PhD ceremony: Ms. K. Stöppelkamp, 11.00 uur, Aula Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Dissertation: Affekt im Wandel. Antike Darstellung von Liebe und Zorn am Beispiel Medeas
Promotor(s): prof. A. Harder, prof. R.R. Nauta
In her thesis Katrin Stöppelkamp concentrates on the description of emotions, particularly of love and anger, in Classical Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman literature. She focuses on Medea and her desastrous love towards Jason, a famous myth treated in Greek (e.g. Pindar, Euripides, Apollonios of Rhodes) and Latin poetry (e.g. Ovidius, Seneca, Valerius Flaccus).
The comparison of the texts shows a development from general acceptance of emotions (Pindar, Euripides) towards its total rejection (Apollonios, Ovidius and especially Seneca and Valerius Flaccus). This tendency finds a parallel in the development in contemporary philosophy: In Classical philosophy (Plato, Aristotle) desires and bodily appetites are not regarded as evil – on the contrary, they are considered both natural and necessary –, but they tend to become overwhelming. Therefore, they require self-restraint. The Stoic philosophers, however, demand that the passions should be completely extirpated from human life. Once they have arisen, they cannot be kept moderate.
Since fundamental changes in culture are normally not restricted to a singular sphere, but pervade all the structures of intellectual life such as poetry, art, science, and philosophy, Stöppelkamp’s analysis might offer at least one possibility to come to a better understanding of the “revolutionary” phenomena attributed to the Hellenistic period which is generally considered a time of upheaval.
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