Music Therapy in Ancient Greece

The evidence of the ancient Greeks' interest in music therapy is scattered through Greek literature from its earliest beginnings. Music was considered to be a magic remedy yet the idea of a connection between musical structures (harmonia, rhythms) and the human constitution had already begun to emerge in the Archaic age and was well established by the second half of the fifth century BCE. Plato is the first source of the notion of musical ethos, according to which music can affect human beings because of its affinities with the soul. It is the Pythagoreans who are usually credited with the 'invention' of the notions of musical ethos and catharsis yet these ideas depend on Neoplatonists such as Porphyry and Iamblichus. Drawing on sources from poetry and philosophy (the early Pythagoreans, Plato, Aristotle and the Neoplatonists); musicology (Aristoxenus and Aristides Quintilianus); and medicine (the Hippocratic Corpus, Herophilus and Galen) this volume considers how the ancient Greeks thought about music and its healing properties for both body and soul.
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