Image: Confession inscription from Lydia: A frightened thief returns a stolen garment (TAM V.1.159)

Emotions influence social relations; consequently, they are socially relevant, subject to scrutiny, judgment, and normative intervention. The manifestation, perception and treatment of emotions are continually influenced by cultural and social changes. This project studies the parameters, which influenced the representation of emotions in texts and images in Greece, the Greek colonies, and the Hellenized areas from the first appearance of alphabetical sources to the establishment of Christianity (from the eighth century BCE to the early sixth century CE).

The project pursues the following objectives: to contribute to a more reliable, nuanced, and comprehensive history of emotions in the Greek world; to increase awareness of the importance of emotions in Classical studies; to make documentary sources accessible to scholars working on the history of emotions and, more generally, on the history of mentality; to contribute to the transdisciplinary study of emotions through the presentation of paradigms from Classical antiquity; and to enhance the dialogue between historical, social, and natural sciences.

Emotions in the Classical world have been primarily studied in the light of their representation in literature and art. Such studies have provided important insights; yet, they are based on works primarily created in a few major urban centres, almost exclusively by educated men of a higher status. This project is based on an analysis of documentary sources (inscriptions and papyri), which have not been systematically collected and studied in connection with this subject, although they provide abundant, diverse, and representative evidence. As compared to literature and art, inscriptions and papyri represent a wide range of social strata and age-classes, originate in both genders, and are widely disseminated over time and space. These sources are analysed both diachronically (history of particular emotions) and synchronically (manifestations of emotions in defined historical contexts). Selected literary sources and archaeological material are also taken into consideration.

The project employs research associates in papyrology, epigraphy, archaeology, and philology as well graduate research assistants (team; jobs and scholarships). Occasional workshops serve the exchange between the research team and other scholars (news and events). In 2012-2013 the project will provide funds in order to relieve scholars from their teaching duties and allow them to cooperate as Senior Researchers in the analysis and synthesis (jobs and scholarships).

Download a detailed description of the project.
Confession inscription from Lydia: A frightened thief returns a stolen garment (TAM V.1.159)