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Pity and Power in Ancient Athens (Hardback)

Ancient History > Ancient Greece & the Hellenistic World

Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Pages: 360
ISBN: 9780521845526
Published: 31st December 2005
Casemate UK Academic

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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 analyzing evidence from tragedy, philosophy, historiography, epic, oratory, vase painting, sculpture, and medical writings.

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