From the ancient times, there are three basic approaches for the interpretation of the different psychic phenomena: the organic, the psychological, and the sacred approach. The sacred approach forms the primordial foundation for any psychopathological development, innate to the prelogical human mind. Until the second millennium B.C., the Great Mother ruled the Universe and shamans cured the different mental disorders. But, around 1500 B.C., the predominance of the Hellenic civilization over the Pelasgic brought great changes in the theological and psychopathological fields. The Hellenes eliminated the cult of the Great Mother and worshiped Dias, a male deity, the father of gods and humans. With the Father's help and divinatory powers, the warrior-hero made diagnoses and found the right therapies for mental illness; in this way, sacerdotal psychiatry was born.
The theme of madness as a divine punishment for wicked deeds can be seen in the work of the tragedians Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides and the contemporary of the tragedians, the historian Herodotus. Tragedies contain some of the most vivid descriptions of insanity in ancient literature, so vivid that the writers must have made personal observations of the clinical presentation of insanity . This tragic divine madness is considered to be caused by a god or gods, usually as a punishment for wicked or impious action.
One well-known manifestation of divine madness in ancient Greece was in the cult of the Maenads, the female followers of Dionysus. However, little is known about their rituals; the famous depiction of the cult in Euripides' play The Bacchae cannot be considered historically accurate. 2b1af7f3a8