Conference: "Medical Understandings of Emotions in Antiquity"

Crete/Patras Ancient Emotions Conference II
Medical understandings of emotions in antiquity

University of Patras, December 8-10 2017

This conference seeks to explore emotions’ significant role in Greek and Roman medical writings. In the medical discourse of antiquity, doctors are usually portrayed as disembodied, rational agents of professional knowledge and, hence, emotionally detached; silencing or suppressing emotions, such as fear, hope or disgust, appears to be integral to an ancient doctor’s self-fashioning and defines the ‘clinical’ conditions under which medical treatment should be conducted, even in the face of a painful illness. Patients, on the other hand, experience a wide range of emotions: depending on the nature of the disease, these emotions appear either as secondary side-effects or, in cases where a psychosomatic condition is at play, as fundamental diagnostic criteria. Yet, scholarship has not paid much attention to emotions in medical literature. Α possible explanation is that modern discussions take the body to account for the totality of physical, cognitive, and affective experience. On this view, even the use of the term ‘emotion’, in the sense of an affective entity that can be construed as independent of the body, may be misleading or anachronistic when applied to ancient medical texts. Yet, a number of medical descriptions invite us to ask if ‘pathological’ affective conditions are the cause or the symptom of illness: is it possible to identify exegetical models in which diseases have psychogenic causes? And if so, on what criteria do medical writers pathologize emotions? A close look at specific illnesses (for instance, melancholia ([Hipp.] Aph. 6.23) suggests that, for all their emphasis on the body, even early medical writers allow that in some conditions emotions serve as agents themselves rather than as manifestations of an underlying pathological agent. Correlatively, one of the most interesting developments in later medicine (e.g. in the works of Rufus of Ephesus and Galen) is that emotions are increasingly identified as ‘causes’ of diseases, while at the same time affects seem to assume a predominant role in the course of therapy. A careful assessment of this increased role of emotions can contribute, among other things, to a better understanding of mental illness in antiquity, as the latter gradually develops from a purely bodily condition with psychological side-effects to a pathological entity that is predominantly defined by its affective, as well as mental, symptoms. 

On a different level, ancient literature and philosophy frequently identify emotional behaviour with madness. This is clearly manifested in the conceptual metaphors employed by ancient (and modern) speakers to disclose or describe emotional experience: anger and erotic love, for example, are typically qualified as diseases that plague the agent. Disease metaphors emphasize the uncontrollability of emotional experience and its destructive impact on the agent, thereby reflecting cultural modes of understanding emotions. We, therefore, wish to pin down the differences, if any, between instances where emotions are conceived of as diseases and instances in which emotions are literally ‘pathologized’ (e.g. in ancient ethics). Finally, certain emotions seem to be more open to pathological interpretation than others. This should explain, for instance, why ‘madness’ (consisting of emotional outbursts) is outlined more clearly in medical texts (and crops up more often as a medical metaphor in literary texts) than e.g. melancholia, whose symptomatic manifestation involves more ‘inward’ affects, such as fear and sadness.

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(Photo: "Empty Boardroom" by Reynermedia, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

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By Adrienne K.H. Rose

In her monthly column, Prof. Adrienne K.H. Rose explores issues surrounding translation within Classics. In her first edition, she addresses the challenges of picking the “right” Catullus translation. What does “right” even mean when choosing a translation for class?

Choosing the “right” translation of any Classical author for the classroom is a challenge for most teachers. What is “right” can often be dependent upon factors such as availability and pricing, particularly for students with a textbook budget. For a popular, much-translated poet like Catullus there is a wealth of English-language translations to choose from. Catullus is antiquity’s most modern poet.

His work is raunchy, moody, turbulently charged political and social commentary – my advanced Latin students called him “emo”—his carmina akin to unfiltered Facebook status updates perhaps better left unposted. At the same time they’re fastidious metrically, driven by Hellenic fascination (Grecomania?), and fixated by core human emotions and needs: internal conflict, affection, lust, mourning, and spite. Because Catullus is so contemporary, translations reinvent his persona anew with updated, contemporary language and cultural references.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 02/23/2018 - 5:21am by Adrienne K.H. Rose.
St Andrews Graduate Conference in Ancient Philosophy 2018, on:
 
Teleology, Intelligence and Life in the Platonic and Aristotelian Tradition
 
Teleology plays a central role in both Plato’s and Aristotle’s philosophy. It is essential in particular for their cosmological views and their conceptions of intelligence (nous) and life. We are interested in a deeper understanding of both Plato’s and Aristotle’s approach to teleology in all their aspects and the principal differences between them. We invite graduate students to submit high-quality papers on any topic related to teleology within the Platonic or Aristotelian tradition, broadly construed, in antiquity.
 
 Keynote Speakers:
View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 02/22/2018 - 2:30pm by Erik Shell.

The Organizer Refereed Panel "Thirty Years of the Jeweled Style" has extended its deadline for abstract submission to March 5th.

See the original CFP here: https://classicalstudies.org/annual-meeting/2017/150/call-abstracts-thir...

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(Photo: "Handwritten" by A. Birkan, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:29am by Erik Shell.

Τὰ μεταξύ - Knowing where to draw the line: Intermediates and Dianoia in Plato

Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College
5353 Parkside Drive
Jupiter, FL 33458

We read in Aristotle’s Metaphysics that Plato regarded mathematical objects as intermediate between forms and particulars (987b14-18). Nowhere in the dialogues does Socrates talk explicitly about these “intermediates,” although it could be argued that there are several texts in which the intermediates are implied. Even if the intermediates were implied, however, it is not at all clear that they match up with the account that Aristotle gives us. The purpose of this event is to reconsider the evidence for and against the intermediates in the Platonic dialogues. Presentations on the ontological status of the objects of dianoia in Plato will be included.

Friday morning until early evening, we will discuss what Aristotle says in his Metaphysics, hear arguments about the implications of his claims and discuss the possibility of intermediates in the Phaedo. Saturday morning until early afternoon there will be presentations of papers and outlines of ideas regarding the possible intermediates in Plato’s Republic and the later dialogues as well as the ontological status of the objects of dianoia.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Thu, 02/22/2018 - 10:43am by Erik Shell.

NEW APPROACHES TO THE ANCIENT GRECO-ROMAN MEDITERRANEAN

A GRADUATE SYMPOSIUM

September 28 – 30, 2018

The Program in Classical and Medieval Studies at Bates College invites papers on any topic related to new approaches to the cultures of the ancient Greco-Roman Mediterranean, for a day-long graduate symposium showcasing the work of emerging scholars (recent PhD or ABD) from historically underrepresented groups.

The symposium will showcase new work by individuals from underrepresented groups in the professoriate, specifically defined as including African Americans, Alaska Natives, Arab Americans, Asian Americans, Latinx, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 02/20/2018 - 2:08pm by Erik Shell.

(Originally posted on Facebook by the Vergilian Society by Jim O'Hara)

The Vergilian Society notes with sadness the passing of Professor Eleanor Winsor Leach of the University of Indiana, who served the Society as a trustee in 1978-83 and as second and then first vice-president in 1989-92. Vergilians learned much from her articles on the Eclogues, Georgics, and Aeneid, her landmark 1974 book on the Eclogues, her two major studies on the ties that link Roman literature, art, and society, and her many many articles on Latin poetry and painting and their reception. Both her many students, and all those of us who learned from her writings, will carry on her work and her memory.

(From Matthew Christ)

The Department of Classical Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, is very sorry to report that Eleanor W. Leach died on Friday, February 16, at the age of 80. Ellie will be sorely missed by all of us; it was characteristic of her strong spirit and commitment that she remained active as teacher and scholar up until the very end. We will circulate information concerning a service in her memory as soon as this is available.

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View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Tue, 02/20/2018 - 1:29pm by Erik Shell.

By Roger Bagnall

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 02/19/2018 - 7:40pm by .
150th Meeting Logo

Members can click here to access our online program system for 2019 Annual Meeting submissions, affiliated group charters, and proposals for organizer-refereed panels for 2020.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 02/19/2018 - 6:56am by Helen Cullyer.

by  Erich Gruen

What put me on the path to Classics? No single event, no flash of lightning, no sudden illumination. Nor was it a gradual move, an increasing affection for a subject that slowly grew on me as I matured, a route that became more distinct and compelling as years passed. It is easy to construct such a smooth course toward an inevitable outcome in retrospect. But that is not how it happened.

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 02/15/2018 - 10:10pm by Wells Hansen.
Piazza Fountain

(From the Cornell Alumni Magazine)

A former translator of the Pope's messages into Latin has joined the Cornell faculty to spread the practice of spoken Latin in the classroom.

"He took students on forays around campus to translate the Latin incorporated in maps and artwork; had them haggle with each other in ersatz marketplaces; studied the Latin mottos on state seals; cast them in a mock trial for shoplifting; and more."

You can read the full article here.

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(Photo: "Piazza San Pietro Fountain" by Dennis Jarvis, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 02/15/2018 - 11:04am by Erik Shell.

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