Arguing that the exercise of power in democratic Athens, especially during its brief fifth-century empire, raised troubling questions about the alleviation and infliction of suffering, this book examines how pity emerged as a timely topic in Atheninan culture. Ten essays examine the role of pity in the literature, art, and society of classical Athens by analyzing evidence from tragedy, philosophy, historiography, epic, oratory, vase painting, sculpture, and medical writings. Athenians had power and used it ruthlessly, but the infliction of suffering did not mesh well with their civic self-images.
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