There would have been no psychoanalysis without Freud’s obsession with the ancient world.

Just as Freud exhorted us to search out the origins of our desires and identities, so this series of short documentary explores the origins of Freud’s ideas.

Everyone has heard of the Oedipus complex. Freud’s ideas have left a profound impression on the modern cultural imagination. But where did Freud’s Oedipus come from? How did he come up with the phallic mother? How did Freud invent a new way of reading literature and art?

This 3-part video series explores the impact of the ancient world on how Freud developed his ideas.

Freud’s house in Hampstead looks like a very well-to-do English home in the suburbs.

But it is a home which harbours complex, influential and disturbing ideas. Just as Freud sought to uncover the secrets of the bourgeoisie, so we should peer behind the respectable facade of the house in Hampstead village.


Freud repeatedly compared the psychoanalyst to the archaeologist.

Both dug down into hidden depths. Freud could not have conceived of his excavation of the psyche without the glamourous new science of archaeology.


Freud also collected antiquities excavated from the classical lands.

His collection contains some remarkable phallic objects, which Freud used in developing his theories about childhood sexuality.