A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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ii               MAGIC HEALING IN THE PRE-CHRISTIAN ERA            67
of the physicians of the Thracian king, Zamolxis. This physician had told Socrates that the cure of a part should not be attempted without the treatment of the whole, and also that no attempt should be made to cure the body without the soul, and therefore, if the head and body are to be well, you must begin by curing the mind : that is the first thing. And he who taught me the cure and the charm added a special direction : " Let no one persuade you to cure the head until he has given you his soul to be cured. For this ", he added, " is the great error of our day in the treatment of the human body, that physicians separate the soul from the body." ' 179
Indeed, Plato anticipated modern psychotherapy with ' I apprehend that if the Greek physicians can cure the body, they do it through the mind', and ' The office of the physician extends equally to the purification of mind and body : to neglect the one is to expose the other to evident peril. It is not only the body that by its sound constitution strengthens the soul, but the well-regulated soul by its authoritative power maintains the body in perfect health.'
The Romans shared the beliefs held by other parts of the ancient world, but their own contribution was small. Various healing cults were imported into Italy, including those of Isis-Serapis, of Asklepios and the Alexandrian Serapium. Incubation was practised in a temple on Tibur Island, which is shaped like a fish. It is now the site of a Christian Church under the patronage of San Bartolomeo. The site was supposed to have been chosen by the god himself. Exorcism remained the prerogative of orientals, and in Josephus I27 we have an account of a performance by a Jew named Eleasar in the presence of the Emperor Vespasian. Chaldean astrologers, magicians from Egypt, begging priests of I sis, all jostled each other in the struggle for existence