Enraged: Why Violent Times Need Ancient Greek Myths

Enraged: Why Violent Times Need Ancient Greek Myths

by Emily Katz Anhalt


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An examination of remedies for violent rage rediscovered in ancient Greek myths

Millennia ago, Greek myths exposed the dangers of violent rage and the need for empathy and self-restraint. Homer’s Iliad, Euripides’ Hecuba, and Sophocles’ Ajax show that anger and vengeance destroy perpetrators and victims alike. Composed before and during the ancient Greeks’ groundbreaking movement away from autocracy toward more inclusive political participation, these stories offer guidelines for modern efforts to create and maintain civil societies. Emily Katz Anhalt reveals how these three masterworks of classical Greek literature can teach us, as they taught the ancient Greeks, to recognize violent revenge as a marker of illogical thinking and poor leadership. These time-honored texts emphasize the costs of our dangerous penchant for glorifying violent rage and those who would indulge in it. By promoting compassion, rational thought, and debate, Greek myths help to arm us against the tyrants we might serve and the tyrants we might become.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300239966
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 09/25/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 1,005,365
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Emily Katz Anhalt teaches classical languages and literature at Sarah Lawrence College. She is the author of Solon the Singer: Politics and Poetics.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

A Note on the Texts, Translations, and Notes xiii

Introduction: The Power of Stories 1

1 Passions and Priorities (Iliad 1) 13

2 Them and Us (Iliad 6) 29

3 Cultivating Rational Thought (Iliad 9) 51

4 Violence, Vengeance, and a Glimpse of Victory (Iliad 10-24) 80

5 The Dangers of Democratic Decision Making (Sophocles' Ajax) 115

6 The Abuse of Power and Its Consequences (Euripides' Hecuba) 149

Conclusion: The Ends of Self-Government 184

Notes 197

Bibliography 233

Index 255

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