Onlineportal Alte Geschichte und Altertumskunde

Violence in Antiquity

┬╗ Display of text passages by categories

This project seeks to examine the question of how violence was perceived and presented in ancient times, and what kind of "visual language" was used for this purpose. In this connection, however, it is important to note that it is not possible to apply modern concepts to ancient societies. Therefore, a possible answer to the above question can only be given by adopting an objective and unbiased view of the topic of "physical violence in the ancient world and its consequences", while leaving current views and values aside. To achieve a satisfactory result, a detailed investigation of the surviving ancient sources, which are primarily literary ones, is required. Accordingly, the works of Greek and Latin authors are closely examined with regard to their depictions of violence to determine and select relevant texts. The individual descriptions are divided into two main categories: those directly related to the war effort and those pertaining to instances outside of the war context. The latter category is further broken down into two subcategories, the private and public sector.

It is assumed that only a thorough evaluation of all written records relevant to the topic can provide a credible picture of how people in ancient times dealt with violence and its effects on society. An international team of authors (from Austria, Germany, England and America) is currently working on extracting relevant passages from original antique works and translations. The ultimate goal of this project is the creation of a comprehensive corpus supposed to serve as a tool for conducting future detailed studies on the topic of "violence in ancient times".