Envy and Jealousy in Classical Athens: A Socio-Psychological Approach

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Emotions vary between cultures, especially in their eliciting conditions, social acceptability, forms of expression, and co-extent of terminology. Envy and Jealousy in Classical Athens examines the sensation, expression, and literary representation of envy and jealousy in Classical Athens. Previous scholarship has primarily taken a lexical approach, focusing on usage of the Greek words phthonos (envy, begrudging, jealousy, spite) and zelos (emulative rivalry). This has value, but also limitations, for two reasons: the discreditable nature of phthonos renders its ascription or disclamation suspect, and there is no Classical Greek label for sexual jealousy. A complementary approach is therefore required, which reads the expressed values and actions of entire situations. Building on recent developments in reading emotion scripts in classical texts, this book applies to Athenian culture and literature insights on the contexts, conscious and subconscious motivations, subjective manifestations, and indicative behaviors of envy, jealousy, and related emotions, derived from modern philosophical, psychological, psychoanalytical, sociological, and anthropological scholarship. This enables an exploration of both the explicit theorization and evaluation of envy and jealousy, and also the more oblique ways in which they find expression across different genres-in particular philosophy, oratory, comedy, and tragedy.