Is grief for the death of a loved one a universal, trans-historical emotion? What role does the historical, political and socio-cultural context play in how grief is understood, processed, performed, written about and represented in art? This special issue of thersites seeks to address these questions with reference to the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. Drawing on a wide range of both textual and material culture evidence, the six papers that make up this issue investigate how the ancient Greeks and Romans reacted to the death of relatives, friends and members of their wider community, and how it affected their lives, societies and sense of identity. The first half of the issue is devoted to the portrayal of grief in the Homeric epics and Greek tragedy, while the second examines a rich variety of Roman evidence from inscriptions to art, literature and philosophy. Our work intersects with wider debates in the cross-disciplinary field of the History of Emotions, but some of the papers also reference recent scholarship on the senses in antiquity.
Thersites: Journal for Transcultural Presences & Diachronic Identities from Antiquity to Date, 2019, 9 pp. i - xiv