instances of madness, but as to the treatment in these early times there is only eloquent silence. The belief in demoniacal possession was prevalent among all primitive peoples, furnishing a clue for such treatment as was anywhere attempted, and this belief, giving way a few centuries later to a partial realization of the physical basis of insanity in the best medical minds, recurs again in the darkness and decadence of the middle ages but magnified and rendered terrible by the ignorance and gross superstitions of the time. In ancient Egypt, demons were exorcized and lunatics purified in temples dedicated to Saturn. The god Khons is said to have answered prayers for the cure of an Asiatic princess. The priests of Egypt, who were also physicians of the day, were not unmindful of the benefit of hygienic measures and combined with them the charm of music and the influence of the beautiful in nature and in art.

No reference is made in the literature of antiquity to places set apart for the care of the insane. In Greece they were sometimes cared for by the priests in the temple of Aesculapius. More often they were detained at home by their friends if dangerous, or allowed, if mild, the freedom of the country unrestrained and unmolested. Many of the soothsayers, sorcerers and sibyls of these days were undoubtedly insane, and the mental condition of some was known to those who sought their offices. Restraining devices were generally used in all violent forms of madness. Herodotus relates that Cleomenes (519-491 B. C), king of Lacedæmon, becoming insane, was imprisoned by his kindred and his feet put in the stocks. While so bound he asked the man left to watch him for a knife. This being refused he began to threaten the man, who, becoming frightened, gave him the knife and . he at once made repeated gashes in his limbs and abdomen until he died.

In the time of Euripides (480-406 B. C.) it would appear from his account of the madness of Hercules that madmen were bound with cords and fastened to the nearest convenient spot. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine (460-377 B. C), described three forms of mental disease and seems to have recognized alcoholic insanity. He was the first to lay stress upon the physical basis of insanity and ridicules the treatment given by the priests. He used phlebotomy, purgatives, emetics, baths, a vegetable diet, exercise, music and travel. He regulated the use of hellebore, a drug held in high esteem from the dawn of history. Writing to Democrates he said: "Hellebore when given to the sane, pours darkness over the mind, but to the insane it is very profitable." This drug was believed to act powerfully in cleansing and invigorating the intellectual faculties. It is said that Carniades, the