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Pity and Power in Ancient Athens
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  • Page extent: 370 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.71 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 177/.7
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: DF289 .P56 2005
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Sympathy--Greece--Athens--History--To 10
    • Athens (Greece)--Civilization

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521845526 | ISBN-10: 0521845521)

Ancient Athenians resemble modern Americans in their moral discomfort with empire. Athenians had power and used it ruthlessly, but the infliction of suffering did not mesh well with their civic self-image. Embracing the concepts of democracy and freedom, they proudly pitted themselves against tyranny and oppression, but in practice they were capable of being tyrannical. Pity and Power in Ancient Athens argues that the exercise of power in democratic Athens, especially during its brief fifth-century empire, raised troubling questions about the alleviation and infliction of suffering, and pity emerged as a topic in Athenian culture at this time. The ten essays collectively examine the role of pity in the literature, art, and society of classical Athens by analysing evidence from tragedy, philosophy, historiography, epic, oratory, vase painting, sculpture, and medical writings.

• Interdisciplinary collection of essays • Central issue has contemporary relevance • Contributes not merely to the social and cultural history of Athens, but to the history of emotion


1. The nature of pity Rachel Hall Sternberg; 2. Pity and politics David Konstan; 3. The pitiers and the pitied in Herodotus and Thucydides Donald Lateiner; 4. A generous city: pity in Athenian oratory and tragedy; 5. Athenian tragedy: an education in pity James F. Johnson and Douglas C. Clapp; 6. Engendering the tragic Theates: pity, power, and spectacle in Sophocles' Trachiniae Thomas M. Falkner; 7. Pity in classical Athenian vase painting John H. Oakley; 8. The civic art of pity Aileen Ajootian; 9. A crying shame: pitying the sick in the Hippocratic corpus and Greek tragedy Jennifer Clarke Kosak; 10. Pity in Plutarch Christopher Pelling.


Review of the hardback: 'This is a fascinating and thought-provoking study of an unusual topic.' CA News

Review of the hardback: '… it brings together experts is this field to give a broad range of views on the subject … an excellent introduction to the study of accient emotions and pity in particular … a very worthwhile contribution to the study of ancient emotions.' Journal of Classics Teaching


Rachel Hall Sternberg, David Konstan, Donald Lateiner, James F. Johnson, Douglas C. Clapp, Thomas M. Falkner, John H. Oakley, Aileen Ajootian, Jennifer Clarke Kosak, Christopher Pelling

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