Focusing on a single funerary monument of the late archaic period, this paper shows how such a monument could be used by a bereaved individual to externalize and communalize the cognitive, perceptual, and emotional effects of loss. Through a close examination of the monument’s sculpted relief and inscribed epigram, I identify a structural framework underlying both that is built around a disjunction between perception and cognition embedded in the self-identified function of the monument as a mnema or memory-object. Through the analysis of other epigrams and literary passages, this disjunctive framework is shown to be derived, in turn, from broader conceptualizations in archaic Greece about how both mental images, including memories, and works of art allowed continued visual, but not cognitive-affective, access to the deceased. From this perspective, the monument’s relief opens up to us the experience of the bereaved individual who is only able to connect with the deceased through a remembered mental image.
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Research Article| October 01 2016
Cold Comfort: Empathy and Memory in an Archaic Funerary Monument from Akraiphia
Classical Antiquity (2016) 35 (2): 189–214.
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Seth Estrin; Cold Comfort: Empathy and Memory in an Archaic Funerary Monument from Akraiphia. Classical Antiquity 1 October 2016; 35 (2): 189–214. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/ca.2016.35.2.189
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