Hypnotism in ancient times
Egyptians – 2650 B.C.
It is thought that ancient Egyptians used hypnosis, for both medical and religious purposes. A man called Imhotep (who lived from approximately 2650–2600 BC) was a doctor and also Chancellor to the King of Egypt. Documentation of his work was found in an Egyptian tomb from 1500 BC, a Papyrus is on show at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, New York City.
Ancient Greece – 400 B.C.
In ancient Greece, temples were built dedicated to the god of healing – Æsclepius (Aesculapius). The temples were built in the 5th and 4th centuries BC (2500 years ago!). It is thought that in the temples sleeping rituals took place to make people dream, to cure illnesses.
Romans – 400 A.D.
The Romans built healing temples throughout their Empire. The Romans dedicated their Sleep Temples to the god Apollo. In 1828 a Roman Temple was dug up Lydney Park, Gloucestershire, UK. It was build in around 400 BC, it is thought to have been a healing temple (because statues of dogs were found, Romans thought dogs licked wounds clean – yuck!).
Avicenna – 980 A.D.
An ancient account of hypnotism is from Avicenna (Full name: Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Sīnā, (what a mouthful), who lived from 980 – 1037AD). He was a Persian psychologist and physician, and was the earliest to make a distinction between sleep and hypnosis.
The Book of Healing – 1027
In The Book of Healing, published in 1027, Avicenna referred to hypnosis in Arabic as al-Wahm al-Amil, stating that one could create conditions in another person, (hypnotise them), so that they believe the things they are told when they are hypnotised.