Iliad and Odyssey are two major literary sources on various phenomena related to human experienceand knowledge. In the Odyssey we find references to the nepenthes, a mythical substancewhich can change the mood, causing sorrow and anger to be forgotten. We can not identify it withany of the well known substances that have these properties, such as opium from the opium poppy,the Egyptian kyfi or cannabis in the Scythians. Ancient Greeks used various anxiolytic, hypnotic andnarcotic substances, but phenomena of addiction or withdrawal are not clearly described, with theexception of wine. Wine was used to lighten peoples minds and hearts, as well as a vehicle for drugs.Many ancient sources describe the negative effects of wine abuse. The study of ancient texts, fromHomer’s epics to Christian literature, allows a fundamental insight into the influence of psychotropicsubstances and alcohol on the human psyche.

Key words: Nepenthes, Homer’s epics, ancient greek literature, sorrow, affective disorders, psychotropicsubstances, alcohol.

F.Ι. Kakridis (page 17) - Full article (Greek)