This paper examines whether a semantic parallel to the modern use of the word 'depression' can be identified in ancient Greek. To that end, it retraces the development of the lexical family of the verb θλίβω, ‘to press’, and the abstract noun θλῖψις to gain the emotional and psychological meaning of ‘pressure’ or ‘affliction’. An analysis of the collected data suggests that a similar valence may be found in Hellenistic and Imperial Greek. However, this development is disregarded by authors with greater stylistic ambitions. Even physicians such as Galen continue to use θλῖψις solely in a physical, concrete sense. Conversely, the conceptualization in the singular of the word 'de-pression' is lacking in ancient Greek. An antecedent may be identified in the formation of the prefixed verb καταθλίβω and the derived noun κατάθλιψις, found only from Late Antiquity onward, but this retains a concrete valence.

Searching for a Semantic Parallel to the Concept of Depression / Cerroni, Enrico. - In: MNEMOSYNE. - ISSN 1568-525X. - (2023), pp. 1-25. [10.1163/1568525x-bja10168]

Searching for a Semantic Parallel to the Concept of Depression

Cerroni, Enrico
2023

Abstract

This paper examines whether a semantic parallel to the modern use of the word 'depression' can be identified in ancient Greek. To that end, it retraces the development of the lexical family of the verb θλίβω, ‘to press’, and the abstract noun θλῖψις to gain the emotional and psychological meaning of ‘pressure’ or ‘affliction’. An analysis of the collected data suggests that a similar valence may be found in Hellenistic and Imperial Greek. However, this development is disregarded by authors with greater stylistic ambitions. Even physicians such as Galen continue to use θλῖψις solely in a physical, concrete sense. Conversely, the conceptualization in the singular of the word 'de-pression' is lacking in ancient Greek. An antecedent may be identified in the formation of the prefixed verb καταθλίβω and the derived noun κατάθλιψις, found only from Late Antiquity onward, but this retains a concrete valence.
2023
Emotion Studies – metaphor – subjectification theory – θλίβω and derivatives – stylistic issues
01 Pubblicazione su rivista::01a Articolo in rivista
Searching for a Semantic Parallel to the Concept of Depression / Cerroni, Enrico. - In: MNEMOSYNE. - ISSN 1568-525X. - (2023), pp. 1-25. [10.1163/1568525x-bja10168]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1682050
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