Intoxication in the Ancient Greek and Roman World considers the psychotropic plants used in the ancient world and ancient attitudes towards intoxication. Alan Sumler surveys primary Greek and Roman sources for noteworthy mentions of ancient intoxicants like hellebore, mandrake, deadly nightshade, thorn apple, opium poppy, cannabis, wine, and other substances and reveals how psychoactive drugs were used in ancient Greek and Roman religion, medicine, magic, artistic inspiration, and recreation. Interpreted through the lens of modern-day scholarship from Classics, philosophy, and ethnobotany, the primary sources illuminate how commonplace psychotropic plants and drugs were in the ancient Greek and Roman world and—given different contexts for psychotropic drug usage—what attitudes these societies held about the appropriateness of intoxication.
Alan Sumler teaches Latin at the University of Colorado, Denver.
Chapter 1: Mythological Drugs
Chapter 2: Philosophical Drugs
Chapter 3: Hellebore
Chapter 4: Mandrake
Chapter 5: Henbane, Hemlock, Opium, Darnel, Cannabis, Frankincense, and Myrrh
Chapter 6: Wine
Chapter 7: Other Settings of Intoxication and Modern Biotech Applications