Experiencing Pain in Imperial Greek Culture

ISBN : 9780198810513

Daniel King
304 ページ
135 x 216 mm
Oxford Classical Monographs

This volume investigates the history and nature of pain in Greek culture under the Roman Empire (50-250 CE). Traditional accounts of pain in this society have focused either on philosophical or medical theories of pain or on Christian notions of 'suffering'; fascination with the pained body has often been assumed to be a characteristic of Christian society, rather than Imperial culture in general. This book employs tools from contemporary cultural and literary theory to examine the treatment of pain in a range of central cultural discourses from the first three centuries of the Empire, including medicine, religious writing, novelistic literature, and rhetorical ekphrasis. It argues instead that pain was approached from an holistic perspective: rather than treating pain as a narrowly defined physiological perception, it was conceived as a type of embodied experience in which ideas about the body's physiology, the representation and articulation of its perceptions, as well as the emotional and cognitive impact of pain were all important facets of what it meant to be in pain. By bringing this conception to light, scholars are able to redefine our understanding of the social and emotional fabric of Imperial society and help to reposition its relationship with the emergence of Christian society in late antiquity.


Abbreviations, Transliterations, and Editions
0 Introduction
Part 1: Diagnosing and Treating Pain
1 Introduction: Diagnosing and Treating the Pained Body
2 Aretaios of Kappodokia
3 Galen
4 Conclusion: Diagnosis and Pain
Part 2: Representing Pain
5 Introduction: Refiguring Pain Symptoms
6 Sore Feet and Tragedy in Plutarch and Lucian
7 Sacred Pain in Ailios Aristeides
8 Conclusion: Pain and Language Recalibrated
Part 3: Viewing Trauma, Seeing Pain
9 Introduction: Ekphrasis, Trauma, and Viewing Pain
10 Philostratos' Prurient Gaze
11 Viewing and Emotional Conflict in Akhilleus Tatios
12 Viewing Trauma in Plutarch
13 Conclusion: What's in a View?
14 Conclusion


Daniel King is the Leventis Lecturer in the Impact of Greek Culture at the University of Exeter. As a cultural historian his work focuses primarily on the Greco-Roman world and he has written both on cultural interaction in the Hellenistic Near-East and on Greek literature and culture under the Roman Empire. He is particularly interested in the intersection between literature and the history of the body, historiography and cultural theory, and the reception of the classical body in the modern world.