Compassion in the Making: Lexicographic Explorations in Judeo-Hellenistic Literature

Thucydides 1.89-118: A Multi-layer Treebank

Citation with persistent identifier: Mambrini, Francesco. “Thucydides 1.89-118: A Multi-layer Treebank.” CHS Research Bulletin 1, no. 2 (2013). Introduction §1  Digital annotated corpora are nowadays an indispensable resource for linguistic studies. Since the creation of the first “treebanks” (as the collections that embed a word-by-word morphological and syntactical analysis are called), these resources have been fruitfully employed in a broad spectrum of contexts. The applications range from corpus-based studies on… Read more

Knowing Characters and Knowing Authors: “Poetic Knowledge” in Ancient Greece and Early China

Citation with persistent identifier: Zhang, Wei. “Knowing Characters and Knowing Authors: ‘Poetic Knowledge’ in Ancient Greece and Early China.” CHS Research Bulletin 1, no. 2 (2013). §1  Does poetry impart a special knowledge to its audience, a form of knowledge with its own intrinsic values and not to be measured by any external criteria? Is there any part of reality to which access can be gained only in poetry?… Read more

Abstract–Matters of Trust: Associations and Social Capital in Roman Egypt

Concerns regarding the untrustworthy nature of merchants and craftsmen commonly expressed by classical authors, who instead championed agriculture for its security and as a pursuit conducive to developing proper decorum, have helped frame our understanding of the ancient economy. Cicero’s often quoted opinions on craftsmen, merchants, and acceptable economic activity outlined in the first book of his De Officiis have proven particularly influential. Moses Finley considered the elite ideology espoused… Read more

Abstract–The Oresteia and Waterloo

Victor Hugo says that Les Misérables is “a hydra at the beginning; an angel at the end.”  Taking the theme of transformation from something deadly and devious into something kindly and benevolent, this paper investigates how two contemporaneous nineteenth-century authors of similar background, though they do not know each other, draw on the conventions of Greek tragedy in their novels.  W.M. Thackeray in Vanity Fair and Victor Hugo in Les… Read more

Abstract–Dionysos, Divine Space and Dopamine: A Cognitive Approach to the Greek Theatre

The Sanctuary of Dionysos Eleuthereus on the south east slope of the Acropolis in Athens and the theatron that was erected above it, was the major and performance venue for fifth century Athenian drama and it is quite possible that almost every play from that period was created specifically for this space. I suggest that we can learn a great deal more about the original reception of the plays in… Read more

Domination and Legitimacy in Early Hellenistic Basileia: The Rise of Self-Proclaimed Kings

Citation with persistent identifier: Modanez de Sant Anna, Henrique. “Domination and Legitimacy in Early Hellenistic Basileia: The Rise of Self-Proclaimed Kings.” CHS Research Bulletin 1, no. 2 (2013). Introduction §1  In principle, one might be reluctant to apply Weberian theory to understanding the ancient world since that would mean putting more emphasis on modern ideal categories than on ancient evidence. Such a “sociological approach” would also be problematic due to… Read more

Abstract–The Tomb Below the Ostrusha Mound and the Painted Prosopa Within the Central Boxes of the Ceiling: Proposal for a New Reading

The presentation reviews some figurative paintings inside boxes that adorned the ceiling of the thalamos within the so-called tomb-Mound Ostrusha, found in ancient territories corresponding to present-day Bulgaria. It constitutes unquestionably one of most interesting witnesses of understanding Thracian artistic, social and funeral contexts during the early Hellenistic period. My proposal for a new reading of the Ostrusha painted prosopa completely revises the previous interpretations. It introduces innovative perspectives of… Read more

Abstract–Art in transition: Damophon of Messene in the Ionian coast of Greece

This paper consists of a preliminary reassessment of the activity and chronology of the Messenian sculptor Damophon, on the basis of three specific episodes of his career. A new inscription from the Asklepieion of Butrint and two honorary decrees issued for the sculptor by the cities of Leukas and Kranioi (Kephallenia) confirm that he was active in the Ionian coast of Greece in the 2nd century BC. Historical and archaeological… Read more

Abstract–Compassion in the Making: Lexicographic Explorations in Judeo-Hellenistic Literature

Even compassion has a history. The Greek word συμπάθεια, originally a scientific term referring to an affinity between bodies, did not take on an emotional meaning before the second century BCE. Around the same time, in Jewish texts, terms constructed on the noun σπλάγχνα, the “inner parts” or “entrails,” were invested with a new meaning, similar to what we now call “compassion.” This paper constitutes the lexicographic side of a… Read more

Abstract–Domination and Legitimacy in Early Hellenistic Basileia: The Rise of Self-Proclaimed Kings

When I first started this research I was thinking about identifying different ideal types of Hellenistic kings based on the way they exercised power. It soon became clear that they should all be treated as “charismatic leaders” in a Weberian sense, as suggested by Gehrke in his Der siegreiche König (1982). Moreover, Gehrke’s idea of the existence in Hellenistic kingship of a charisma inheritable through the establishment of a dynastic… Read more

Abstract–Gender, Genre, and Truth in Pindar: Three Case Studies

This paper explores three deceptive and seductive female figures in Pindar’s myths: the Hera-cloud in Pythian 2, Koronis in Pythian 3, and Hippolyta in Nemean 5. The Hera-cloud is created by Zeus to deceive Ixion and to mark the end of the guest-friendship between Ixion and Zeus; thus, she represents the deception excluded from a relationship based on mutual respect and trust. Likewise, Koronis engages in a sexual relationship with… Read more

Abstract–Paralia and Mesogeia: 'Coastalness' and 'Inlandness' in the Ancient Greek World

Scholarship has in the past few years dealt more systematically with connectivity and interaction in the ancient Mediterranean and in the Greek world, especially in terms of exchange and networks within the framework of maritime connectivity. Through the study of the occurrence and employ of the terms paralia and mesogeia, as well as of other words expressing the ideas of ‘coastal’ and ‘inland’ in textual sources, this paper explores ancient… Read more

Abstract–Knowing Characters and Knowing Authors: “Poetic Knowledge” in Ancient Greece and Early China

This essay submits the earliest articulation of explicit poetics in ancient Greece and ancient China to a comparative study, with special focus on the formulation of the notion of “poetic knowledge” in each tradition. Placed in their respective cultural process, explicit poetics can be seen as the outcome of philosophical confrontation with poetry and its potentially intractable experience in rational attempts to subsume it under a philosophical mode of knowing.… Read more

Abstract–Ages of Athletes: Generational Decline in Philostratus’ Gymnasticus and Archaic Greek Poetry

This paper examines the organization of athletic history in Philostratus’ Gymnasticus. In the introduction to the Gymnasticus, Philostratus presents a diachronic model of physical decline in athletes and athletic training, from Greek mythic heroes such as Herakles to the poor performance and appearance of athletes in Philostratus’ own time (Gymnasticus 1 [K261.15-262.2]). Philostratus’ history, however, is not just an expression of nostalgic desire for a bygone era. Rather, this diachronic… Read more

Abstract–The city of late Hellenistic Delos and the integration of economic activities in the domestic sphere

Delos underwent a period of rapid economic development after 167 BCE, when the Romans put the island under Athenian dominion and turned it into a commercial base connecting the eastern and western Mediterranean. Due to its advantageous geographical position in the center of the Cyclades, Delos attracted traders from Greece, Macedonia, and the Hellenistic East as well as dealers from Rome. Between 167 BCE and the sacks of 88 and… Read more

Abstract–Thucydides 1.89-118: A Multi-Layer Treebank

This paper presents the first steps toward the enhancement of the available annotated corpora of Ancient Greek texts with annotation on semantic and pragmatic aspects. In particular, we will draw from the experience of the Prague Dependency Treebank of Czech and we will introduce the three-layer annotation schema used by that project. The problems raised by the annotation of Thucydides 1.89-118 will be presented with two examples. Read more

Abstract–Public slaves, politics and expertise in classical Athens

Public slavery was an institution common to most Greek cities during the classical and hellenistic periods. From the Homeric dêmiourgos to the scribes of VIth-century Crete, the archaic period abounds with examples of skilled technicians who, as such, were excluded from the political community. Despite such antecedents, the advent of public slavery can not be dissociated from the introduction of chattel slavery in the late archaic period. In classical Athens,… Read more

Research Symposium, Spring 2013

On April 26, 2013, thirteen fellows will present their research to an audience of faculty, students, and senior fellows at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, DC. The proceedings from this symposium will published as Volume 1, Issue 2 of the CHS Research Bulletin e-journal. Join us online for the live webcast, available at rtsp:// and viewable with VLC, RealPlayer, or Quicktime. Send your comments and questions for the speakers via Facebook or e-mail. All times below are Eastern Daylight Time.… Read more

Domination and Legitimacy in Hellenistic Monarchy: some remarks, part 2

Antiochus I rose to the throne in the east from a relatively established position; in fact, he had been co-ruler since 292, eleven years before the assassination of his father. This was an innovation in the light of experience (Shipley 2000: 287), an intelligent strategy to avoid the division of the kingdom because of lack of legitimacy. In Egypt, Ptolemy II, who may have been inciting a revolt involving parts… Read more

Deep into the Meaning: Tectogrammatical annotation of Ancient Greek

Fig. 1: A modern representation of the Agamemnon, Siracusa (Italy). Copyright E. Schembri At line 1100 of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, after Cassandra’s visions have begun to unfold progressively, the murderous plot that is about to be accomplished against the king is hinted at for the first time. The captive seer cries in anguish: ἰὼ πόποι, τί ποτε μήδεται; Cassandra’s question is thus translated by Sommerstein (2008, which I have consulted for… Read more

The Hadron Collider Quest in Antiquity

What is there at the bedrock of reality? What are the ultimate building blocks out of which everything else is constituted? Are they things (objects, particles), or are they activities of some sort? Or is there something else, even more fundamental than they are?  These questions fascinated and challenged the ancients as much as they challenge and fascinate us. Yet, there is evidence that the ancients conceived of the building… Read more

Aeschylean Tragedy, Thackeray, and Hugo

William Makepeace Thackeray incorporates three types of reference to the Trojan War in Vanity Fair.[1]  The first presents the elements of the story included in Aeschylus’ Agamemnon: the sacrifice of Iphigeneia sculpted and surmounting “a great French clock”  (Ch. 13, 129);[2] the fighting of the war itself encapsulated in the reflection that “from the story of Troy down to to-day, poetry has always chosen a soldier for a hero” as… Read more

On Sublimating the Emotions: Fear in Aeschylus’ Eumenides

In my first post, I discussed Thucydides’ vision for cultivating sensitive reason and sensible emotion in order to equip the dêmos for competent collective action. Here I turn to Aeschylus’ Eumenides that famously dramatizes the foundation of the Areopagus as the first criminal court in Athens and examine the role of emotions in the new system of criminal justice. The foundation of the Areopagus and the eventual reconciliation of the… Read more

We're trying out a new look. 🎉 Let us know what you think! Hide.