Greek Laughter: A Study of Cultural Psychology from Homer to Early Christianity

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By Stephen Halliwell

The 1st publication to provide an built-in analyzing of historic Greek attitudes to laughter. Taking fabric from a number of genres and contexts, the booklet analyses either the speculation and the perform of laughter as a revealing expression of Greek values and mentalities. Greek society constructed specific associations for the social gathering of laughter as a capability which may bridge the distance among people and gods; however it additionally feared laughter for its strength to show members and teams to disgrace or even violence. stuck among principles of enjoyment and discomfort, friendship and enmity, laughter grew to become a topic of recurrent curiosity in a variety of contexts. using a worldly version of cultural background, Stephen Halliwell lines embellishments of the topic in a sequence of significant texts: ranging a ways past sleek money owed of 'humour', he exhibits how perceptions of laughter helped to form Greek conceptions of the physique, the brain and the that means of existence.

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G. Theog. 1045–6, Ar. Ach. 980, Plut. Mor. 128d–e (invading a home of mourning); extra references in Headlam (1922) 82–3, Olson (2002) 314; cf. ch. eight n. 33. See 131–3 lower than at the ironic shadowing of this sort of scenario in Eur. Alc. ; cf. Cassandra’s macabre imaginative and prescient of the Furies as invasive k¯omos at Aesch. Agam. 1186–90. Cerri (1976) ingeniously takes Theog. 1041–2 to allude to the ‘mournful’ sounds of the aulos, now not the sorrows of somebody; yet i'm unconvinced, specially given using para + dative for reclining symposiasts. In Alc. 368 PLF the speaker, possibly for erotic purposes, will get pleasure from a symposium provided that Menon is current. Panyas. 12. 18–19 EGF images a person who, after overeating, sits out the drinking-party as grim as a vulture. Cf. Xen. Symp. 6. 1–2 (with 151–2 below), the place Socrates rebukes Hermogenes (ironically) for surly taciturnity in the direction of his fellow symposiasts. In fable, Ap. Rhod. Argon. 1. 457–71 units Jason’s brooding at odds with the temper of the dinner party (cf. n. 6 above). The speaker of Archil. eleven IEG contemplates suppressing his sorrows to participate in a dinner party. Cf. Ammianus, Anth. good friend. nine. 573 for feedback of the (? parasite) visitor who weeps hypocritically with others’ tears, laughs with their laughter. Van Groningen (1966) 388 moots an erotic subtext for the Theognis couplet. Asclepiades, Anth. friend. 12. 50, 12. one hundred thirty five are pictures of erotic discontent surfacing at symposia; cf. , extra discreetly, Callim. Epig. forty three Pfeiffer (Anth. good friend. 12. 134), with Giangrande (1968) 120–2. in contrast, a disconsolate lover seeks quasi-symposiac break out at males. Perik. 174–7: cf. Epitr. fr. three Sandbach, and spot ch. eight, 411–12. Theog. 825–9 asks others how they could convey themselves to revel at a time of affliction. Archil. thirteen. 1–2 IEG turns out to photo bereavement bringing a halt to feasting; yet see Burnett (1983) forty seven n. 39 for disputed interpretation. Archil. eleven IEG (n. sixty one above) indicates, in contrast, that grief alterations not anything – so feasting should still proceed; cf. n. seventy nine under. Face-to-face tensions: intimacy and antagonism one hundred twenty five designated dating to the person on whose grief they are going to komastically intervene. Theognis 1041–2 and 1217–18, although very elliptical (as they stand), either relaxation at the acceptance that the laughter of sympotic elation might both unite or divide a human team. sixty four every thing will depend on the level to which person individuals proportion a tendency – and skill – to benefit from the spirit of heady mirth and badinage. At worst, the symposium’s mixture of alcohol, intimacy and hedonism could turn into a disastrous recipe for the laughter of derision, with all of the probabilities of violence, verbal and/or actual, that could circulation from that. We observed that Theognis 494 alludes to one of these cave in of commensality into ‘strife’, and plenty of different texts voice a terror that laughter can fracture the harmony of a consuming staff. sixty five The functionality of laughter within the perfect symposium consists of a fragile poise of relationships and values; if the stability slips, intimacy can speedily degenerate into face-to-face hostility – whatever that may try out to verge of collapse the skill of symposiasts to ‘overlook’ what's acknowledged and performed among them (cf.

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