By Stephen Halliwell
The 1st publication to provide an built-in studying of historic Greek attitudes to laughter. Taking fabric from a variety of genres and contexts, the publication analyses either the idea and the perform of laughter as a revealing expression of Greek values and mentalities. Greek society constructed precise associations for the occasion of laughter as a ability which may bridge the distance among people and gods; however it additionally feared laughter for its strength to show participants and teams to disgrace or even violence. stuck among principles of delight and discomfort, friendship and enmity, laughter grew to become a subject matter of recurrent curiosity in numerous contexts. applying a cosmopolitan version of cultural historical past, Stephen Halliwell strains gildings of the topic in a sequence of vital texts: ranging a ways past glossy debts of 'humour', he indicates how perceptions of laughter helped to form Greek conceptions of the physique, the brain and the that means of existence.
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Additional info for Greek Laughter: A Study of Cultural Psychology from Homer to Early Christianity
Symp. nine. five, episk¯optein likewise at eight. four; cf. children’s manipulation in their father at Theophr. Char. 7. eight. Sk¯opt-/sk¯ommterms distinction with seriousness at e. g. Isoc. Helen eleven (cf. Zajonz (2002) 130–1), Hdt. 2. 174 (Amasis). In most likely its earliest surviving incidence, Hom. Hymn 2. 203, sk¯optein inspires simulated, ritualised abuse (ch. four, 162–3). Cf. Schmidt (1876–86) ii 451–3. Pejorative charis: Eur. fr. 492 TrGF (critav kert»mouv, ‘jeering wit’: ch. three n. 84), Ar. fr. 171 (‘bomolochic’ mockery: cf. n. fifty three below), Dem. 18. 138 (associated with abuse), Pl. Apol. 24c (cf. 27a, d). at the basic hyperlink among charis and laughter, see ch. three n. 27, ch. 6, 312–13. Unfriendly ‘play’, reminiscent of ‘mockery’, is stated by way of LSJ 1288, s. v. pa©zw ii 2, from Lucian, Nigr. 20, Agathias, Anth. buddy. 10. sixty four. four (both regarding personified Fortune); cf. the compounds mpa©zein (ch. 10 n. 2), katapa©zein (esp. Ar. fr. 171: see above), prospa©zein (add e. g. Pl. legislation 10. 885c to LSJ’s entry), and n. fifty one less than on Theog. 1211. otherwise, satyric ‘play’ is disparaged in Soph. fr. 314. 354 TrGF; it displays the satyrs’ childishness (366) and ‘stupid jokes’ (mära kaª gelo±a, 369): cf. Appendix 2 n. sixty two. Dio Chrys. four. 91–2 (Diogenes the Cynic speaking); cf. n. a hundred and one under, ch. eight n. 20. 20 advent youth, showing first within the early months of existence after which changing into so routine that it really is tough to suppress. An apocryphal yet revealing anecdote from Theophrastus’ paintings On Comedy relates how the folk of Tiryns, once they had to steer clear of laughter in the course of a non secular sacrifice, determined to exclude teenagers, trying thereby, maybe, to restrain the kid in themselves. forty four it truly is linguistically believable that lines of the spirit of kids or the younger are current, at the very least faintly, within the prolonged software of the paizein word-group to grownup modes of behaviour. yet that connection is usually marked by way of distinction besides, considering that grownup paidia implies wide awake adoption of another mind set: appearing the spirit of youth, with the intention to communicate, instead of being a toddler. This prolonged idea of paidia collects powerful institutions, even to the purpose of personification in visible artwork, with a cluster of actions that come with tune, track, dance, joyful celebration, the secure intimacies of commensal friendship, and – on the middle of the cluster – laughter. forty five the typical conjunction of laughter and ‘play’ is either socially and psychologically complicated. It centres on behaviour that doesn't easily reproduce the ‘first order’ play of early life yet includes (ideally) a self-conscious suspension of the traditional consequentiality of ‘taking issues seriously’. forty six Children’s personal play can, in fact, be seemed (by adults) as serving a potential objective – a type of mimetic practice session forty four forty five forty six Theophr. fr. 124 Wimmer (apud Athen. 6. 261d–e), fr. 709 Fortenbaugh (1992) ii 554: see ch. four, 155–7. Children’s laughter (half their existence, alternating with tears: Marcus Aur. Med. five. 33) is mirrored in conventions of visible paintings: Appendix 2, 551. at the improvement of laughter and smiles in infancy, see ch.