Theia mania

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Theia mania (Ancient Greek: θεία μανία) is a term used by Plato and his protagonist Socrates to describe a condition of "divine madness" (unusual behavior attributed to the intervention of a god) in the Platonic dialogue Phaedrus.[1] In this work, dating from around 370 BC, Socrates' character describes this state of divine inspiration as follows:

"In such families that accumulated vast wealth were found dire plagues and afflictions of the soul, for which mania devised a remedy, inasmuch as the same was a gift from God, if only to be rightly frenzied and possessed, using proper atonement rituals." [2]

Socrates expounds a similar concept in Plato's Ion.[3]

The poet Virgil, in his Aeneid, describes the Delphian priestess (Pythia) as prophesying in a frenzied state:

"...neither her face nor hue went untransformed; Her breast heaved; her wild heart grew large with passion. Taller to their eyes, sounding no longer mortal, she prophesied what was inspired from The God breathing near, uttering words not to be ignored."[citation needed]

In the classical world, the phenomenon of "love at first sight" was understood within the context of a more general conception of passionate love, a kind of madness or, as the Greeks put it, theia mania ("madness from the gods").[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Plato, Phaedrus, 256b, 244-255.
  2. ^ Plato, Phaedrus, 244d, 244d-244e.
  3. ^ See the article on the Ion for references.
  4. ^ Tallis, Frank (February 2005). "Crazy for You". The Psychologist 18 (2).