Affective Soundscapes in Thucydidean Battle Narrative: Sphacteria and Epipolae

TitoloAffective Soundscapes in Thucydidean Battle Narrative: Sphacteria and Epipolae
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsHald, B
Ancient AuthorsThucydides Hist. (TLG 0003)
JournalGreek and Roman Musical Studies

Thucydides’ History is deeply committed to the conventional correlation in Greek thought between sight and knowledge. In the Methodology chapters (1.20-3), the histo- rian grounds his investigative project in visual metaphor: it is a work that has been construc- ted ‘out of the most manifest evidence’, which promises to reveal the ‘least visible’ but ‘truest cause’ of this war. In contrast, Thucydides is suspicious of the epistemological value of hearing, repeatedly denigrating the ‘alluring’ sounds of poetic and hearsay accounts of Greek history. In this paper, I argue that this critique extends also to other sounds in the History, and that Thucydides’ anxieties over audition are directly related to the prob- lematic relation he sees between sound, knowledge, and emotion. While visual perception provides the normative pathway to cognitive evaluation and rational emotional response, sounds have the capacity to short-circuit the evaluative process by circumventing cognition and eliciting unmediated affective responses in hearing subjects. []



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Sito disegnato da Geoff Piersol a aggiornato da Stefan Hagel