Abstract | Love Is in the Hands: Looking for Traces of Affective Relationship Between Human and Object in Votive Epigrams

This paper comprises two parts. The first section will give an insight into my global project on “feelings for objects in ancient Greece”, by bringing together two inanimate objects that arouse strong feelings of empathy and affection: the first one comes from a Hollywood movie (Wilson, the volleyball in Cast Away, by R. Zemeckis), the second one from a Greek tragedy (the bow of Philoctetes, in the play by Sophocles produced in 409 BC). In each case, this affection for an object that is the only companion of the main character’s finds its climactic expression when the object is lost or stolen, painfully separated from the hands of his possessor. This comparison will highlight that contemporary cinema and ancient theater share at least some conventions in the ways in which display of emotions towards objects can be expressed. The second section will then explore whether in Greek society, in a large-scale chronology, the social and cultural parameters regulating votive offerings allowed any representation or display of emotions, when individuals gave up to objects that they dedicated to the gods.