In a series of three workshops, network partners and invited speakers will explore continuities and discontinuities in (a) theorising, (b) inducing and (c) enacting emotions in ancient and medieval Greek texts, artefacts and spaces.

Recent and forthcoming activities of the ETT project are the following:


Workshop 1: Defining and Theorising Emotions  (Edinburgh, 15 October 2016)


During the first workshop we shall focus on issues of exegesis and translation. We are interested in three types of exegesis pertaining to representations of emotions or to emotive discourse, namely literary, biblical and philosophical. We are interested not only in how ancient and medieval authors speak and conceptualize emotion, but also in the intertextual dialogue on affectivity or how texts engage with other texts about emotions (e.g., Byzantine scholia elucidating instances of affectivity in ancient texts).


Focusing on biblical exegesis and translations will help us approach the change in the vocabulary of emotions and the creation of a new emotional paradigm in the eastern Roman empire following the spread of Christianity. We encourage speakers to look for continuities, discontinuities and marks of reception, so as to elucidate ancient emotions through a study of their Byzantine counterparts and vice versa. Importantly, while we are interested in emotive vocabulary and its development, emotions need not be lexically present in the text, thus participants might benefit from looking at situations, scenes, narratives and scripts portraying or enacting affectivity, even if they are not labelled as such in the narrative.


Additional questions participants might find helpful include the following: are certain emotions more likely to appear in a certain type of text? Are specific genres associated with specific emotions? What is the emotive vocabulary used? How are emotions gendered?



Workshop 2: Inducing Emotions (Rhetoric, Politics, Narrative) (Geneva, Fondation Hardt – 17 March 2017)


During the second workshop we shall focus on how emotions are stimulated and managed in an array of texts ranging from rhetorical handbooks to fictional narratives. We are interested in uncovering diachronic processes and/or synchronic continuities, as well as in exploring how narratives mobilize and exploit the audiences’ emotional reactions. A third focus is on the political dimension, i.e. on the role of the emotions in shaping (or dissolving) communities, both secular and religious.


By looking at the Hermogenian corpus and at its Byzantine reception, we shall try to understand which shifts (if any) occurred in rhetorical prescriptions concerning the manipulation of the emotions in speeches. Equally we shall investigate how emotions affected the narrative pact sustaining fictional story-telling as well as the consumption and production of poetry in different contexts (court, schools, monasteries). We shall also look at the strategies used by hagiographers and preachers to induce specific emotional reactions in their audiences. We shall compare Late antique/Early Byzantine and later Byzantine historiography, focusing on the emotions as history-shaping factors. We want to understand whether certain emotions play a more prominent role in history than others and whether they change over time in accordance with societal shifts. We shall also explore the use of classicizing terminology to express Byzantine emotions.



Workshop 3: Visualising and Enacting Emotions (Art, Space, Performance) (Vienna, 8 July 2017)




Final Conference (Cyprus, 27 – 29 September 2017)





Following discussion and development at the workshop, an extended version of all papers will be presented at a concluding conference in the autumn of 2017 and published in an edited collection.


The final publication of the network’s research will be accompanied by an online, open access database including texts (in ancient and medieval Greek with an English translation) and images that bear on emotions in antiquity and Byzantium.