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Title: Melancholy in Hellenistic and Latin poetry : medical readings in Menander, Apollonius Rhodius, Lucretius and Horace
Author: Kazantzidis, Georgios
ISNI:       0000 0004 2727 1062
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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In the first chapter of this thesis, starting from modern scholarship on melancholy, I attempt to combat the widely-held belief that this disease is identified exclusively with madness in antiquity. In order to do this, I locate the origins of this misreading in Cicero and attempt to restore the more inclusive attitude towards melancholy manifested in ps-Aristotle's treatise on melancholic genius, given that this text defines melancholy as consisting in both madness and depression. Chapter 11 argues that Menander is the first poet who shares this double understanding of melancholy; unlike Aristophanes who conceives of melancholy exclusively as a manic condition, the New Comedian describes it also as a depressive one. I therefore analyse the ways in which the word and the notion of melancholic depression are used in his comedies, according to the ps.-Aristotelian paradigm. In Chapter Ill, I suggest thatJason in Apollonius Rhodius' Argonautica is a character that exhibits all the textbook symptoms of melancholic depression and that Apollonius describes him as such through an intertextual play with ps-Aristotle's reading of the Homeric Bellerophon as a depressive melancholic. Moving to Latin poetry, Chapter IV examines the end of De Rerum Natura III and argues that Lucretius' description of restlessness and discontent with life becomes a key-passage which later Latin writers (Horace, Persius and Seneca) identify through their medical readings as a description of melancholic depression. The thesis concludes with a chapter on the second book of Horacc's Epistles in which I argue that Horace engages with the tradition of the melancholic genius by creating an authorial persona who grounds his claims to genius on his alleged suffering from both melancholic madness and depression.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available