This article examines the way the ancient Greeks conceived of the emotions. Special attention is paid to the differences between classical Greek and modern English conceptions, in line with the view that culture plays a significant role in shaping the way emotions are experienced. The analysis draws on ancient Greek literature, from Homer’sIliadto tragedy, comedy, and lyric poetry, as well as on historical and philosophical works by Aristotle and Xenophon. Also considered are changes in the way the emotions are understood in early Christian and later texts, with occasional reference to Latin adaptations. In particular, the emotions of pity, anger, fear, love, and jealousy are examined in detail.
Paul W. Kroll
The importance and influence of anthologies during the Tang dynasty is evident in their increasing numbers and broad variety. The names of over a hundred Tang anthologies are known, and over a score have been preserved in whole or part. These include general anthologies of verse and prose, some conceived of as sequels to pre-Tang anthologies, as well as anthologies devoted only to verse, to choice extracts, or to particular periods or occasions, particular groups of writers, particular topics, or even particular areas from which writers hailed. They range in size from those with barely two dozen compositions to those containing a thousand or more.
Stephen J. Harrison
This chapter considers the biography, literary career, and literary output of the second-century Platonizing Latin writer Apuleius, born in Roman North Africa in the 120s ce and recorded as active in Carthage and Africa Proconsularis in the late 150s and 160s. In particular, it examines the key features of his two most important surviving works, the Apologia or Pro Se De Magia, a forensic oration of self-defense against charges of magic and other offences, delivered in the late 150s in court at Sabathra, and the Metamorphoses or Golden Ass, a spectacular picaresque fiction concerning the adventures of the young Greek Lucius, who is metamorphosed into a donkey but later becomes an official in the cults of Isis and Osiris. It is shown overall that Apuleius’s literary profile matches those of contemporary Greek sophists and can be usefully described as sophistic.
J. R. Morgan
This chapter discusses the novels of Chariton and Xenophon of Ephesus. Both are engaged with central concerns of the Second Sophistic, in particular that of elite Greek identity. Chariton’s novel (composed in the second century and connected with the sophist Dionysius of Miletus) demonstrates the same empathetic recreation of the classical past as sophistic declamation, and defines the Greekness of his protagonists in antithesis to a Persia configured to enable the exploration of the contemporary accommodation of the Greek elite to Rome. In his vision, paideia is a central constituent of Hellenic identity, enacted through an important third character, who represents an older erotic paradigm in contrast to the romantic heroes. Xenophon’s novel (probably an epitome), on the other hand, uses a contemporary setting to explore the nightmare of the loss of social status and control over one’s own person.
The Chinese script is one of the major writing systems of the world and has over three thousand years of recorded history. Native accounts of its origin have been extremely influential and remain part of the general discourse, even though newly discovered archaeological materials in many cases challenge the traditional view. The earliest known examples of Chinese characters survive on oracle bones, and these are essentially ancestral to all modern forms of written Chinese, even though the script went through great changes during the following millennia. One of the most important such changes was the Qin-Han transition from the scripts of the Warring States period to that of the dynastic era. In the medieval period, the Chinese script was adopted for other languages in East and Central Asia, and in some cases was modified to create new Sinoform scripts (e.g., Khitan, Jurchen, and Tangut).
The tradition of classical studies in China after the fall of the Han continued to flourish, though in changing forms from the period of division through the end of the Tang dynasty. The ongoing relevance of the Classics and the Masters Texts to both the educational and institutional systems of successive dynasties guaranteed that elites would sustain a heritage of scholarship and transmit commentaries over generations. And yet the classicist tradition was not merely a static corpus of commentary on “dead” texts but rather a dynamic and stimulating body of knowledge that inspired new literary compositions, philosophical reflection, and ultimately new styles of writing, both poetry and prose. This chapter traces the most important classicist revivals and the most prolific and influential writers in the classicist tradition, including authors such as Yuan Jie, Li Hua, Han Yu, Bai Juyi, and others.
Each of the texts and commentarial traditions known as the “Confucian” classics derives ultimately from Zhou dynasty models for speech and ritual behavior. Shijing (Classic of Poetry) includes both court liturgy and local popular song, Shangshu (Documents Classic) gathers speeches attributed to early rulers, Chunqiu (Spring and Autumn Anna ls) assembles historical accounts and interpretations, the Classics on ritual (li) addresses fine points of ceremony and political order, and Yijing (Classic of Changes) offers a guide to divination and the connections between the natural and human worlds. Conceived of as a set and linked over time to the teachings of Confucius, the canon was adopted during the Han dynasty as the prime expression of China’s ideals for morality, education, administrative practice, and governance. As a rich literary corpus that had implicit legitimacy, the classics offered models both for particular literary styles and for an enduring order of textual expression and interpretation.
Ji, “collection,” is the last of the four-part Chinese bibliographical scheme after “Classics,” “Histories,” and “Masters.” Referring to collections of literary works, it is central to our understanding of the premodern Chinese conception of literature. This chapter focuses on bieji (literary collections by individual authors) and introduces the fundamental issues regarding the formation and content of a literary collection. It discusses when the term bieji first appeared, and what the early collections were; how a literary collection was constituted, circulated, transmitted, and reconstituted; what genres a literary collection might include, and more important, exclude; and in what ways a bieji is important to a historicized understanding of what constituted “literature” in the Middle Period. The coda briefly discusses the rebuilding of the lost and scattered medieval literary collections and the proliferation of specialized collections in the Song and beyond.
This chapter explores the practicalities of empire and colonialism as these affected the conditions of cultural production under Roman rule and adumbrates contours of enquiry within several such domains. It commences with general remarks on the fit between ancient empire as a political form and the regular features of early modern and modern experience that gave rise to contemporary postcolonial theory. Subsequent sections explore the metropolitan desire for knowledge pursuant to governance; the responses that this desire generated in colonial contexts, in both conduct and self-understanding; and the lingering power of imperial knowledge in ancient and modern scholarship. The essay closes by enquiring into nature of elite cultural production under Rome, asking how imperial were the empire’s elites and how metropolitan were their tastes.
Tamara T. Chin
This chapter gives a chronological sketch of China’s past as a real and imagined part of a culturally larger history. It addresses the significance of the historiographic paradigms of colonization and Sinicization, highlighting the literary genres and frontier contexts that complicate linear narratives of empire and literary practice. The final section on the “Polyscriptic Northwest” introduces the diversity of literatures in foreign scripts and languages that flourished alongside Literary Chinese texts in eastern Central Asia (China’s Northwest). Throughout the first millennium ce, mass migration across the politically polycentric Northwest led to different practices of acculturation. This included the adoption of non-Chinese and Chinese writing for religious and secular purposes. Given the traditional prestige of writing in China as a signifier of civilization (wen), this encounter with foreign (non-Sinographic) scripts, and not simply foreign languages, marks a watershed; hence the heuristic emphasis here on “polyscriptic” rather than multilingual.
What are the words and phrases used to designate authorship in classical Chinese literature? What are the anecdotes and stories told to emblematize or dramatize the contexts and meanings of authorship? How does the attribution to or the invention of an author define or control the meanings of a text? How do markers of authorial presence function in a text? How does genre shape authorial voice? How do anonymous texts generate authors? How do images of authors (as distinct from historical actors) produce texts? Many scholars believe that authorship becomes increasingly individualistic and self-conscious for the period covered by this volume. How valid is this historical trajectory? In exploring these questions, this chapter examines notions of orality, textual authority, textual transmission, patronage, commentary, editorial labor, forgery, anonymity, originality, imitation, and collective authorship.
Coptic literature was born together with the Coptic language in Roman Egypt, around the third century, inside the Christian Church. It developed following the exigencies of the Church, together with a parallel literature in Greek: after biblical translations, and Gnosticizing (and Manichaean) treatises, homilies, canons, historical, and monastic texts were produced. After the Chalcedonian crisis, Coptic texts acquired a new autonomy, replacing Greek texts and supporting the life of the anti-Chalcedonian Church.
Traditional Chinese poetics grew out of hermeneutic tendencies associated with the Shijing, as commentators linked the poems to specific personal responses to historical events. This led to the valorization of self-expression and the obligation to “read” the author behind the text. While this remained a basic assumption, how it was interpreted and applied changed over time. In the pre-Tang era, the growth of court culture and the development of self-conscious literary history produced a series of important texts that addressed the interactions of literary texts with the polity; the evolution of genres and their relationship to personality; metaphysical sources for the imagination; and the historical development of literary forms and literary influence. In the Tang, the popularity of technical manuals demonstrates the increasing importance of shi composition. The ninth century saw the rise of theories that emphasized individual self-expression and authenticity in presentation. These views would come to dominate poetics.
Sino-Japanese literature stands out among the Chinese-style literatures of East Asia for the wealth of texts preserved from the early period, its complex symbiosis with a flourishing vernacular tradition, and its pervasive reliance on gloss-reading techniques of Chinese texts (kundoku). These techniques allowed the transformation of Chinese texts into Japanese sound, syntax, and morphology and enabled a distinctive linguistic and creative distance from continental literary production. This chapter surveys the literary culture and production of Early Japan (Asuka, Nara and Heian Periods, seventh through twelfth centuries). After introducing the debates about the varied nomenclature of the corpus of “Sino-Japanese Literature” (kanbun; also called Japanese Literature in Chinese), it sketches the contexts of the emergence of Sino-Japanese textual culture and literature in Japan and gives an overview of major texts in their cultural context. It concludes with reflections on what students of China can learn from Sino-Japanese Literature.
Ever since the May Fourth Movement of the 1920s, scholars of Chinese literary history have deployed a distinction between elite literature and popular literature, claiming that the “dead” elite literature was only revitalized by its constant borrowings from the language, subjects, and forms of popular literature. This chapter questions this simplistic binary, which depends on the exclusive identification of “the popular” with the vernacular and oral transmission, problematic propositions in both cases. It argues that the oral literature of the first millennium bce and the first millennium is irretrievably lost. Before the emergence of a mature print culture, sharp distinctions between elite and popular culture are hard to draw, and in China, the vernacular was not a different language but at the most a different register within a shared literary culture.
This article provides an overview of Etruscan literature. It considers how the Greek innovations of myth and writing came into Etruria, how the Etruscans viewed early writing as magical, and how Etruscan culture developed its own identity. It discusses the Etruscan language, written documents, and inscriptions, as well as religious ritual, divination, and prophecy. It also examines Etruscan historical epic and myth, theatre, and imagery. Finally, it examines the influence of Etruscan culture in the Roman world: the Romans derived their alphabet from the Etruscans and adopted Etruscan dress and musical instruments, along with the organization of the army. The article shows the significance of such Etruscan influence to Roman culture and life even as the Romans maintained their own religion and language, and the eventual death of the Etruscan language by the time of the Roman Empire.
This chapter presents a wide range of human actors in classical Chinese literature, exploring when, where, how, and to what ends certain figures appear, recur, change, or achieve typicality, which often in turn breeds reversals and transformations. The discussion follows three partially overlapping axes—political power, desire, and transcendence or otherness. Imagining political power involves good and bad rulers, remonstrators, frustrated officials, recluses, knights-errant, and so on. Male and female longing are portrayed differently, yielding images of the ambivalent divine woman, the hopeless lover, the pining or abandoned woman, the femme fatale, and martyrs of love in various configurations of quest, union, separation, and estrangement. Transcendence or otherness signals gods, ghosts, spirits, immortals, and a host of strange or demonic creatures beyond the realms of civilization, human agents who facilitate communication with these beings, as well as human seekers of higher truths or of immortality.
This chapter traces from c.400 to 1000 CE the evolution of early Georgian literature from translation of Byzantine scriptural and liturgical texts to original composition, exploring and expanding the genres of hymnography and hagiography, and then the development of prose narrative first into patristics and chronicles and finally, as native Caucasian and oriental influences begin to overlay Byzantine ones, into prose fiction. The literary process mirrors a political one, beginning with the invasion by Roman legions in the first century CE, followed by Byzantine Christianity competing for dominance with Iranian influences, first Zoroastrian, then Islamic, as Georgia shifts spheres, from the former Roman to the future Iranian.
Paul C. Millett
This chapter assesses the Greek writing on the subject of warfare. The plausibility of Demosthenes' presentation of Philip's waging of war is also addressed. The issues of orality and performance had directly impacted almost all Greek authors concerned with warfare. The story of archaic poetry had indicated a spectrum of military engagement. It is noted that prosecutions arising out of military offences and death in battle have a relatively high profile in the Orators, and that warfare naturally has a major role in the process of growth and decline. The fullest reflection of Thucydides on the implications of war had combined material with psychological considerations. Xenophon's experience with the Athenian cavalry had been directly reflected in his Hipparchios or “The Duties of a Cavalry Commander,” and in Peri hippikes or “On Horsemanship.”
This article explores the uses of Greek literature, philosophy, and politics in contemporary political theory. It explains that, since the second half of the 20th century, the study and deployment of Greek texts in political theory has served four interrelated projects: (1) to underscore political theory’s roots as an embedded and politically relevant practice; (2) to show that the history of political thought may function as contemporary critique; (3) to recover the spontaneity, plurality, and equality of classical politics for modernity; (4) and to offer new resources for thinking about democratic equality and activity. The article suggests that the question of how to recuperate the new political theoretical possibilities posed by a polyvocal or deconstructed Plato remains an underappreciated but critical question for political and democratic theory today.