Volume 10 (2) 2018 – Article (first published on 13 March 2017)
Music as therapy in Greek antiquity
The present study refers to the position of music as therapy in Greek antiquity, examined through the views of philosophers and writers. Since ancient times (3000 BC) there are testimonies about the role of music as a means of healing through the purification of the soul and the body. The most important information is drawn from the texts of philosophers such as Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, and writers who dealt with music in the light of philosophy, such as Aristides Kointilianos, from the work of Porfyrios and Iamblichus, as well as other philosophers and writers. Τhe prominent position of music in antiquity is highlighted as a means of curing mental disorders, as a means of spiritual and physical well-being, as well as of expressing mental states that are both depicted and attributed to music. Such views remain relevant in current days concerning the influence of music on the human psyche.
Greek antiquity, music, therapy, philosophy, Pythagoras, Aristotle, Plato, Aristides Kointilianos
Dr Irene Nikolaou is a graduate of the Department of Music Studies of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (1998). She holds a master’s degree (“Music education in Aristotle’s view”) and a PhD (“The philosophical and pedagogical dimensions of music according to Aristides Kointilianos”) by the Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, University of Ioannina, Greece. She also holds a diploma in piano performance and in composition, awarded with the first and second prizes respectively. Since 2002 she has been working as a Special Educational Personnel (SPD) at the Department of Primary Education of the University of Ioannina, focusing on music education and the conduction of the Department’s Choir. Her research interests focus on music education, philosophy and ancient Greek music.