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Antidepressant Medicine Discovered in Ancient Greek City

antidepressant ancient greek
It seems that even the ancients suffered from depression, as archaeologists located antidepressants at an ancient Greek site. Credit: GreenDragonflyLegs/Wikimedia commons/ CC BY-SA 4.0

It seems that even back in the ancient times people were prone to depression as archaeological finds of antidepressants in the Ancient Greek city of Bathonea, located on the banks of Küçükçekmece Lake in Turkey have revealed.

The city of Bathonea dates back to the 2nd century BC and is located in Istanbul’s Avcilar District.

Antidepressants, heart medicine found in ancient Greek city

Archaeologists have discovered many finds among the ruins of the ancient city, including seven hundred small glass and ceramic bottles containing medicines that are believed to have been used to treat depression and heart disease.

According to archaeological data from Hürriyet Daily News, archaeologists found much more than just the seven hundred bottles, some of which contained antidepressants, at the ancient Greek site, such as an entire laboratory, complete with mortars, pestles and big cookers alongside many spatulas and other medical tools.

The laboratory itself is believed to be from around the 7th century AD or even earlier, and evidence of a massive fire at the site dating between 620 AD and 640 AD has led archeologists to believe that it was most likely destroyed during an attack by the Avar Empire in 626 AD.

The medicine found in the bottles was made from local plants which were also uncovered in the excavation.

The two medicines found were methadone, which is an antidepressant and phenanthrene, which is used for heart disease.

Ancient Greek sites in Turkey

There is an almost uncountable number of ancient Greek and Byzantine archaeological and historical sites in Turkey, many of which attract hundreds of thousands, even millions, of visitors every year.

Many of them are landmarks not to be missed by any travelers to Turkey, and they should especially not be missed by Greek travelers, since they are incontrovertible evidence of their people’s long, rich history and contributions to Western civilization.

Since the time of Homer’s epic “The Iliad,” Troy has served as the stuff of legend and the source of artistic inspiration for millennia. Although at times thought to have been only a mythical place, it was actually proven to be an actual city, located on the mound of Hisarlik in modern-day northwestern Turkey.

The excavation of the site is attributed to German entrepreneur and visionary amateur archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, who began work there in the 1870s. With over 4,000 years of history as a priceless cultural connection point between Eastern and Western civilizations, Troy was named a World Heritage Site in 1998.

Close to the modern city of Selcuk in the Izmir province of western Turkey lies the port city of Ephesus, a remarkably well-preserved example of Greek, Roman and early Christian culture, which has been inhabited since the 10th century BC.

Its Temple of Artemis, which belongs to the Classical Greek era, is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Library of Celsus is a Roman addition, and was designed to serve as a mausoleum for Senator Celsus, who is buried in the crypt below it.

The Christian era is represented in the city in the nearby House of the Virgin Mary. This humble structure has served an important place of pilgrimage for Christians and non-Christians alike since the fifth century. The area is rich with interwoven traditions from all the peoples who have made it their home, and the city was justifiably given World Heritage status in 2015.

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