Why Weren't You Remember of Us Too? Emotional Aspects of Memory in Graeco-Roman Egypt in the Private Letters in the Greek Papyri
Keywords:Memory , Emotions, Affection, Ancient Greek Papyri
Abstract“You also know that I’m mindful of you: why weren’t you mindful of us too, but forgetful?”. So an ancient Egyptian from Kellis wrote to his sister, in the early 4th century AD. Feelings and emotions rarely surface in the private letters on papyrus from Hellenistic and Roman Egypt, mainly because they could be easily read by third parties and did not grant sufficient privacy. Nevertheless, it is possible to glimpse some emotional aspects from the survived texts: love, fear, anger, distress, and so on, some of which have already been studied. However, memory is still unexplored topic: through the discussion of the extant sources, it will be shown that in several cases memory - in the perception of the ancient letter writers - was felt as a timeless and endless dimension, which connected the correspondents’ minds, thoughts, and souls, by means of the written word but at the same time overcoming it in an emotional impulse, which is perhaps the liveliest and most moving representation of ancient yet present feelings.
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